Chinese Ci Shen and Paiwan Tattoos

Chinese word for tattooing is Ci Shen or Wen Shen, which literally means “to puncture/pattern the body”. The art itself has been recognised in China  can you go to heaven with tattoos because the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. -220 A.D.), however has been considered “barbaric” for the duration of the ages. Indeed, it is simplest unjust to attribute Ci Shen to the Chinese people, in view that tattoos had been reserved for minorities (the ruling Han Dynasty taken into consideration themselves the handiest “real” Chinese people) and criminals. That is the cause why Chinese tattoo patterns had been more famous in Europe and the united states than in China itself and this is also the reason why tattooing in China is still being located through a veil of prejudice.

Many are the motives for poor method to the artwork of tattoo. During the Confucian times, humans believed that the body had to remain “pure”. Tattoos had been regarded as a form of frame modification and have been consequently undesired.

According to tattoo professional Lars Krutak:

“With the status quo of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 the Communist authorities applied guidelines of pochu mixin (“removing superstitions”) and yifengyisu (“converting prevailing customs and reworking social traditions”). These laws had been aimed at China’s fifty-six ethnic minority organizations and in the long run caused the loss of life of tattooing amongst those peoples who practiced the indelible art such as the Li of Hainan Island and the Dulong of Yunnan.”

Tattoo subculture of the aboriginal and “minority” corporations in China has been vanishing for years, because of cultural and religious adjustments that have been imposed to those ethnic groups. In maximum instances, all this is left of the unique symbolism is kept with aged tribe contributors, however there are instances when a younger character gets a conventional tattoo – if you want to keep the vintage way of life. The Paiwan human beings are an exception, because tattoos among this ethnic organization are a signal of nobility.

Legends and Origins

Many Chinese classical novels point out tattooed characters. The most well-known legend speaks of Chinese trendy Yueh Fei, who served the South Song Dynasty. The general became betrayed with the aid of the sector marshal for the duration of a conflict against a northern foe and he lower back domestic in protest. There he met his mother and father’ rage. He turned into to serve his usa, that turned into his obligation, his mother said. Thereby she fetched her sewing needle and tattooed four Chinese characters on his lower back – “jin zhong bao guo”. Translated literally, this means: “To serve your u . S . A . With remaining loyalty”.

Similar to Japanese Yakuzas (or Gokud?, contributors of prepared crime circles in Japan), the Chinese also used tattoos to mark their criminals. According to the Han Shu (“Treatise on Punishment”) text (seventh century A.D.), there have been around 5 hundred crimes punishable by using tattoos, consisting of adultery and robbery. The criminals had tattoos on their faces, which confirmed their disgrace. After the tattooing became over, they had been exiled. This punishment turned into known as Ci Pei (Tattoo Exile).

However, many minority groups in China have exclusive view. The Dulong and Dai tribes and Li human beings of Hainan Island are known for his or her active tattoos. Same applies to the Paiwan tribe of Taiwan. They understand no punishment markings and see tattooing as an act of art and patterns as symbols of passage.

Dulong (Drang) Tattoos

The Dulong or Drang tribe lives along the Dulong river. They were present in China because the rule of the Ming Dynasty (some 350 years ago). The Dulong girls had been regularly taken as slaves by the neighboring clans, which triggered the tattoo culture. Namely, they started tattooing their faces. The aim changed into to cause them to less attractive, which might in the end save them from raping. Of direction, nowa days the Dulong tribes are bereft of their enemies, but the way of life nevertheless lives on.

All Dulong ladies get their tattoos at the age of twelve or thirteen. In contemporary times, this act is seen as a signal of maturity. The Dulong tribe is one in every of rare tribes to maintain their subculture alive in modern-day times.

The tattoo is implemented by using a thorn, between the eyebrows and around the mouth (forming a diamond shape), and plenty of dots are carried out to the cheek.

Dai Tattoos

The Dai tribe lives along the Burmese border in Yunnan Province of China. Both Dai men and Dai women practice tattooing. The way of life is vintage and has roots in the belief that tattoos are a signal of energy (in men) and adulthood (in girls). Dai men have tattoos that underline their muscle mass – commonly a dragon, elephant or a tiger – historical eastern symbols of energy. Dai ladies tattoo backs of their arms and hands and a dot among the eyebrows. The symbolism of the latter has been acknowledged in the East for a long time, tracing back to the primary notion of the 0.33 eye. Originally, Dai children had been tattooed around the age of five. Now they get their tattoos across the age of fourteen. The symbolism nonetheless lives in cutting-edge times – a tattoo is a sign of maturity. Dai tattoo customs were first observed through Marco Polo:

“Tattoos are implemented the use of five needles joined together… They prick the flesh till the blood comes, and they rub in a certain black coloring stuff.”

Revival of Dai tattoo customs is quite uncommon. A seventy seven-yr-vintage guy of the Dai tribe instructed “The New York Times”:

“During the anti-Japanese battle, all of us were given tattoos to show that we are of the Dai humans and now not Han Chinese so the Japanese would now not kill us.”

The warfare cited is the WWII. Many people of the Dai tribe took to tattoos all through the Nineteen Forties, leaving behind the authentic symbolism and the use of tattoos to mark their ethnicity. And certainly, Dai tattoos are these days used to underline guys’s power and women’s splendor, in preference to the unique function – to darken their bodies and guard them from lurking wild beasts.

Li Tattoos

The Li human beings have been populating the island of Hainan for over 3 thousand years. In older days, they have been known to the Chinese because the “tattooed race”, that means a barbaric, primitive race without a civilization. Their tattoos (tatan) are closely linked to their religion, that is based on animism. Li tattoos are common among women. Men tattoo blue jewelry on their wrists (believed to be linked with clinical purposes), however other than that – none. Patterns range from tribe to tribe and normally encompass totemic symbols traditional for each extended family. A female who is to be married to any other extended family member receives the bridegroom’s tribal tattoo.

Similarly as with the Dulong and the Dai, tattooing most of the Li humans is visible as a sign of adulthood. A Li lady gets her tattoos across the age of 13 – first at the neck, then on the throat and face. Until her 16th birthday, the female may even get tattoos on her arms and legs. Married ladies get tattoos on their fingers; tattooed fingers are beside the point for a unmarried woman.

In modern-day times, this practice is a great deal simplified. Only elderly girls nevertheless put on conventional Li tattoos, at the same time as facial tattoos are completely deserted.

Paiwan Tattoos

The Paiwan humans populate Taiwan. They are inseparably related to Chinese subculture, so their tattoos are really worth bringing up as properly. The Paiwan have a protracted-status subculture of tattooing a viper on their our bodies. This, of course, has roots in the Paiwan faith, in which the viper is the dad or mum spirit. The handiest difference among the tattooed vipers comes from the social repute of the man or woman wearing it. Originally, best a noble Paiwan could have the right to wear the tattoo, but a commoner changed into allowed to purchase that proper from a noble. Dots and lines also are common patterns the various Paiwan ladies. Men tattooed, beside the viper, human heads and figures and sun designs.