Researcher to probe tattoo link between Western Ghats, Africa
Published : November 15, 2006
INDIA – A tattoo researcher from Germany is set to trace similarities between tattoos of tribes in the Western Ghats and the tattoos of aborigines of Southern Africa.
The researcher, who likes to call himself ‘Travelling Mick’, will be sharing his academic study on tattoo culture around the world at the 2nd International Tattoo Convention to be held in Saligao from November 18 to 20.
“I have been travelling around the world since the 1990s to find the social and cultural roots of tattooing. In India, there is very interesting tattoo culture from the Lamani tribes in Maharashtra and Karnataka, who tattoo their arms and legs as a custom to those in North Eastern states who ink tattoos on their faces as they come from warrior tribe culture,” Mick said.
He said that he plans to go through the Western Ghats soon to explore the tattoo culture amidst the tribes residing in the ecologically sensitive region. “It will be the first time I will be going to the Western Ghats. I want to see if the tattoos of the tribes in the Western Ghats have any similarity to the medicinal tattoos of the Bushmen in Southern Africa, as I have heard. Medicinal tattoos are coloured tattoos that function on the principles of acupuncture,” Mick said.
He said that the culture of getting tattoos inked at the base of the thumb by Christians in Goa is a custom also prevalent among Christians in Egypt. “Wherever Christians are in a minority with Hindu or Muslim majority, this culture is seen of drawing the cross on the hand to identify community members and feel one with other persons of the faith. Coptic Christians in Egypt also ink similar crosses on their bodies,” Mick said.
Organizers of the tattoo convention, to be held at a club in Saligao, Rohit Patel and Shibani Shah of Eventos Promotions and More, said that more than 4,000 persons are expected to attend the event in Goa. “The first international convention was held in Mumbai in April this year and was attended by more than 8,000 persons. The convention not only provides tattoo enthusiasts the opportunity to get inked by some of the best tattoo artists in the world, but it will also be a platform for tattoo artists to interact with one another and attend seminars on various unique tattoo techniques,” Shah said.
One participant at the convention will be Anil Gupta who has been featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not series for the smallest tattoo inked on a thumb – Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrait of Mona Lisa.
The organizers say that tattoo culture is growing at an incredible pace in India. “In Arambol, Calangute and Anjuna areas itself in Goa, one sees numerous tattoo stores which have come up in less than five years. There were none before. It is a billion dollar industry in India at the moment,” Patel said.
Source : Times Of India