Face-tattooing: A practice fading away in China’s Derung culture

World Today

Face tattoo Derung culture

Face-tattooing is a symbol of the Derung ethnic culture.

Locals have said the practice of face-tattooing has been a tradition here for more than 300 years.

CCTV’s Meng Qingsheng’s reports on the changing tradition.

Most get tattoed before marriage, and it was hard to imagine that a woman without facial tattoos could even get married.

The practice gradually came to an end, following the founding of new China in 1949.

The reasons given to explain this tattooing tradition vary – some shave said it may have helped women avoid sexual attacks or enslavement by making them look unsightly while Others believe the tattoos were actually meant to enhance beauty.

Experts said about 300 Derung women with facial tattoos were still alive in the 1960s. Today, fewer than one in ten are still alive.

The practice serves as a window into the Derung’s unknown past, but also as a legacy destined to disappear.