The last tattooed lady
An old woman from the Chin ethnic group in Myanmar, (Burma) which borders India and Thailand, shows off the tattoos she was given as a young girl to ward off attacks - particularly by neighbouring princes, who would kidnap girls to be concubines. She was one of the last to get the markings, in a 200-year-old custom which has now died out.
I believe that young girls from Christian communities in the Balkans also tattooed their arms to make themselves less attractive to the ruling Turks when they came to seize boys for the janissary corp and girls for the harems. These days girls consider tattoos to be attractive of course although how they will look in old age I don't know. My grandmother had two tattoos on her arm, by her 80s they were faded and wrinkled and she told me they had caused her a lot of trouble. This old lady looks really dignified and kind, rather like my nan, and her ear piercing looks quite contemporary as well.
Posted on 10/12/2006 4:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax