NORTHERN BORNEO TATTOO

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This Kayan woman (ca. 1930) was of high rank, as evidenced
by the number of rings around her calves. The motif running up the thighs is called silong lejau (tiger’s faces). At the terminus of these bands you can barely make out a different pattern just above the horizontal lines of the calf. This is called nang klimge (“important design”) and is a degraded anthropomorph. The curclicues below the horizontal lines around the calves are called tushun tuva “the tuba root motif”). Each one of these designs was believed to repel evil forces in the jungle. The unmarked portions of her thigh are also visible

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