Flaunted by models and celebrities, these days tattoos are often about attracting members of the opposite sex.
But not so for the women of the Tharu tribe, from central Nepal, who began marking themselves in order to deter members of the country’s royal family from keeping them as sex slaves, according to folk law.
Photographer Omar Reda, 32, said the women of the Tharu tribe told him about the dark roots of their tattoo culture when he visited the town of Chitwan, where he captured these portraits.According to Tharu folk law, their tattooing trend started during the Kingdom of Nepal era when the royal family would visit their village during the summer and take the most beautiful girls as slaves. In order to stop them, the girls began tattooing themselves in the hopes of repulsing their captors.In more recent times, tattoos were used as a mark of social acceptance, according to Omar. Unmarked women could not be spoken to, could not marry, and sometimes could not even touch objects the tribe used.
The third reason given by the women for getting the tattoos was spiritual, as it is believed that the markings will allow the bearer to rise in heaven in her most beautiful form, Omar said.Tattooing, which used to be popular among the Tharu people, is fast dying out because contact with other non-tattooed tribes has led to the practice falling out of fashion, according to Sameera Maiti, an author on the culture.
Omar said that whichever story about Tharu tattooing you believe in, the practice is clearly important to their culture
Source: DailyMail UK