Discover Asia's Vanishing Traditional Tattoos

For centuries, indigenous tatooists working across Asia have marked human skin with powerful designs and symbols in their quest to signal ethnic identity and render the body sacred. Carried through life and onwards into death, these marks of humanity testify to an ancestral legacy that is in danger of gradually fading away.

 

The distinctive facial tattoos of the Konyak are typically related to whether an individual had participated in combat. Additional tattoos came to mark a man's body if he took human life. © Lars Krutak

 

Tlie Ngo, one of the last Kayan men bearing traditional tattoos. © Lars Krutak

 

© Lars Krutak

 

Tattoos of Kayan edler Avok Avun showing the encircled lukut bead design. © Lars Krutak

 

Chen tiger man Wengkang. © Lars Krutak

 

Mentawai shaman Aman Lau Lau. © Lars Krutak

 

Yonkon Naga women bear some of the most unique facial tattoos in the world. © Lars Krutak

 

The Kayan tattoos of Ado Ngo promote fertility and repel evil spirits. © Lars Krutak

 

The last Kalinga tattoo master Whang-Od Oggay. © Lars Krutak

 

A human skull shrine in a remote Naga village. © Lars Krutak

 

Read about Asia's vanishing traditional tattoos and see the whole compilation of pictures in the article 'Spiritual Skin' by Lars Krutak – found in Asian Geographic Passport, Collectors' Edition 2016-2017

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