20 rare images of the last tattooed women of China

The Derung People of Nujiang, Yunnan live following still follow their ancient custom

0
668
tattooed women of China
During the celebrations of the Derung New Year, which is celebrated in the month of December of the lunar calendar, diverse animal sacrifices are celebrated to make an offering to the sky

In the depth of the rain forest of the southwest China, along the border with Myanmar, there is a quite mysterious ethnic minority group, the Derung people (Derung, Dulong, 独龙族).

With a population of 5000-7000, they still follow their ancient custom and religious belief, despite a small number of them converted to Christianity when the French missionary expeditions arrived in the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. They live in the Derung Valley, in the Nujiang prefecture, Yunnan and in the mountains above the Nu River (Salween River), not far from Binzhongluo town.

Face painting in China

Face painting, the practice of the application of tattoos to a person's face, is limited to women. They receive their tattoo around the age of 12. Some say the reason behind this practice is to make their women less attractive so that they were less likely to be taken in as slaves by neighbouring countries, others that tattoos are made so their soul will be recognized after death. The face painting custom is shared with the Muun, Magan and Chin tribes in Myanmar. According to a Burmese legend, an ancient king tried to make slaves of the women and the inkings were intended to repel incomers. Then they became also a symbol of beauty.

History of the Derung People

Not much is known about these people. During the Tang Dynasty, the Derung were ruled by Nanzhao and the Dali Kingdom. Later, during the Yuan dynasty and Qing Dynasty they were governed by Nakhi people. They received their official name in 1949. Before they were known as Qiao, Qiu or Qu. Prior 1949, the year of the formation of the People's Repubblic, Derung society was based on a system of 15 clans, called "nile", formed by diverse familiar communities. They believe in their animist native religion, despite some have converted to Christianity. In fact, during the 19th and 20th centuries, numerous missionary expeditions were organized in the region. The shaman is a very important figure inside the Derung society since they give great importance to rituals.

derung_people_001
Formerly, the women used to tattoo their faces when they reached the age of twelve or thirteen
derung_people_000
Derung are one of the 56 ethnic minority recognized by China
derung_people_010
According to some, the tattoos of some women resembled masculine mustaches
derung_people_003
Their faces are covered in elaborate black patterns in ink
derung_people_004
The typical dress of the women consists of a dress made of fabric lined with colors black and white

derung_people_005

derung_people_006

derung_people_007

derung_people_008

derung_people_009

derung_people_011

derung_people_012

derung_people_013

derung_people_014

derung_people_015

derung_people_016

derung_people_017

derung_people_018

derung_people_019

derung_people_stamp_china

Source:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/forum/2014-05/23/c_133356232.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derung_people
http://blog.voc.com.cn/blog.php?do=showone&type=blog&itemid=340576