The Essence of Dayak Tattoo

June 5th, 2011



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Beside shape of the long ears, the other Dayak tribes tradition is a tattoo. Dayak woman above 40 years old on average have a tattoo on his arm and leg. For women, the presence of tattoos on their bodies showed they were members of noble families. People of Dayak Kenyah , Bahau, Iban, Kayan have tattoos, while the other Dayak groups do not follow this practice.

Tattoo Motives for women Kenyah include dog chains, the motives of the war, the horns of the animals in the arm and thigh, dams circle motifs in the calf or ankle.
Tattoos on Dayak Kenyah tribe is a sign of maturity, while for men the tattoo is a sign that they’ve explored the other lands and has done something extraordinary, such as killing an enemy in battle.

Sjaifullah and Try Harijono in an article in Kompas, October 22, 2004, entitled “Makna Tato bagi Masyarakat Dayak” said the tattoo for some Dayak ethnic communities are part of the tradition, religion, social status in society, and can also as a form of recognition rate against one’s ability.

For this reason, tattoos for the Dayak community can not be made haphazardly. Nevertheless, the religious tattoos have the same meaning in the Dayak community, namely as a “torch” in the course of one’s natural to eternity, after death.

Therefore, the number of tattoos that more and more indicative of the growing number of “torch” that will illuminate the way to a natural person immortality but tattoo could not be made as much in vain, because it must comply with customs regulations.

Both tattoos on men and women, traditionally made using orange spines long and gradually then use some needle . What has not changed is the material tattooing which typically uses soot from the pot black. This is what makes tattoo from Dayak different from any other tattoos that often use different colors for beauty reasons.

But unfortunately the Dayak tattoo that was so noble, that describes the “torch” that will light the way to the owner to the nature of eternity, has now shifted its value. Now, no more Dayak tattoos are considered as the symbol for “cool effect”, especially for the younger generation.

The presumption tattoo as a symbol of valor is similar to public opinion outside the Dayak, tattoos usually identified with the thugs who can say proudly. This assumption is then penetrated the Dayak youth, through a process of globalization.

Globalization has made the shift into Dayak Tattoos for show and violence only.Only a few parents in the village are still paying attention, as he believes that modernization has weakened the traditional cultural on dayak tattoo aspects
Responding to this, Lawrence Ding Lie, who called himself Art Tattoo Dayak maker in the village of Long Bagun Ilir, expressed concern.

He is concerned with the image of a tattoo that is identical to the violence.
Especially lately more and more non-Dayak want to have Dayak tatto, without knowing the real essence of these Dayak tattoo.

This is very unfortunate, when the cultural values ​​of a culture lost and replaced by another value that can be said to deviate from its original value because the process of modernization and globalization.

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