a photo journal

Mentawai Tattoo

01 February 2020

These tattoos are an integral part of the Mentawai culture and hold deep cultural and spiritual significance.

Mentawai tattoos are often intricate and geometric in design, covering various parts of the body such as the arms, legs, and torso. The tattoos are created using a traditional technique called “pantok,” which involves using a sharpened piece of bone or metal attached to a wooden handle to puncture the skin and apply ink.

Tattoos in the Mentawai culture are more than just body decoration; they convey important information about a person’s status, role within the community, and personal achievements. The tattoos often symbolize milestones in a person’s life, such as reaching adulthood, getting married, or participating in certain rituals. They also reflect a person’s connection to their spiritual beliefs and ancestors.