Face Tattoos. Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

By Mark McConville

 

THE LAST generation of Myanmar’s Chin tribe have been captured proudly showcasing their facial tattoos.

 

Incredible images show women of the Chin tribe displaying their tattoos which run along their faces, huge earrings which dangle heavily from their ears and looking sternly into the camera.

Trio.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

 

Other stunning shots show an older woman smoking as smoke blows hazily through the air, one wearing a traditional headdress in a field and others showing off their extravagant beaded jewellery.

Hat.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

 

The remarkable portrait photographs were taken by Polish photographer Adam Koziol as he travelled to Myanmar to document the last generation of the Chin tribe who have their faces tattooed.

Hut.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

“I want to show the beauty of cultures and the variety of origins of people from all over the world. I am fascinated in particular by tattoos and scarifications of tribes,” said Adam.

Intricate tattoo.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

“I develop relationships with people before creating photos and spend as much time with them as possible, really getting to know them and their culture.”

Accessories.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

 

The Chin tribe came about when decades ago, the Burmese king would travel to the area inhabited by women from the Chin tribe.

Huge holes in ears.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

 

He was in awe of what he saw and because it left such a big impression on him, he kidnapped one of the girls. From then on, Chin families started to tattoo their daughters’ faces and other parts of their body to make sure they would never be kidnapped.

Showing off face tattoo.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

 

Girls between the ages of 12 and 14 would also have their ears pierced so they could wear bigger earrings – a symbol of feminine beauty but also so they could become part of the tribe and be less appealing to the Burmese king.

Earrings.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

It would take more than a day for the girls to have their faces tattooed and was an extremely painful process – especially on their eyelids.

Smoke.
Adam Koziol / Universal Features / mediadrumworld.com

The tattoos are not made with ink, but rather with leaves, grass shoots and soot. The mixture was then tattooed on with sharp cane thorns. The Burmese socialist government put a ban on this tradition in the sixties.

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