Yagazie Emezi


Cultural Anthropologist & Africanist

None of the images posted here belong to me unless stated otherwise.
Recent Tweets @JujuJungleLove


“From these examples we learn what tattooing meant for these women. They were seen as not only more beautiful, but also possessing emotional and physical fortitude to endure pain and hardship, including the pain of childbirth. A woman’s tattooing was an affirmation of her strength and inherent spiritual power, procreative endowment, and as a form of clothing, an enhancement of beauty and a proclamation of her status. Finally, the tattoos were a form of recognition that allowed the soul of a woman to pass into the afterlife and join the glorious chain of her ancestors.”

-Lane Wilcken, Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern

Women from the Philippines from various ethnic groups were also known to showcase their tattoo’s along with men, not just for beauty purposes but because also because it was a form of clothing.

Unlike men who had to earn their first tattoo by doing some brave deed such as killing their first enemy during a raid or war, women received their first tattoos at puberty as a symbol and representation of their coming-of-age and their transition from a young girl into womanhood. For women the tattoos she received represented meanings of fertility, bravery, and strength, meanings that represented her as woman and her gift of life and what she would need for childbearing.

By enduring the pain of getting tattooed from the needles tapping and piercing through ones skin it was symbolic in that if she could endure this pain, she can endure childbearing. Those who weren’t tattooed were considered barren.

Some tattoo motifs represent different aspects of their lives and as a symbol of womanhood. Some were of seeds, rice plants, crosses and dashes put on ones face to mark her as a woman ready for marriage along with confusing bad spirits of enemies that were beheaded. Some were representations of the ancestors and their protectiveness over their kin, which were believed to keep the wearer safe from harm and prevent one from getting diseases. Other tattoo motifs were given as a type of medical tattoo which were to believed to treat an ailment.

Our tattoos were also not just for beauty purposes and representing our womanhood, but they also had spiritual meanings behind them. A belief shared among many of the ethnic groups who practiced tattooing was that one who wasn’t tattooed would not be accepted into the land of the dead, as the ancestors would not recognize them.

(via northfort)

  1. pocobaba reblogged this from durianemoji
  2. russnj reblogged this from kirstivitea
  3. haaalp reblogged this from kirstivitea
  4. kirstivitea reblogged this from wavinflags
  5. foxaveclocs reblogged this from di-ll-ow
  6. di-ll-ow reblogged this from durianemoji
  7. durianemoji reblogged this from bunqueen
  8. booksaremyfriends98 reblogged this from anasthasia-k
  9. anasthasia-k reblogged this from austro-nesian
  10. yourhollowways reblogged this from britneysnewurl
  11. shatteredzydrateteacup reblogged this from britneysnewurl
  12. britneysnewurl reblogged this from rnadrid
  13. wavinflags reblogged this from rnadrid
  14. novacorpsrecruit reblogged this from rnadrid
  15. rnadrid reblogged this from austro-nesian
  16. clazzjassicalrockhop reblogged this from austro-nesian
  17. inspiredmermaid reblogged this from austro-nesian
  18. gelathiiin reblogged this from austro-nesian
  19. bunqueen reblogged this from roll-like-nicole
  20. unfunnying reblogged this from austro-nesian
  21. muchymozzarella reblogged this from austro-nesian
  22. jmuneenthehouse reblogged this from austro-nesian
  23. canadiana-and-bitches reblogged this from austro-nesian
  24. curiouscorner reblogged this from austro-nesian
  25. muzatsu reblogged this from austro-nesian
  26. addictedbish reblogged this from austro-nesian
  27. vannajae reblogged this from austro-nesian