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The Disappearing Tattooed Faces of Burma’s Chin Province

For generations, the village women of Burma’s Chin Province have tattooed their faces as a symbol of strength and beauty, but this tradition is dying out as a result of globalization. Luckily, photographers have traveled to Burma to capture the beauty of these tattooed-face women before there aren’t any left.

According to Chin elders, the practice of tattooing women’s faces started a long time ago, to prevent women from being taken away by the Burmese kings, who had heard about the beauty of Chin women and teenagers. They would come to villages across the province and just pick out the girls they wanted to take away with them. With no other means to defend themselves, the village elders, who were also women, began tattooing the girls’ faces, thus taking away their beauty.

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