The last Taiwanese with a traditional facial tattoo

2019/10/06 10:00

For centuries, Taiwan’s indigenous people practiced the custom offacial tattooing. Tattoos represented personal achievement and identity for several tribes, including the Atayal. The custom was completely banned in the 1930s by the Japanese colonial government that occupied Taiwan at the time. OneAtayal woman, Lawa Piheg, was the last indigenous person in Taiwan with a full facial tattoo. She died on Sept. 14 at the age of 97 in Miaoli County, where she had lived. Last year, she gave an interview describing what it was like to get a tattoo at the ageof 8 and why it was important to her tribe at the time. Also known by her Mandarin Chinese name Ke Ju-lan,Lawa spoke in the Atayal dialect. Atayal documentary maker Baunay Watan translated the interview.