The Makuri People, Sagaing Division, Myanmar

The Makuri are a Naga people who live in the Layshi Township of Myanmar and also have communities on the Indian side of the border. Much like the other Naga peoples, the Makuri have a history of headhunting but now find themselves primarily as an agricultural people living peacefully among the other Naga groups.

Unlike some other Naga groups, the Makuri never had a facial tattoo for their male warriors. It was common for men and women to tattoo other parts of the body, but only women had a facial tattoo. The Makuri were some of the earliest people of the area to adopt Christianity and the new way of life, so there are very few women left with the tattoos and almost no men who even remember a battle happening in their lifetime.

Makuri women were tattooed as a right of passage and a ticket into the afterlife. Like many of the neighbouring Chin peoples, the Makuri believed that this tattoo would mean that they would be taken care of in the afterlife by their tribespeople. Of course, in the past, it also served as a way to identify a woman as a friend or foe during a raid.

Makuri Woman, Myanmar

Makuri Naga Woman with Arm Tattoos, Myanmar

Makuri Naga Woman with Facial Tattoos, Myanmar

Interviewing a Makuri Naga Woman