Tattoos as we all know are in
use for various reasons like decorative and spiritual use, identification and
part of cosmetic as well, but recently this form of art has been used by an
Atayal tribe couple to revive their old cultural tradition of facial tattooing. Shayun Foudu, 33, a woman from
the Atayal tribe in the east etched an elaborate “Vâ tattoo on her face during
the weekend at a tourist resort, marking it as the first time when an
Aboriginal woman in Taiwan had her face tattooed in nearly a century. She said
Facial tattooing is an old
cultural tradition of the Atayal tribe. I feel very proud to have a tattoo on
my face. Traditionally Atayal women would have their faces tattooed after their
first period. When a young Atayal man was marrying his young bride, the man
would also have his face tattooed as a propitious sign of the couple’s wish to
have a long-lasting marriage.
Japanese colonial rulers
banned the traditional custom (which dates back about 1,400 years) 95 years
ago, but the government does not outlaw the practice today. Foudu and her
husband, natives of Fuhsing Township, both have facial tattoos and are proud to have done
something to help preserve the Atayal tradition.
As per the records, tattoos served
as marks of honor for men who were skilled in headhunting, while in women they
represented the attainment of skills such as weaving, also it was a way for
Atayal ancestors to identify and protect later generations. The process that
took two hours to complete is a step ahead by this tribal couple to preserve
the rapidly disappearing tradition.