Thursday, February 4, 2021

Why did Apatanis practiced TATTOOING and NOSE-PLUGS (TIIPEY-YAPING)?

Photo  credit: Incredible Apatani valley

Why did Apatani tribe practiced TATTOOING and NOSE-PLUGS (TWPEY/TIIPEY-YAPIN)?
Whenever such question is asked to anyone of us being an Apatani, it becomes difficult to answer  instantly.  Absence of any written record makes it more tough  to cite the actual reason for the practice of tattooing (by both men and women in past) and nose-plugs( or nose plates by women) . Mythological beliefs in connection to facial arts pracaticed by Apatani people is as follow:
This is a verse of Ami Niido from YORDA AYU –which is specially held during MURUNG festival. YORDA AYU is a form of MIJI-MIGUN dated from IIPYO-LEMBA and MUDO-LEMBA.
Kui kuli mi bije senyo la,
Kui kupe mi tiipe lenyo la,
Kui kuting mi ruting hugila,
Kuji pu mi byigo kuji pa,
Kusang pu mi pingang kussang pa,
Popi popa mi dimang dimpa pa,
Byundo Tabyung mi nyinding pa,
Radotiira mi map pa hempo la,
Talu myopu mi pyunyo la,
Talo myokha mi khenyo la.
Mudo Amyo poro ho,
Jindo Tajing mi pamung murii do,hetea terii do.
(shared by Mr. DANI TASSER in whatsapp group).
Here “Kui kupe mi tiipe lenyo la” reveals that TIIPE (Tattoo) was practiced by TANIIs from time immemorial.
This excerpt taken from “Silver Jubilee Dree Souvenir, 2000” give details about Mythological beliefs on practice of tattooing amongst Apatani. The softcopy version was provided by Respected Mr. GYATI RANA.
By Prof. PURA TADO, Dept. of Political Science Arunachal University, Now Rajiv Gandhi University.
Once upon a time there was a very beautiful lady called Ami Niidon Biinyi. She was very beautiful and was expert in all trades which a lady was expected to know. She was waiting for someone to propose her for marriage. Unfortunately for her, time passed by and no one came forward to propose her. She was growing older day by day yet no one was ready to marry her. Along with her growing age she would lose her capacity to be a mother. This thought made her sleepless and made her older. She could not bear her predicament anymore and one day decided to ask God to solve her problem. Accordingly she asked God to tell her ways by which she could regain her lost youth and beautiful once again so she could attract somebody to marry her. “In order to regain your youth and beauty and capacity to be mother, you must tattoo your face and to have lot of poultry and cattle to support you, you must wear Nose plug (Yaping hulo), Ear plug (Yaru Hukho) and rutting yarang (Large flat brass ring)” God told and advice her.
As per direction of the God, Ami Niido Biinyi tattooed her face, put on nose plugs, wore Ruting Yarang, Lo!! And behold she became very young again and very beautiful to look at. Her beauty attracted Miido Jindo Tajing towards her and he proposed to marry Ami niido Biinyi. She accepted the marriage proposal of Jindo Tazing and they married and lived happily ever. Their marriage results in birth of Khalos. They also had lot of poultry and cattle. The Birds and animals in the jungle were their poultry and cattle.When Pinsang Gyut, one among the Khalos, was born he saw some design on the pine Tree. He wanted these design to be with him and copied it from Pine Tree. Thus Apatani/ Tanii copied Tattoing from Pinsang Gyut and the tattooing became part of Tanii culture. However, the culture of tattooing themselves among Apa Taniis have been given up completely since last twenty five years years back. Along with it culture of wearing ear, nose plug and Ruting Yarang has also disappeared.
From the above mythological story we find that tattooing was adopted by Ami Niido Biinyi in order to restore her youth, beauty and fertility. As a result of tattooing herself she regained her beauty, youth and become mother of all the khalos. Khalos are clans inhabiting various areas in the Earth. The Apatani being small in number compared to other communities surrounding them even to-day must have been very less in number in ancient time. Their strong urge to increase their population for self preservation must have made them copy the tattooing of Ami Niido Biinyi to be fertile fecund as her .In Order to support the increased population and their needs, one needs more livestock’s indeed. To achieves this goal wearing of big nose plugs and Ruting Yarang was encouraged amongst the ladies of Apatani. And it is logical, household economy in Apatani communication is managed by the ladies.
The designs of the tattoos have been copied by the Pinsang Gyute from Pine tree. Pine Tree are plenty in the Tanii Land – Ziro. Indeed, there are designs to be found in a pine Tree both externally as well as internally. Moreover, in Festivals related to fertility and prosperity like Murung, Subu and Myoko, Pine wood alone is used in ritual even to-day.
Thus, this mythological story throws light on some aspects of the Apatani culture and life. It also leads us to some aspect of Apatani/Tanii history and ambience surrounding it in ancient time. In short, the Apatani used tattoos, ear and nose plugs and Ruting Yarang to buttress their psychological needs to face the inhospitable environments surrounding them in early days. And indeed, it has done well in overcoming adverse environment and survives till date.
Note: This article is based on an interview the author had with Sri Takhe Piilo, a priest from Hangu (or Hong) on 11th May 1998. The inferences are that of author.
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To conclude this post, @savetanii believes that tattooing and nose plugs have been practiced in past for the purpose of #BEAUTIFICATION, #FERTILITY and mark of arrival of #PUBERTY.
Tattoos also played role of mark identity one being #Apatani. It was considered as beautification not as disfigurement as perceived.
#TSD #AYA #AWAZ and other #NGOs based at Ziro needs to generate common tourist brochure about #TIIPEY_YAPIÑ (Facial arts practiced by older generation Apatani) for the visitors of #APATANI_PLATEAU.

   NOTE: PRACTICE OF FACIAL ARTS PRACTICED BY APATANI HAS BEEN COMPLETELY BANNED SINCE EARLY 1970S. Apatani people born after 1970s do not practices facial tattoos.


vbe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbe said...

agar aap nokri pana chahte hain to oppojobs ko check karen

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