The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga
For at least a thousand years, tribal tattooing existed in the Kalinga region as a mark of beauty and wealth, and as a badge of honor and bravery. Every pattern etched on their bodies was symbolic and meaningful and expressed the different stages of life and death. They believed these tattoos were talismans that gave their body powers of strength and invulnerability. Today, the ancient and ritualistic practice of tattooing in Kalinga is disappearing. The younger generations of the tribe, influenced by modern notions of beauty and propriety, deem the tribal tattoos archaic, unsightly and a social stigma.
Photographer Jake Verzosa took portraits of the Kalinga women (those born in the 1920s until the 1950s) displaying their tribal tattoos. The photographs are compiled in this book, which includes an introduction by Kalinga elder Natividad Sugguiyao and a glossary of tattoo designs illustrated by artist Christina Dy.
Cover image: Jake Verzosa, ‘Fang-od Oggay’, 2011
Silverlens Galleries, Philippines
Hardcover / 10 x 8.25 inches / 112 pages / BW