Category : Tattoos of Asia

The Yindu People, Chin State, Myanmar

The Yindu are one of the smaller groups of Chin people. Many of their villages are quite remote and their culture is not as well preserved or remembered as some of the other groups. Some of the tattooed elders still keep their traditional clothing and some of the men recall their traditions. The tattoo is one of the more intricate and painful among the Chin peoples and was often completed over four or five separate sessions so the girls could […]

The Mün People, Chin State, Myanmar

The Mün are possibly the most recognisable Chin people from afar. The women’s “B” shaped tattoo stands out for its graphic form and even younger women still wear it with pride. Apon closer inspection, their tattoo also has a distinctly green tinge to it. This was the sign of quality ink and girls worked hard to make sure their ink had the perfect colour. Sometimes they would go over their tattoo several times to make sure the colour was just right. The Mün, […]

Truku Facial Tattoo

Ipay Harong

“They knew me as the ‘Strong Woman’.” Ipay Harong is 98 years old. She is a member of the Truku people of Taiwan. At the age of 92 she began to exhibit signs of Parkinson’s disease, which has since worsened, and she is now unable to communicate except for physical gestures. During our visit, she would periodically attempt to make both eye contact and physical contact. Our interview was conducted with her daughter, who now takes care of her in […]

Lai Tu Chin Woman Facial Tattoo

Si Coung

“I wasn’t ready for the pain.” Si Coung is a good-humoured 73-year-old woman from Rakhine State in Myanmar. Her people, the Lai Tu Chin, are known world-wide for their distinctive spider-web facial tattoos. This pattern helps differentiate them from the other Chin peoples. She began by recalling the day she was tattooed. She really wanted to get it done, as she thought her peers were so beautiful. However, at 9 years of age, she was not quite prepared for the […]

Taipei Tattoo Artist Kacaw


“Tattoos are a way to remember the events of your life.” Kacaw is a native Taiwanese from the Amis Tribe. He moved to Taipei from his home of Hualien to become a tattoo artist. You can find him at Showhand Ink in Taipei City. We sat down with him during our time in Taipei to talk about tattoos and what they mean to him. According to Kacaw, those who have facial tattoos within the tribes must be great people. They […]

Apatani Tattoo-Faced Woman Tanyang Jayo

Tanyang Jayo

“I came down with the rain.” My interview with Tanyang Jayo is hard to get. She is a tenacious soul with an appetite for life that makes her step out the door and work every day despite her age and her family’s constant pestering to keep her home. She is my guide Guddi’s grandmother, Thankfully that has some sway and we finally get to meet her. Her stories and experiences were well worth the wait. As a young lady, she […]

Myanmar Tattoo-faced Woman Shen Har

Shen Har

“I wish my husband could be here with us.” After a two-hour motorbike ride along a goat track that wound up mountains and down into valleys, we arrive in Sam Tai, a Yindu village outside of Kanpetlet. We stop by the chief’s house for a cup of coffee and to introduce ourselves and the Tattoos of Asia project. We then move over to Shen Har’s house, where she resides with her family. We are welcomed at the door and her grandchildren […]

The Lai Tu People, Rakhine State, Myanmar

Myanmar is officially comprised of more than 135 ethnic groups. The largest of these is the Bamar, who account for approximately 68% of the population. Within the other ethnic groups, one may find the Chin peoples who mainly live in the western part of the country. Many of the Chin tribes have tattooed their women in the past. Of these, the Lai Tu Chin peoples are easily recognised by the distinctive spider-web pattern of their lady’s facial tattoos. Originally warrior […]

The Truku People, Taiwan

The Truku people are one of 16 officially recognised aboriginal groups of the island nation of Taiwan. Although initially classified as a sub branch of the Atayal tribe, they were recognised as a separate people in 2004. Although their culture has many similarities with the Atayal, they have a completely distinct language. The traditional culture of Taiwan’s aboriginal groups, as with indigenous cultures world wide, was driven almost to extinction by colonial powers. First the Japanese Imperial Government, and then […]