Final Project--Tattos - Tattoos Tattoos: Rite to Passage or...

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Tattoos 1 Tattoos: Rite to Passage or Taboo? Nancy Roberts Axia College of University of Phoenix
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Tattoos 2 Tattoos have been throughout our diverse cultures for thousands of generations, dating back to the Stone Age. While some cultures view tattoos as taboo, tattoos are also viewed as a rite of passage throughout life by others. Even now, in modern American society, tattoos are now considered socially acceptable by most, even though as recently as 30 years ago, they were thought to be tacky, or otherwise an indicator of less then exemplary character. In a culture that observes these tattoos as a right to passage it represents the difficult journey into adulthood, a mark of status, bravery, a pledge of love, or possible punishment. Guynup (2004) speaks of an adolescent boy from the tribe of Ngaju Dayak located in the Indonesian section of the island Borneo, venturing into the jungle only armed with a blowgun and poison darts, in search of a wild boar or monkey. The boy returns safely home after killing a wild boar, when he entered the village with his prize the boy was viewed as navigating successfully through the rite of passage into adulthood. This boy has now become a man in his tribe. To show the rite of passage he endured, he is ritually tattooed. This boy represents a beginning to an end, a way into adulthood for some cultures. For the Ngaju Dayak tribe these tattoos represent the difficult journey throughout life; when a member is tattooed other tribe members gather to honor their ancestors and chant before tattooing begins, once the tattooing has begun it could be several hours before completion of the tattoo, possibly even days. When these tattoos are given the tattooist consults their spirit guides to help with the design. These designs range from animals to plants as they are intricately tattooed on the tribe member, depending on which rite of passage has been encountered. The Iban, another tribe in Borneo, believes the soul is in the head of the enemy. By taking the head of the enemy, this tribe believes they are ensuring success in fertility within the tribe and farming for the season. When the members return from head-hunting successful, those members are tattooed on their fingers with an anthropomorphic animal. A bird referred to as the
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Tattoos 3 hornbill symbolizes rank and prestige within the tribe of Iban. Protector’s of the jungle are perceived as the water serpent or scorpion tattooed on the tribe member. The women of the Iban tribe receive tattoos for weaving, entertainment such as dance and singing. Whereas young girls from the tribe of Kayan, also in Borneo are tattooed at puberty show the rite of passage into adulthood. They tattoos are also meant to attract male companionship, in addition to providing a
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Final Project--Tattos - Tattoos Tattoos: Rite to Passage or...

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