Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tattoo of an Iban (From Borneo)

For Borneo's Dayak peoples, spirits embody everything: animals, plants, and humans. Many groups have drawn on this power by using images from nature in their tattoos, creating a composite of floral motifs using plants with curative or protective powers and powerful animal images.

Tattoos are created by artists who consult spirit guides to reveal a design. Among Borneo's Kayan people, women are the artists, a hereditary position passed from mother to daughter. Among the Iban, the largest and most feared indigenous group in Borneo, men apply the tattoos.

These tattoos are blue-black, made of soot or powdered charcoal, substances thought to ward off malevolent spirits. Some groups spike their pigment with charms—a ground-up piece of a meteorite or shard of animal bone—to make their tattoos even more powerful.

For the outline, the artist attaches up to five bamboo splinters or European needles to a stick. After dipping them in pigment, he or she taps them into the skin with a mallet. Solid areas are filled in with a circular configuration of 15 to 20 needles.

Ritual Tattooing

Traditionally, Dayak tattooing was performed in a sacred ritual among gathered tribe members. Among the Ngaju Dayak, Krutak said, the tattoo artist began with a sacrifice to ancestor spirits, killing a chicken or other fowl and spilling its blood.

After a period of chanting, the artist started an extremely painful tattooing process that often lasted six or eight hours. Some tattoos were applied over many weeks.

For coming-of-age tattoo rituals, the village men dressed in bark-cloth. This cloth, made from the paper mulberry tree, also draped corpses and was worn by widows.

Tattooing, like other initiation rites, symbolized both a passing away and a new beginning, a death and a life.

Head-hunting Tattoos

One Dayak group, the Iban, believe that the soul inhabits the head. Therefore, taking the head of one's enemy gives you their soul. Taking the head also conferred your victim's status, skill and power, which helped ensure farming success and fertility among the tribe.

Upon return from a successful head-hunting raid, participants were promptly recognized with tattoos inked on their fingers, usually images of anthropomorphic animals.

Head-hunting was made illegal over a century ago—but even today, an occasional head is still taken.

Borneo Scorpion Tattoo

ne of the great islands of the world, is part of the Malay Archipelago located southwest of the Philippines. It is also one of the few places today where tattooing continues to be practiced in a tradition that may stretch back thousands of years. Although it is but an island, it is home to several native subgroups: the Iban (also called the Sea Dayak), Kayan, Kenyah, and Land Dayak. Often times, though, these peoples are grouped under the single term Dayak, used to refer to any of the indigenous people of the interior of this lush and mountainous island. In the late 1800s, anthropologists started to become interested in the traditional cultures of the peoples of the region and several investigative expeditions were mounted. From these, as well as the work of modern researchers, we are provided a rare glimpse behind some of the symbols at work in tattooing and the meanings that they hold. As with many indigenous forms of tattooing around the globe, the art of tattooing was not simply art for arts sake. Instead, tattooing was an integral part of the culture, a ritual expression, specifically connected with spiritual beliefs. The scorpion symbol, also sometimes known as kala, was noted particularly in Iban tattoo designs by Charles Hose (a civil officer who worked in Borneo over twenty years) and William McDougall (an English anthropologist) in their 1912 publication The Pagan Tribes of Borneo. However, the authors note that the “scorpion” design is actually based on the highly stylized image of the aso, the mythical dog/dragon associated with protection from malevolent spirits. Hose and McDougall suggest that the Iban adopted their tattoo designs from other subgroups on the island and created their own interpretations afterwards. In the kala design, the claws of the scorpion were originally the back end of the dog while the hooked ends at the back of the scorpion design were originally the open jaws of the mouth of the dog. Although it has no particular significance in the scorpion design, even the rosette-like eye of the dog still persists in the center.

An old iban man's tattoo, each tattoo has its own meaning.

The traditional way of doing a tattoo.

This is called "bungai terung".

Iban Tattoo backpice... " Kelingai Ketam Nyepit" & "Kelingai Ketam Itit".


Anonymous said...

Quote from above article:
Malam nya sida ketuai lalu madah ka Gendup bagi kalingai ke diengkah ba tuboh, baka ba rekong, bau, lengan, pah, belakang enggau endor bukai. Orang mega lalu madah ka pasal tegulun ngagai iya.Here comes the example:

Quote from Ibanpedia:
- Calf muscle: usually “Kowit” hooks, a sign that indicated the reaching of puberty.
- Shoulders: a rosette (“bungai terong”, “tandan buah”, “buah andu” or “ringgit saliling”).
- Thighs and arms: a “kala” scorpion, symbolizing a journey.
- Back: rosettes, also symbolizing a journey.
- Throat: a “katak” frog (derived from the Bakatan “hooks“), an imitation of the “burong lang” (war god) signs on the throat.
- Backs of hands: large tattoos or linear decorations. Symbols of success as a head hunter.

Bakani milih ukir, pantang tauka kalingai ba tuboh kitai?

Bisi bala ulih nembuka list di baroh tu?

Ba rekong – ukir katak ti nandaka Sengalang Burong
Ba bau – bungai terong
Ba berang – kala. Bisi ukir ditu?
Ba lengan – kala. Bisi ukir bukai?
Ba pah – kala. Bisi ukir bukai?
Ba betis – sauh tauka ginti. Kowit hook
Ba belakang – bungai terong. Nama agi ukir bukai ti patut?
Ba dada – ?
Ba pegu – ?
Ba atas jari – tegulun

Anonymous said...

Ba gambar apai tuai ti keterubah ia nyak, nama nama ukir ba berang (upper arm), lengan (lower arm), ba pah (thigh), ba betis (lower leg), ba dada kiba ngau dada kanan?

Anonymous said...

Bisi bala ngelala ukir ba pegu ngau bau belakang apai tuai dalam gambar datas nyak?

Bisi nama bintang ti bisi empat tucong ba tengah tauak tulang belakang ngau bintang ti bisi 7 tucong ba belakang sepaik kanan ngau kiba nyak? Nama reti bintang 4 tucong ngau 7 tucong nyak?

Anonymous said...

Ni ka ”Kelingai Ketam Nyepit” & “Kelingai Ketam Itit” dalam gambar datas nyak?

Anonymous said...

Nama nama ukir buloh ti segala nyak dalam gambar ti keterubah nyak? Nama reti ia?

Anonymous said...

Nama ukir ba lengan saduai ti benong mantang dalam gambar datas nyak? Enda entu dikelala ukir nyak.

Anonymous said...

Ari bup Basic Iban Design ti ditulis AA Ganjing ba bagian Kalingai, bisi nama ukir tang enda dipadahke ia ba bagian tuboh ni setiap iti ukir nyak patut dipantang. Aku ngeripihke list nyak ditu engka bala bisi nemu ba bagina tuboh ni setiap iti kalingai nyak patut dipantang:

1) Undai beradai – ba bagian tuboh ni patut dipantang?
2) Ketam nyepit – ?
3) Ketam bedayung – ?
4) Ngerama murong – ?
5) Tabak -?
6) Fig 11 nadai nama diberi -?
7) Fg 12 nadai nama diberi -?
8) Ajat pama -?
9) Fig 14 nadai nama -?
10) Dulang Sempandai -?
11) Ketam ngerayap – ?
12) Fig 17 nadai nama diberi -?
13) Fig 18 nadai nama diberi -?
14 Baya butang (Adulterous crocodiles) – ?
15) Rengguang (Lobster) – ?
16) Pala rusa (Deer head) -?
17) Tedung beambai (Mating cobra) -?
18) Dulang Ini Manang (Shaman Goddess Tray)-?
19) Janggut undai (Prawn fellers – ?
20) Kala bejagang (Crawling scorpion) -?
21) Bekaul kawai (Interlock) -?
22) Semawa (Flying fox) -?
23) Jelenga udun -?
24) Surong gelang (Bracelet) -?

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