Friday, August 20, 2010

Borneo Tattoos & Indian Hennae

The Head-hunters tribes are a famous part of Borneo history. These fierce warriors would gain recognition and respect from their fellow hunters by - yes - cutting heads, which represented their hunting skills to the tribe. They would also get tattooed all over their body from the age of 10-12 - when they enter adult age in the tribe. Actually each tattoo has a specific meaning, some of them would be linked to their hunting skills.
When I got in Kuching I got to see some Malay with tattoos that were really beautiful... Obviously today the tattoos are not linked to the head-hunting anymore - although they say somewhere, deep in the jungle...
I loved these imbricated and fierce tattoos that still convey some of the spirit of these tribes in Borneo. I didn't get the chance to visit one of the tattoo place in Kuching, maybe for best as I might have been tempted for myself! But there was this thick book on a stand listing all kinds of Malay tattoos, I with I'd brought it back!
When I travelled to Kota Kinabalu I had the chance of visiting the Mari-Mari Cultural Village. Listed as one of the best in Borneo, it shows beautifully built bamboo houses for different tribes, and it also features how people would live there... More on that visit later! But they would draw small tattoos for all visiters. Here's mine:

And another one

Later in my trip I was in back in Kuala Lumpur and visiting Little India I came accross a hennae shop, the kind with pictures of beautiful hand and foot hannae tattooes for Indian weddings. This time, I couldn't resist! So I got both hands tattooed for the rest of the trip

The lady even managed to keep the tattoo from Borneo into the Indian tattoo!

I bought myself some hannae tubes in KL, following advice from my host, and examples of Indian hannae drawings. Next step is to try it on my left hand, or if someone is tempted for me to try it on them :)

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