Dayak tribe is indigenous tribes of Indonesia who live inland of Borneo. They have many unique traditions passed down from generation to generation, one of them tattoos. Dayak Tattoo is very exotic, known to foreign countries.
Art tattoos on the Dayak tribe called tedak, while the art of making tattoos called nedak. Widely tattoos are found in Dayak tribal communities, though not all Dayak sub-tribes have tattooing traditions. For them, tattoos are not just body decorations. Tattoos are part of the Dayak way of life and become their trademark.
For the Dayak, the image or painting on the body skin is full of meaning. The Dayak tattoo acts as a sign that the wearer has done something, as an identity, indicating the owner’s social status, as a symbol of courage, and also as a repellent of the reinforcement or guarding the wearer from evil spirits.
Therefore, there are many Dayak tattoo motifs. Each motif has its own meaning. For example, a tattoo around a finger shows the owner of a medication specialist. The body of a man filled with tattoos means strong wandering. In women, tattoos are a sign that he has entered a new phase of life. Dayak women receive tattoos after he has his first menstruation as a symbol he has grown up.
In ancient times, tattoos were made using simple tools. The dyes used are derived from natural ingredients, such as wood charcoal resin and ironwood. The soot from the burning pot can also be used to produce black.
The materials are pounded until smooth. The result is then mixed with the traditional oil that formulated itself. These mixed ingredients are then used to make traditional Dayak tattoos.
Tool to make a tattoo of a wooden hammer called Lutedak. At the end of the wood is a tattoo needle, then the needle is dipped in ink and driven to follow the motif already printed on the skin.
Before recognizing the needle, the Dayak tribe made a tattoo using the thorns of an orange tree. The tattoo motif comes from a wooden mold called Klinge. The skin to be tattooed is stamped first with this mold. Tattoo maker just follow the motive that is already in the skin.
Dayak tattoos cannot be made carelessly because this art is a tradition of their ancestors. Each motif has its own meaning and function so its use should be appropriate.
According to the Dayak belief, the black tattoo that originally turned black will turn into a golden color and become the light of the road towards immortality after they die and have gone through the Tiwah ceremony.
In the past, during the war, tattoos were used as tribal identity so it was clear where the comrades and enemies were. Tattoos also serve as a sign that someone has done something, such as during tribal war or help people.
However, after the tribal war ended and the headhunting was no longer allowed, the meaning of tattoos began to shift. From the beginning as the identity and the sign after the head, the tattoo then becomes a sign for someone who wandered.
However, when the meaning of tattooing tradition for men began to shift since the ban on headhunting, the tattoo tradition in women persisted. After experiencing the first menstruation, Dayak women will be conceived as a sign that he has grown up.
Generally, Dayak women only tattooed on hands and feet, unlike men who can have tattoos all over his body.
Tattooed women are considered to have a higher degree than those who are not tattooed. Once the importance of tattoos for Dayak women make the process of tattoo with rituals can take up to years.
Before doing tattoo usually done the process of preparation of the ritual, which is praying to the ancestor one day earlier. This process is commonly called Mela Malam. The next morning the whole family of the female family will bring the child to be tattooed to their relatives and neighbors who are close to the long house (customary Dayak house where the culture procession is done).
During the tattooing process the relatives must accompany and do not go anywhere. In order for a tattooed child to move, a large dimple is usually placed on top of the body. If he cries, then the crying must be done with a special tone.
When the process of tattooing has been completed, usually held a celebration to avoid bad things happen.
Tattoos are a form of tribute to the ancestors. This is evident from the existence of ancestors represented by certain images or symbols that are believed to be a means of expressing their presence.
For the Dayak, nature is divided into three, namely the Upper World, Middle World, and the Underworld. The symbol representing the Upper World is seen in the tattoo of horn bills, moon and sun. The Middle World which is the place where human life is symbolized by the tree of life. While the dragon is a motif that shows the Underworld.
The existence of tattoos on their bodies following the symbols of the world that represent him is then that simplify their journey towards the realm of death later.
However, the Dayaks cannot choose as they please tattoos that will be dirajah on his body. This is because Dayak tattoo motifs are also related to the social position of the wearer.
Motives representing the world’s top symbols are reserved for nobles, descendants of kings, customary chiefs, village chiefs, and war heroes. Ordinary people can only use the tattoo motif that is a symbol of the middle and lower world. Maintenance of this motif is inherited from generation to generation to show the Dayak line of kinship in society.