The Journey and History of Traditional Tattoo in Indonesia

arm tattoo

The Journey and History of Traditional Tattoo in Indonesia

One of the best traditional tattoos in history and their journey in Asian countries is coming from Indonesia. The renowned islands from Indonesia that have ancient historical traditional tattoo are from the Dayak tribe and the Mentawai tribe.

The Dayak tribes live inside the inland of Kalimantan. For the Dayak tribe, a tattoo is a sacred thing. Tattoo for them is a mark to their God to identify them so they can go to heaven. Each tattoo design has meaning base on their experience and their life journey that they’ve been through. Not every Dayak people have a tattoo, and each person may not have the same tattoo designs.

Tattoo on Dayak’s language is ‘tutang’. Every motif has a different meaning. The placement can’t be put carelessly too. As their belief, the black color tattoo will turn to gold and considered as the path of eternity after they passed away. The tattoo design in this tribe also has the meaning as to protect them from bad spirits, or as a mark that they pass the test of ‘kinyah’ the traditional martial arts of Dayak. To women, the tattoo is a mark that they ready to marry.

The traditional tattoo motif ideas usually come from animals and plants. The nobleman of the tribe usually has the hornbill bird to represent the heaven, spiral motif of frogs, rosette of Borneo rosette flower, and tree branch and others.

The characteristic of Dayak tattoo design is blocking.

The Dayak tribe tattooing method is hand tapping. The hand tapping tools are thorns from orang tree, the ink is using the soot to get the deep dark black color.

The traditional way of their tattooing method is by tapping the skin by hand using a wood stick.

The other tribe from Indonesia that also has an ancient tattoo is Mentawai tribe.

Tattoo on Mentawai tribe language is ‘Titi’. The tattoo artist called ‘Sipatiti’. To the Mentawai tribe, tattoo is a symbol of natural balance and beauty. Tattoo to them is also their expression of art. The motif on Mentawai tribe is adjusted depends on their social status or the person’s profession. The characteristic of Mentawai tattoo design is the line.

Both Mentawai and Dayak tribes usually have rituals before the tattoo session.

Cap Bagong tatu studio have also hand tapping method. But we don’t need ritual as we are not originally from Dayak or Mentawai, and we use a single hand disposable needle on our tattoo session as you can see in this video of us doing the hand tapping tattoo session https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ9gZ0VJOY8.

You can also check our portfolio here for hand tapping tattoo designs https://capbagongtatu.com/handtapping/.

 

 

 

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