A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Dulong Woman

Digital Image, Description of image by artist
13x19x7 inches (h x w x d)
ultrachrome ink pop-up book, paper

Only about 4,600 Dulong people reside near the Dulong River in NW Yunnan, along the borders of Tibet and Bruma. Using bamboo needles and ink made out of ashes from the bottoms of pans, girls get their tattoos at puberty, and each clan has its own set of designs. The origin is not clear, but some claim it was to make them unattractive to powerful neighboring tribes (Tibetans to the north, and Lisu to the east) who enslaved the Dulong and went after their women. Dulong women believe that their tattoos resemble butterflies because the souls of the dead are said to turn into butterflies. As of 2009, there were only 40 tattooed Dulong women left.




Dulong Woman
Source: Digital Image