New Guinea Tattoos

Posted on by Richard
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New Guinea tattoo



Tribal Tattoos are no longer as prolific in  New Guinea as they used to be. New Guinea Tattoos are however an interesting form of oceanic art and as the tradition of tribal tattoos dies out the tribal designs are in danger of becoming lost. The Papua New Guinea tattoos featured here come from the Siassi Island and Kilinge Area in West New Britain.







Tribal Tattoo Kilinge West New Britain



Papua New Guinea Tattoos of some groups such as the Motu and Collingwood Bay are quite well documented but the facial Tattoos of the Kilinge and Kombe are poorly represented.

From what I have been told in the field most Papua New Guinea tattoos in the modern day are done with a needle and the black core of a carbon battery.







Note the slit earstattoos are now done with a sharp needle by hand using the black core from Dead batteries. Traditionally though manganese rich volcanic deposits were rubbed into the tattoo after being cut with a fine obsidian blade.



As this is probably the last generation of Kilinge / Kombe women to be adorned with there traditional tribal tattoos  and I though I should load it onto the web in the hopes that it is found by future generations of New Guinea people wishing to know what there  New Guinea tattoos looked like.



Tribal Tattoos in this area are not limited to women, but it is more dominant on women with the majority of men having smaller lesser tattoos designs predominantly on the arms and chest.






Note the ear rings

Split Ears were a part of female initiation

Unfortunately as the West embraces the designs of tribal tattoos the people of New Guinea themselves often mock the older generation for following what they consider to be outdated traditions.




Tattoo face new Guinea woman

Kilinge tattoo
a dying tradition

One of the few of the current generation to embrace their tradition


















It is not only tribal tattoos that are being lost other traditions such as slitting ears for female initiation are also soon to be redundant in New Guinea.

Excellent Article on Tattoo among the Motu people through to Milne bay


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