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World Famous Kalinga Tatoo

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KALINGA TATOO itself depicted the justification of name. Kalinga the promoter country and tattoo is the product. Sometimes people ask about Kalinga in the world scenario. The simple answer is Kalinga is that country which purely represent India to the world. Author of world History when referring to South East Asia , they always refer to Indian settlement in this area and Indian influence, but in every time they neither referring to Kalinga or any thing rather always referring to Indian settlement. Ancestors from these countries already accepted that people from Kalinga came here and developed our culture with Brahmins and Sanskrit way of Odia that day. They developed them in their anguage culture and god which still have greater importance than other. Regarding Kalingan

Voyage to the Phillipines Out of Different theory about Kalinga :-
H. Otley Beyer (1918) believed that the people of the Kalingan in Phillipines arrived in separate migration waves. That is some 25.000 to 30.000 years ago when the ancestors of the Negrito migrated into the Philippines. Around 5.000 B.C came a group he called ‘Indonesian A’ and their descendants are found in the provinces of Apayao and parts of Abra, Kalinga and Ifugao. Another wave came from Southern China around 1.500 B.C. and Beyer called them ‘Indonesian B’. Their descendants are supposedly found in parts of the provinces Ilocos Norte, Kalinga and Ifugao (Prill-Brett, 1999; 2). Then between 800 and 500 B.C. a more advanced group of migrants is said to have arrived bringing with them copper and bronze tools. Some two to three hundred years after that the Malays migrated to the southern parts of the archipelago (Prill-Brett, 1999; 2).


Beyer’s Separate Migration Theory is highly debated and not accepted. More recent studies give a new dimention and agree on migration from parts of Southeast and East Asia but do not support the different waves of migrants. It is believed that the original migrants of Northern Luzon and the Cordillera in Phillipines had a common culture and that the cultural differences among the people are primarily the result of change in situ (Dozier, 1966; 22). Eggan (1941, 1954), Scott (1958) and more specifically Keesing (1962; 319) have used this particular explanation in accounting for the cultural difference among the inhabitants of the Cordillera (Dozier, 1966; 22).

Until today much of the tattooing and tattoo designs in the Kalinga province are still best understood within the context of headhunting. Nonetheless anthropologist Ikin Salvador-Amores (2002) has shed light on the intricate practice of Kalinga tattooing. She shows the roles and functions of the Kalinga batek and how these tattoos are cultural symbols of intricate rituals. Nevertheless Kalinga society is undergoing revolutionary change due to various processes which will be discussed in this thesis. It’s within this context that we should view the changes that are taking place in the realm of Kalinga tattooing.

Kalinga Tatoos are Basically divided into two shades of thought. One is for Men, which depict bravery sign and for Woman , it is a sign of Beauty and ornament. The demise of Kalinga tattoos in the Philippines and the revival of these same tattoos in California are a logical consequence of Spanish and U.S. colonization policy in the Philippines and the exploitation of the Filipino body in the Unites States.

Kalinga tattoos are deeply ingrained symbols, used as visual markers in the advancement of a Kalinga’s personhood (Salvador-Amores (2002; 112). When a Kalinga passes from one stage to another, for example from childhood to adulthood, a ritual is performed to mark this advancement. The tattoo is an important symbol in this ritual and visually marks the transformation of the Kalinga self into a new stage of being. The Kalinga batek thus functions as a visual marker as to what stage or position an individual has within Kalinga society together with a sense of belonging to that specific community.

During the arrival of the Spaniards headhunting and tattooing were being practiced more extensively than in the time of the Americans (Krieger, 1926; 89). During Spanish
colonization the Kalinga were a people were head taking was an intricate element of their culture. Killings and counter killings were quite common as were feuds between different villages and regions (Dozier, 1966; 55). The tattoos, earned by a warrior after a successful headhunt, were a symbol of male courage and bravery and had the function of modern day military decorations (Scott, 1994: 20; de Raedt, 1969: 95-100). In an 1898 article published in American Anthropologist, Daniel G. Brinton takes stock of what is known of the people of the Philippines in anticipating the annexation of the
archipelago to the United States. About the people of Northern Luzon he states:
[quote]‘Many of these have never been converted to Christianity and preserve their ancient
customs of tattooing their bodies, filing their teeth and from time to time indulging
their ancestral tendency to head-hunting’. (Brinton, 1898; 303)…….////(Continued)[/quote]

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Article By : Swagatika Pati





  1. Very nice Article and very informative. Lots of new things which I did not know, came to know from your write up. Thanks, pls keep writing such good things. Thanks, mama dash

  2. vry informative page……..thank u mam……for sharing these info wid us………..@ 1st i came to learn about KALINGA TATOO in TATTO HUNTER(a show on disocvery chhanel)…… u described it more elabaretly…….thank u again

  3. Maung was the last Iban tattoo artist of the Skrang River, Sarawak, Borneo. He bravely fought Japanese soldiers armed with heavy machine guns during WWII with a mandau sword, blowgun, and spears. He stated that all of the tattoos he created were “magical” because his protector spirit led him to a meteorite in the jungle which he later dipped in every batch of tattooing pigment he ever made. He said his tattoos protected him from Japanese bullets: “


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