Simple Tools and a Rich Tradition: Filipino Tribal Tattoo Art

Image: Joe Ash

Image: Joe Ash

The BBC reports on the Philippine Islands and their inhabitants’ longstanding tradition of decorating themselves with elaborate and striking large-scale tattoos. The designs, which evoke the surrounding land and personal family histories, are inscribed on the skin using a traditional ‘tapping’ style. The rudimentary-sounding tools used to accomplish this — ink, a spike from a calamansi lime tree, and a charcoal-dipped piece of bamboo — belie the intricate geometric shapes and patterns they create in the hands of a master.

Read the full piece on BBC News to learn more about this centuries-old art and cultural tradition still upheld by a 94-year-old master in the Philippines and that a group of Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles are dedicated to carry on, even as it loses a foothold in the very islands where it originated.

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