Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Strangely, a tribe likes to tattoo themselves for beauty

The Embera people, who live in southern Panama, have a unique beauty method that is tattooed entirely their body from jagua squid.

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Most people in the Embera tribe have tattoos on their bodies. Adults prefer geometric tattoos such as lines and triangles, while children can tattoo a snake, a butterfly.

The ink used to create these tattoos is from the jagua fruit. Because this tree is very tall, picking jagua for squid belongs to men, while squid preparation is done by women.

Jaguar is native to South America, Panama, and southern Mexico. It is abundant in the tropical forests of South America and consumed by indigenous tribes.

When ripe, the fruit can be eaten and served as a drink. Traditionally, the unripe fruit was used as a coating for tribal ceremonies.

The juice from the unripe jaguar fruit has consistency. The women will add essential oils, additives to turn it into the gel used for the art of tattooing.

The Embera use long bamboo sticks to draw tattoos on their bodies. Picture in dark green or indigo. It can be stored on the body for 1-2 weeks.

It is known that the most important reason that the Embera tattoo is because this is the tradition of their ancestors. The Embera ancestors passed down the technique of making ink from jagua and tattooing over the generations. They take pride in possessing beautiful tattoos and unique inking techniques.

In the past, only a magician could tattoo people. They use tattoos in their wellness praying rituals. In addition, the Embera used this ink to disguise themselves in the forest during conflicts with other tribes.

These days, they use this ink as a sunscreen, shampoo, or a "weapon" to repel insects.

The Embera tribe is native to the Darien region of Panama and the Choco region in Colombia. Currently, there are about 30,000 Embera living in Panama.

However, because the Darien region is relatively remote, 6-10 hours from Panama City, most of the tribal people have moved to live near Chagres National Park.

Since hunting is not allowed, the Embera depend on tourism. Tourism also encourages people here to maintain their own traditions, culture, and language.


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