The Konyaks : Last Of The Tattooed Headhunters
Phejin Konyak, Peter Bos
A personal journey of a Konyak woman who retraces the steps of her grandfather and great-grandfather by documenting the tattooing practice of the Konyaks a once fearsome headhunting tribe of Nagaland in India, well known for their iconic facial and body tattoos. For the first time this book compiles the most intensive research and documentation that has ever been done on tattoo art. It explores the Konyaks' concept of beautification of the body through tattoos, in which the body is understood as a canvas for body art, with inscriptions marked on the skin as a form of rite of passage and cycle of life. This book captures the unique but vanishing practice of the tattooing culture together with the tattoo patterns, their meanings and oral traditions, such as folktales, songs, poems and sayings. It includes descriptions and information on the headhunting and tattooing practices; reasons behind it, techniques used, tattoo artists, different tattoo groups, types of tattoos and personal stories, visually interpreted with illustrations and photographs. Foreword: William Dalrymple; Photographs : Peter Bos.