Burmese tattooing implements


In the 19th century, it was seen as a rite of passage for young Burmese men to endure the painful process of being tattooed with sharp, weighted brass implements such as these. Tattoo masters, who were usually also herbal medicine men, outlined the tattoo design on the skin with a brush before using the tools to prick the design into the skin. The tools shown here are approximately 40cm long when constructed and include a weight in the shape of a celestial being or mythical creature.

Full title:
Burmese tattooing implements
19th century, Burma [Myanmar]
Tattooing implement
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Or 16444

Related articles

A brief history of writing materials and technologies

Article by:
Ewan Clayton
The art and design of writing, The origins of writing

From the earliest incisions and scratchings to the quill pen of the middle ages, how did we come to get the diverse range of tools to produce writing we know today?