Story of the face – Tattooed women in Myanmar

Today, Myanmar still keep many confidential stories surprising tourists, one of which is the custom of tattoo originating from two ancient tribes: Munn Tribe and Dai Tribe. They live in Victoria Mount, the West of Myanmar until now. If you’re keen on exploring unique culture in the world, with tattooed face of tribal women, Myanmar would be a fascinating tourist destination. Let’s explore with: Indochina tours packages


People of Munn Tribe and Dai Tribe think that if women have tattoo on their face, they will be more beautiful and attractive. The more tattoos they have, the more beautiful they are. This shape of thinking makes aesthetic conception of the beauty here. Coming to Victoria Mount, where two tribes live, you will easily see tattooed-faced women. But what’s the old story of this custom?

The more tattoos they have, the more beautiful they are
The more tattoos they have, the more beautiful they are- source: internet

There are different interpretation about tattooed women here. In addition to the idea that this is their concept of beauty in these tribes as mentioned above, there is another explanation. In 11th century, Munn and Dai women were too beautiful that they usually caught the eyes of the kings. In order to avoid getting caught by the king’s soldiers, they had to tattoo their face to make their appearance worse. Over the years, tattooed face have got familiar to the tribal women and become a symbol of their beauty, endurance and pride. Moreover, if a woman did not have tattoos on her face, it was difficult for her to get married. Although there are conflicting opinions about the stories of the face, tattooed women are still unique features in Myanmar’s culture.

The story of the face began from 11th century
The story of the face began from 11th century -source: internet

From the age of 11 to 15, tribal girls begin tattooing. In some cases, after tattooing, their face swell, so they do not dare to go out. The process of tattoos make them very painful. The needles are made of pine, the tattoo ink is taken from some special trees. Some places, the ink is even mixed with resin and buffalo’s kidneys to make the ink difficult to fade. Most of the small girls are very scared of tattooing, but they consider it necessary. Myanamar travel tours

The process of tattoo make them very painful
The process of tattoo make them very painful- source: internet

The tattoo patterns they choose do not follow any standards and regulations, they just feel nice and like them. Some people have few tattoos, others have tattoos fully covering their face. Each tribe has its own identity to recognize their distinctive tattoos. However, today the girls in these two tribes no longer continue this custom due to being banned and severely punished. Only elderly women still have tattoos on their face. The young move to big developed cities and no longer tattoo anymore.

Today, Myanmar has banned this custom
Today, Myanmar has banned this custom -source: internet

If you set foot in the mountains of Victoria in Western Myanmar, you will have the opportunity to meet tribal women with unique tattoos on the face with cigarette smoking. Furthermore, you will be impressed by the fact that women here are really honest, outspoken and friendly. Myanmar is a land of mystery, you might want to discover and learn more about this country, especially the special story of the face in the mountains.

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