Tattooed Chin Women, a Remarkable Define of Beauty in Myanmar
Inside the remote Burmese tribe, in the Mountain of Myanmar lives a tribe called Chin where the women have taken a unique approach to their beauty regime: Decorating their faces with tattoos. The Chin people in the remote mountain of Mindat, have been marking women in the area with intricate face tattoos for centuries. Their faces covered in elaborate black patterns, and in some cases, totally dark with ink.
Chin Women were typically tattooed between the age of 15 and 20. A custom of the tribe says that, according to the legend, the inking were first intended to repel incomers. Also, one of the theories says that it was intended to make women look unattractive to prevent them for being kidnapped or becoming a concubine under the rule of Burmese king.
Other Chin tales says that the tattooing was done for beauty, and perhaps more plausibly, to differentiate the different tribes in case one was kidnapped by another. Then it became a new symbol of beauty. Another explanation may have to do with religion. Since the British colonialization, many Chin minorities have converted to Christianity or else accepted it alongside with the animism. Some Chin remember that a pastor taught them that only those who had tattoos would be deemed fit to go to heaven.
The six Chin Tribes wear an array of different tattoos, which are recognizes with large looping P or D or Y for The Mu’uun Women, the M’kaan women that has line tattoos on both their foreheads and chins. The Tin Du and Dai tribes has feature long vertical – line tattoos across the entire faces, similar to Nga Yah tribes who have dots as well as lines. The Uppriu tribe, have the entire faces covered in dots, with either blackened or ashen – looking faces because they are so full of tattoos.
The women – only tradition has been dying out due to the government banned since the 1960’d by Burma’s socialist regime which believes it to be cruel. Now, in the remote town only the elderly women have the traditional tattoos, as the custom is increasingly seen as outdated by the younger generations.