13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Vanishing Tradition of Chin Tattooed Women
Mountainous Chin, bordering India and Bangladesh, is Myanmar’s poorest state. More than 70 % of its population lives below the poverty line, rising to 81% in rural areas, according to UN agencies in Myanmar. This place, which acess was forbidden to tourists until two years ago, hiddens a vanishing tradition: the face-tattooed women.
Its origin remains unknown, although the most accepted theory is that this pratice began when an ancient king used to send people to the villages to capture young women and make slaves of them. The men from the tribe may have tattooed their women to make them ugly, thereby saving them from a life of slavery. Everything, including the eyelids, was tattooed.
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||Nov. 7, 2015, 1:14 p.m.