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(06-01-2008)
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Chin
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Myanmar (ex-Burma)
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Asia
PHOTO DESCRIPTION
I had to include the face of the elderly Chin ladies in this project. A memorable journey up the Lemro river from Mrauk U to Chin State. The practice of Payae (facial tatoos) was fortunately stopped some 40 years ago.  She told me (via an interpreter) that her face was tattoed at the age of nine, she was wrapped in a bamboo mat with only her head protruding and bound so she could not struggle for the ordeal. For almost six weeks after she could only eat rice-gruel/pap while the wounds healed. I can imagine that infection was also an issue. Nobody is really sure how the custom became established, but a legend was that hundreds of years ago, Burmese kings and nobles used to come to Chin Hills and hunt for the beautiful Chin girls, as the fame of their beauty reached the court of Burma. To avoid their women being captured by the Burmese, they changed their beauty by tattooing the face of young girls. As I said before this practice has now stopped.
APN NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200
Registred camera NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D200 with SIGMA 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro HSM (Reflex camera)
EXIF information f:5,6 - 5/300 - 640 ISO  (no flash)
Orignal filename _dsc0047.jpg

comments

04/20/2008
A fascinating face !
Chin portraits are not common and with this one we learn about another culture (even if I am glad to hear this brutal practice has now stopped)
04/19/2008
Wonderfull face and amazing tatoos !!!
thx for thi beautifull portrait Elaine.
••fly••

04/19/2008
Hi Elaine. Ordinarily I'm not a huge fan of close portraits but you've done an outstanding (and subtle) job here - the timing, the expression captured and the truly excellent color - no tricks, all make for a compelling image.
Congrats!
Francis