Category : Tattoos of Asia

Sahnai Wangsa - Wancho Headhunter Facial Tattoo

Sahnai Wangsa

Getting to Sahnai Wangsa was somewhat of an ordeal. We had all the relevant permissions and had been signed into the area by both the military and the government. Every single stop along the way, however, required yet another Xerox copy of every piece of permission and another interview about why we were here. Something was happening, but nobody would let us know what. Eventually, we made our way out to Konsa, a village on the Myanmar border. Being so […]

The Wancho People, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Wancho, formally headhunters in the area that is now India and Myanmar, share a common history with many of the local tribes though they may be less well-known than groups such as the Konyaks. Much like their counterparts in Nagaland, they are now primarily an agricultural society in both India and Myanmar. Few of the Wancho tattoo-faced headhunters remain alive, but they are proud to share their stories and traditions. While Christianity has taken place as the main religion […]

The Ramnami People, Chhattisgarh, India

The Ramnami Samaj are a group of people living in Chhattisgarh in India. They are the only people in this project who cannot be categorised as a tribe. They are simply a sect of Hindu believers who devoutly follow Rama as their god. Their tattooing practice was started as they were not allowed into temples in the past because of their dalit status in the caste system that India’s society operated on. Unlike most Hindu groups, the Ramnami tattoo रामराम […]

The Kui People of Odisha, India

The Kui people are a self-sufficient tribe residing mostly in the hills of central Odisha, India. They have a history of human sacrifice and facial tattooing, yet are scarcely documented no matter where one looks. Although their practice of human sacrifice has ceased, animal sacrifice is still common among the villagers. I came across the Kui people as I was searching the Internet for various tattoo-faced peoples of Asia. The world commonly knows them as the Kutia Kondh (an Oriya […]

The Ollo People, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Ollo are a Naga people living in both Arunachal Pradesh in India and the Naga Self Administered Zone of Myanmar. They are also known as Lazu Naga or Oloh, but the current official spelling of the tribal name is Ollo. In Arunachal Pradesh, they live in the restricted area of Lazu District. Although currently considered to be a sub-group of the Nocte people, they are petitioning to be recognised as an independent group based on their unique culture, language, […]

Konyak Naga Facial Tattoo - Penlung


“We are born with nothing. We die with nothing. The only thing we can take with us is our tattoo.” Our interview with Penlung was our last before we left Sheanghah Chingnyu. We had been trying to catch him for a couple of days, but despite the constant rain and his age, he was always out working. We finally managed to meet him on our way home late one night and asked if we could see him the following morning. As […]

The Hiatuii People, Chin State, Myanmar

The Hiatuii are a small group within the greater Chin Nation. Their numbers are not exact, but village heads say there are only 10 villages containing a total of approximately 2000 of Hiatuii people. They are all dotted between the larger groups of Ng’hang and Vet along the Laymro and Tin rivers in Chin State, Myanmar. As far as the village elders know, there are only 5 living ladies with the Hiatuii facial tattoo. One thing that makes the Hiatuii […]

The Vet People, Chin State, Myanmar

Residing along the banks of the north-western Laymyo River in Chin State, Myanmar, the Vet are a sub-group of the people known as Chin. As with all the Chin groups, they have their own history and culture that has some links to the tribes nearby. As with many of the groups in the area, the Vet also tattooed their young women in the past. The Vet have a tattoo that is almost indistinguishable from their neighbours, the Ng’hang. The Vet […]

The Ng’hang People, Chin State, Myanmar

The Ng’hang people live on the banks of the north-west Laymyo River. To their south, the Lai Tu people can be found. Further upstream, the Vet, Uppu, and Hiatuii live in villages dotting the river. The Ng’hang are the most populous people in this area and their influences can be seen in many other villages. The Ng’hang tattoo, as with all Chin groups in recent times, was done as a coming of age for young girls. For many, it was […]