I Documented The Last Tattooed Women Of The Tharu Tribe
Tattooing plays a major role in certain communities. Some people use their body as an art canvas to reflect their status, ideology, memorable stories, etc…
For the Tharu tribe in Chitwan, a Nepalese town, I found that the women tattoo designs have 3 different stories.
The first one was extremely shocking. During the era of the Kingdom of Nepal, the royal family used to spend their summer in the Chitwan area. They used to take the beautiful girls of the native tribe as sex slaves. To stop these abductions, the tribal tattoo trend started and the girls got inked in order to deform themselves, so they look ugly for the royal men.
The second tattoo meaning was as shocking as the first one. Tattooing used to be mandatory for a girl during the teenage phase, or she will be estranged from her family and community. She won’t be allowed to talk, marry, and even people won’t be allowed to take anything she touched like food and objects. She must get inked in order to be accepted by her people.
The third meaning behind these tribal designs was about beauty and the afterlife. Once a woman dies, she will rise in heaven in her most beautiful form.
All the above might be true. They all prove one thing, the meaningful tattoo art played a major part in the role of the tribe’s women. It was a survival mode in their life and even after death.
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