Photographer's Note

Travelling to the north of Rakhine province, a day up-river brings us to the Chin villages. I had heard about the tatooed women but at first hesitant to go fearing something like the long-necks in thailand, i.e. a human zoo. But fortunately this was not the case - YET. Not many tourist venture in this region, so travelling and visiting the village was rewarding in itself, having the opportunity to talk to the older woman (via a translator) and to learn about their customs even moreso. The woman were still rather shy infront of the of the camera,but I fear all this will change if or rather when this area becomes more accessible to tourism.

This tattooing tradition started centuries ago, when Chin tribes begun tattooing young girl's faces to avoid them from being captured as slaves by other tribes. It was made illegal it the 1960's although the tradition continued in some more remote villages until the 80's. As soon as the girls entered the age of puberty, tattoo was applied onto her face – the pattern of the tattoo being the one according to the tribe she belongs. The process of facial tattooing was very painful and dangerous. Some even died of infection. Nowadays you will only find the elder women of the village tattooed.

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Additional Photos by Elaine springford (everlasting) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 886 W: 66 N: 2544] (17634)
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