Friday, June 18, 2010

Tiipe - the Body Art

Tiirii tiipe pa pa
Yapiñ tiipe pa pa
Nyachu piñpu pa pa
Goñpii tiipe pa pa
Pakii giilyu, giilyu, giilyu

The Apatani children used to grow up with the playful voices of their mothers singing this rhyme while mockingly putting tattoo (tiipe) on the face of the child, starting from the forehead (tiirii), nose (yapiñ) and the chin (goñpii) with her finger. Finally, she would tickle the child's chest making her laugh gleefully.

Apart from yapiñ and yaru hullo, tiipe is another form of body arts, practiced by the Apatanis. It was a painful and bloody process as the soot had to be stuck into the skin with thorns. Some children have said to have looked forward to the occasion when their face will be tattooed, but most understandably dreaded it.

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