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Chin Woman Playing Nose Flute

Chin woman playing nose flute

Mindat is a district of the Chin state in the west of Myanmar, situated at 4,860 feet above the sea level and about 5 to 7 hours drive from Bagan. Mindat town known for its untouched traditional culture, a place to meet the fascinating face tattooed women who made this area known to the world. Among the chin races,t he Dai Chin, Daw Yaw Hting, 90 years old lady, is one of the last remaining tattooed face woman and nose flute player. Her face is tattooed, traditional among Chin women. She wears huge earrings made of beads and calabashes. She started playing the nose flute when she was 15 years old. To play a flute using the nose is not simple, and it needs a lot of energy and stamina to make it sound perfect.

There are many stories about the origin of Chin tattoos, one of that is these tribes first began to ink their faces as a way of disfiguring their beauty, they had no way but to destroy their beauty make themselves unattractive and, in doing so, avoid being kidnapped or chosen as concubines by the Burmese kings. A second legend states that they were tattooed distinctively to allow for identification with their tribe of origin in the event that they were kidnapped by another tribe. Another reason is they believed a facial tattoo makes them beautiful, more attractive and would receive attention from most of the young men.

They are all have tattoo on their faces but not on their necks; several squares are drawn on the face and these are densely filled with dots. Dai women favor dark-blue and green-blue colors. Tribe lady in Chin state is best known of the intricate ink details covering their entire face. This tradition started since generations ago when several tribes in the Chin province of Myanmar began to tattoo the face of each and every single young woman. Chin facial tattoo is practiced only by female. Soon after the girl enter the age of puberty, between 12 and 14 is the best time before the facial skin mature and hard or painful for tattooing.

There are a few different face tattoo patterns. The spiderweb tattoo is popular in the Mrauk U region. It takes a three hour long tail boat ride to reach this remote area. This tattoo is usually accompanied by a circle in the center of the forehead which represents the sun or lines under the nose symbolizing tiger whiskers.
Another design, known as the bee pattern, is common in the Mindat area. It is composed of dots, lines and occasionally circles. It is worn by the Muun tribe who inhabit the hills of the Arakan state.

There are two ways to make the tattoo needle. The first consists of tying three pieces of bamboo together and the second uses thorns. The ink is a mixture of cow bile, soot, plants, and pig fat. It usually took one day to complete the standard tattoo and a few more for the totally black one. The tattoo artist was a specialist or in some cases a parent. Infection was a common problem as the girls had blood all over their face.

Everything, including the eyelids, was tattooed. Many women say that the neck was the most sensitive area.
Not all the tattooed women live in remote areas deep in the mountains. Some have integrated into modern society.

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