Category : Tribes

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, […]

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 […]

The Brao People, Attapeu Province, Laos

The Brao are a people living in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The people we spoke to in Laos recall moving their villages to Laos at the time of the Vietnam War (American War). They packed everything they needed for their journey into bamboo baskets and began moving away from where they had lived their lives. A small population of Brao still live in Vietnam, and an unknown number in Cambodia. The people we visited for this project are those in […]

The Konyak People, Nagaland, India

Traditionally a head hunting tribe from the mountains where India, Myanmar, China, and Tibet meet, the Konyaks are now primarily an agricultural people within the Naga nation. The introduction of Christianity brought an end to the practices of headhunting, facial tattoos, and a belief in spirits. Now, precious few Konyak elders with facial tattoos are still alive and the remnants of their past are being shunned into a dark corner not to be spoken about. Increasingly, the younger generation are […]

The Apatani People, Arunachal Pradesh, India

In the Ziro valley live a small group of people called the Apatani. All but unknown to the outside world until the mid-1900s, the Apatanis have maintained a great deal of their traditional culture, even until now. Unlike some of the other tribes here, the cessation of the Apatani facial tattooing tradition was not imposed from outside. Rather, it was the decision of their youth to outlaw the practice so that the next generation could attend schools in neighbouring districts […]

The Uppu Chin People, Chin State, Myanmar

The Uppu people fall under the larger ethnic grouping of Chin. Like many of the Chin peoples, they had a facial tattooing practice in place for their women in the past. Very few Uppu women with the tattoo now survive. The Uppu, unlike some other Chin tribes, live scattered around the various tribal areas. Some villages may be found nearby Mindat and others along the Tin River. Also unlike the majority of the Chin tribes, the Uppu are primarily Buddhist. […]