Art and design inspiration from around the world – CreativeRoots

Inspired by - Philippines

The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga

Posted by rod - 01.11.2011

The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga PhilippinesThe Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga PhilippinesThe Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga PhilippinesThe Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga PhilippinesThe Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga PhilippinesThe Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga Philippines

Filipino photographer Jake Verzosa took these portrait photographs of the last tattooed women of Kalinga.

“Up in the rice terraces of the Cordillera mountain range of the Philippines live the last few tattooed women of Kalinga. Traditional tattooing is seen as archaic and painful by the younger generations of Kalingas. As an Indigenous group that has successfully fought against colonizing forces, it is losing the practice of traditional tattooing because of the changing perspective of beauty and interpretations of the practice by outside scholars.

Studies on the tradition interpreted the practice to show that men were given tattoos because of brave acts during tribal wars while the women were given tattoos just  to decorate their bodies. Men who attempt to get traditional tattoos without acts of bravery are shunned by the community and are now unable to continue the practice without facing criminal charges from the government. Women are unconstrained by the same reasons but are struggling to continue the practice because of the pervasive western interpretations of aesthetics that changed the perceptions of “beauty” in Kalinga. To the women of Kalinga, the batok or the tattoo goes beyond beauty and prestige but  it is symbolic of the traditional values of women’s strength  and fortitude.

The traditional tattoo is an indigenous body art, an expression of the psychological dimensions of life, health, love and it defines local perceptions of existence.  Sadly there is now a decline of the traditional art among indigenous women brought about by the changing perspective of the meaning of the tattoo and its stigmatized practice.  It is now considered a vanishing art along with the gatekeepers of the knowledge associated with it.”

Finished here? Then have a look at these.

No related posts.

2 Comments (add yours?)
  • From: heike kjarvaldsdottir
  • Nov 04, 2012

i would love to use one of these photos for my gravatar (actually the fifth one down) she’s beautiful im not sure how to do it though.? brilliant photos.

There is one I saw who is not included here who have traditional tattoo in our place. She is my husband’s aunt.

What’s on your mind? Join or create a discussion.

FEATURED CREATIVES