The Last Generation of Women with Face Tattoo Shares the Truth Behind the Ink

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The Last Generation of Women with Face Tattoo Shares the Truth Behind the Ink


Tattoos have a significance on their bearer, a way of expressing themselves. These markings tell different stories, and for some, tattoos might be hiding a darker meaning. 


Photo Credit: Cameron Hack/Instagram (via UNILAD UK)


In an article published by UNILAD UK, a company that provides "social news" and entertainment, it was shared that there are Chinese women who have face tattoos, who are the last of their generation, and they shared the dark meaning behind their marks. These women live on the island of Hainan, and tourists will be able to find them if they’re willing to go on a five-hour bus ride to their communities that are located in the heart of the mountains. 

Captured by the camera lens of photographer Cameron Hack, these women have dark lines tattooed on their faces. Hack, who is also a teacher, managed to gather the stories behind these extraordinary women’s marks for Humans of China, a website that is dedicated to sharing living history. 

Hack tracked down these women with the face tattoos after discovering them online. He explained in an interview that the tattoos in the Li culture signified adulthood and when a young girl is old enough to marry someone. However, this changed when the Japanese soldiers invaded their island.


Photo Credit: Cameron Hack/ Instagram (via UNILAD UK)


According to one of the women Cameron spoke with, the Japanese soldiers were “not so keen on girls with tattoos on their skin” so that in order to stay away from harm, girls who didn’t have a marking on their faces used dipped spikes from trees to ink and use a hammer to gently tap the liquid into their skin. 

Another woman that Hack interviewed recalled how painful her experience was while having the markings. “After my face was really swollen and painful, I found it hard to smile and open my mouth to eat and drink,” she said.