Faces of MyanmarFaces of Myanmar - Tattooed face woman of Mindat
The tattooed women are regularly found in Chin State of Myanmar.
Mindat is a small town perched on a hillside at an altitude of about 1500m and surrounded by villages covering all the mountainside in a way that you don’t really know when end a village and start another one. It is a great place for trekking in the Nat Ma Taung National Park particularly to go up Mount Victoria. The area has been converted by French missionaries in the early 20th century and surprisingly you will find a large Christian community is living there (Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists and Pentecostals). You can find in Mindat tattooed face women from three different tribes; among which, some having enormous earrings. But why these tattoos?
Burmese kings in Myanmar were used to travel the country and choose the most beautiful girls for their personal harems. They were carried away, never to be seen again by their families. The kings often chose girls from the Chin province, as they were renowned to be the most beautiful of Myanmar. So at first, their families decided to tattoo their faces very young to make them ugly and utterly unattractive to the kings. Later on, getting tattooed became a sign of beauty and a tradition, with every village having its own patterns. Nowadays this tradition is getting lost since it is a very painful process that has been banned by the government in the 1960s and you will probably only see older ladies wearing them. However, there are still a few younger women below their 50s with tattoos.
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