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Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern

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Tattooing is a very old and spiritually respected art form that has existed in many different cultures around the world. After many centuries of not being practiced in Europe, tattooing was re-introduced to the Western world through the inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean. Beginnning in the 16th century, European explorers came across many people who practiced tattooing as an integral part of their cultures. This is the first serious study of Filipino tattoos, and it considers early accounts from explorers and Spanish-speaking writers. The text presents Filipino cultural practices connected with ancestral and spiritual aspects of tattoo markings, and how they relate to the process and tools used to make the marks. In the Philippine Islands, tatoos were applied to men and women for many different reasons. It became a form of clothing. Certain designs recognized manhood and personal accomplishments as well as attractiveness, fertility, and continuity of the family or village. Facial tattoos occurred on the bravest warriors with names that denoted particular honor. Through the fascinating text and over 200 images, including color photographs and design drawings, the deep meanings and importance of these markings becomes apparent.

160 pages, Hardcover

First published December 28, 2010

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Lane Wilcken

2 books6 followers

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
723 reviews41 followers
June 25, 2013
Obviously a work of love. Gorgeous photo spreads. The writing could have used an editor to tighten things up a bit, but the author's effort is admirably comprehensive. I came away with a deeper appreciation for Pinoy traditional cultures.

"The Philippines traditions bear designs that are geometric in nature and could well be the foundation of the tattooing traditions in the Pacific. It is a tradition that has been literally left in the mountains for decades with no outside interest until recently. The history of the Philippines is one of strong colonization, ethnic and cultural genocide, missionization and westernization. All of these factors make the survival of Philippine traditional tattoo practices of any kind all that much more amazing" (from the Forward by Keone Nunes, p. 7).
Profile Image for Eliza Mae.
5 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2021
What a sad reality that most Filipinos today do not engage in and oblivious of the tattooing culture of the first Filipinos (the Pintados) due to the long term effect of western neocolonialism. Thank you for this book. Thank you Lane Wilcken for exploring your Filipino identity and sharing your findings in this book highlighting this dying art.
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