Friday, April 09, 2010

Mark of the 'invincible' Iban

KUCHING: In days gone by, an Iban warrior needed to have tattoos of different shapes and meanings all over his body because without them, he would never be complete.

Such was the importance of tattoos in the life of the Iban community in the old days.

Tattoos in the past symbolised strength and bravery as well as the status of an Iban man.

The mostly Iban Sarawak Rangers, the soldiers of the White Rajah, had tattoos on their bodies.

In Iban mythology, the semi-god Keling had tattoos all over his body.

Legend had it that tattoos gave Keling mystical powers -- his body could not be pierced by a spear or parang and he could disappear and reappear in split seconds.

A group of Iban elders from Kapit gave a stark reminder of the "mysterious" old days.

Calling themselves the "Parang Ilang" group from Rumah Tang, an Iban longhouse at Sungai Paku in Kapit Division, they were once volunteers who fought the communist terrorists when Sarawak was under threat in the 1960s and 1970s.

Each tattoo on the hands, fingers and thighs has different meanings. Their backs are also tattooed.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Mark of the 'invincible' Iban

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