A boy had to taste the blood
of his first victim...
Lockhart passes through classic rice terrace landscapes that
adorn every travel poster from The Philippines. It's an area struggling to
modernize, struggling to remain the same. Here, he's told, he'll find the
world's oldest man. He also comes across some ancient beliefs -- if a small
keeps his eyes open as he zeros in on the northern Kalinga tribesmen, the most
ornamented people of the region. He's heard that traditional warfare, head
hunting, and tattooing as a rite of passage, are all but extinct. In their
place, institutionalized peace pacts reinforce rites of kinship and cement
social ties. But it's only a matter of time before Tom encounters heavily
tattooed village elders who might dramatize the tattoo tradition for the camera
-- and resurrect their body art one more time.
It ensured he would not die young
According to Kalinga tradition, a boy had to taste the blood
of his first victim before the community recognized him as a warrior. The blood
not only gave him strength, it ensured he would not die young. Tom finds a
family steeped in the old ways and is shown how the jaw bone of a past trophy
was rendered into the handle of a brass gong. He is told that a pig or water
buffalo used to be sacrificially slaughtered to honor the event, then one more
animal presented as payment to the tattooist. Lockhart watches the old tattooist
ready a needle for dipping in pine and sugarcane juice. Que sera, sera.
Curious about the photographer responsible for
the two shots on this page?
Find out more about self taught photographer Eduardo Masferrè here!
A detour waits ahead
Perhaps, half a world away, among the secrets of the ancient
Pictish Nation there remains some hint as to why we tattoo. Thomas has
to know, so we head to...
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