The Tattooed Indonesian Tribe With Sharp Teeth And Skull Home Decor

Xavier in Body Modifications

The Mentawai tribe of Sumatra has a penchant for sharp teeth, skulls and badass tattoos. This tattooed Indonesian tribe is amazing!

Shedding light to the Mentawai way of living is Muhammad Fauzy Chaniagom, a 19-year-old photographer who had the opportunity to spend four days in West Sumatra, Indonesia the previous month.

Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribe
Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribe
Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribal woman
Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribal woman

The Mentawai tribe of Sumatra are a semi-nomadic group of people in the Mentawai Islands. Pretty much like some of you here, they have a penchant for tattoos and skull ornaments. Oh, and they also believe that sharpened teeth are the hottest things on the fairer sex.

Okay, what's with teeth sharpening which makes their teeth resemble that of a crocodile's? Well, in their culture, that's what beauty looks like. It's not something we question, only be curious about. And like most body modifications, this one's just as irreversible.

Recent from Body Modifications

WORLDWIDE BBC / YOUTUBE
WORLDWIDE BBC / YOUTUBE

30 Jun 2001, Sumatra, Indonesia, Tooth filing, or Pasi Piat, is a beauty tradition and is practiced from adolescence. Due to pressure from the government, this tradition is slowly losing its importance.

WORLDWIDE BBC / YOUTUBE
WORLDWIDE BBC / YOUTUBE

No wonder they'd go through hours of agony under the chisel, with no anaesthetics whatsoever. It's the same thing we do in the Westernized world—suffering for beauty. Only we have Tylenol and Vicodin.

BBC WORLDWIDE / YOUTUBE
BBC WORLDWIDE / YOUTUBE

Going over their tattoos, fortunately, their body art don't stand for every rival's head they've obtained as far as I know. Like their sharpened teeth, their tattoos are decorative as well. They use the hand tap method; catching a fever for a few days after having their tattoos done is perfectly normal.

SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA

And yet, this only goes to show how the perception of beauty is very subjective. There's no such thing as a universal standard of beauty. I doubt these women are actually competing over who lost the most weight the past month, either.

SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
animal skulls
animal skulls

Oh, and have you seen their huts (called the uma)? Four words: bad ass as f-ck. Luckily, they don't hang human skulls in their humble abodes. But still, your faux buffalo skulls back home still won't compare to these.

Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribal woman smoking
Mentawai tattooed indonesian tribal woman smoking
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA
SIJORI IMAGES / BARCROFT INDIA

They also reported how the Mentawai tribe responds to modernization; how most of them weren't keen on modern civilization and would rather stick to their traditional ways, especially their sharpened teeth and tattoos. I actually see this as something positive. We don't have to force down whatever we think is normal to every living person on earth, because not everything that suits you may suit them. Simply coexist.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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