The Khiamniungan People, Sagaing Division, Myanmar

The Khiamniungan are a Naga people who reside in Lahe Township of Myanmar. The Khiamniungan were a warring society that fiercely defended their territories and tattooed their warriors as a badge of honour after battles. As with all Naga peoples, their faith has moved away from their animistic practices and their culture has become much more peaceful. Now, you will find children in school and former warriors taking care of their families at home.

Both men and women were tattooed in Khiamniungan society. Women were tattooed on the face as a coming of age and on the legs at the time of marriage. These tattoos were used to symbolise that a woman was “ready” for marriage and “ready” to join the society of the adults. Men were tattooed for a variety of reasons and one could identify a hero or man of honour just by looking at his tattoos. An image of a tiger was given to a man who had killed one and the image of a man was adorned on those who returned from battle with the head of their enemy. There were strict taboos around these tattoos, so you could be assured that any man with them had actually performed those deeds.

Khiamniungan Naga Man with Chest Tattoo

Khiamniungan Naga Pang

Khiamniungan Naga Woman with Facial Tattoo

Khiamniungan Naga Woman with Facial Tatoo