The answer to an ancient tradition: why did Ainu women get smile tattoos
The answer to an ancient tradition: why did Ainu women get smile tattoos
Unusual tattooed smile of Ainu women

Photos of ethnic women ainu can cause real shock to the layman. According to ancient beliefs, it was customary to apply on the body tattoo - Ornaments were used to decorate the hands from the wrist to the elbow joint and lips. Today we would call it "The smile of the Joker", although the tradition originated more than 10 thousand years ago.

Ainu women

Culturologists believe that the tradition of drawing a “smile” is one of the oldest in the world, followed by representatives of the Ainu people for a long time. Despite all the prohibitions by the Japanese government, even in the twentieth century, the Ainu were tattooed, it is believed that the last “correctly” tattooed woman died in 1998.

Unusual smile of Ainu women Unusual smile of Ainu women

Only women were tattooed, it was believed that the ancestor of all living things, Okikurumi Turesh Machi, the younger sister of the Creator God Okikurumi, taught the Ainu ancestors this rite. The tradition was passed along the female line, the drawing on the girl's body was applied by her mother or grandmother. In the process of "Japaneseization" of the Ainu people, a ban on tattooing girls was introduced in 1799, and in 1871 in Hokkaido, a repeated strict ban was proclaimed, since it was believed that the procedure was too painful and inhumane.

Unusual smile of Ainu women Unusual smile of Ainu women

For the Ainu, rejection of tattoos was unacceptable, since it was believed that in this case the girl would not be able to marry and, after death, find peace in the afterlife. It is worth noting that the ceremony was indeed cruel: for the first time the drawing was applied to girls at the age of seven, and later the "smile" was painted over for several years, the final stage - on the day of marriage. Around the lips, incisions were made with a sharp makiri knife, which were filled with soot taken from the hearth of the home of the goddess Fuchi. It was believed that she is the intercessor from troubles and diseases, and also provides support at the moments of birth and death.

Unusual smile of Ainu women Unusual smile of Ainu women

The bride experienced severe pain during the ritual, but the Ainu believed that this was how she prepares for childbirth. If the pain was unbearable, the girl was held by force. After the tattoo-smile, the lips burned like hot coals, many developed a fever, severe swelling was observed. The girls practically could not eat and were constantly sleeping.

Unusual smile of Ainu women

In addition to the characteristic smile tattoo, geometric patterns could be seen on the hands of the Ainu; they were also applied to the body as a talisman.

Ainu men and women Ainu women

Look no less creepy tattooed women from the Apantis tribe, mutilated of their own free will.

In the modern world, tattoos have almost completely lost their ritual significance and have become only an element of decorating the body, a way of shocking others. But now at festivals you can see frightening female vampires and other shocking characters.

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