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Traditional Borneo Tattoos

Borneo is one of the few places in the world where traditional tribal tattooing is still practiced today just as it has been for thousands of years. Instead of the modern electric tattoo machine, the Dayak tribes use two sticks (picture below). One stick has needles attached to it while the other acts like a mallet. While the artist is tattooing, there is always an assistant that helps stretch the skin.

A good majority if not all Borneo tattoo designs are inspired by the natural surroundings of this beautiful island. Their style of tattooing has been practiced for over 50,000 years!


  1. The tribal people of Papua New Guinea indulge in this practise too but on their faces. For both girls and boys, it is the coming of age, kinda like male circumcision in some societies. Last I heard the gang members in Maori culture in New Zealand is reverting back to this practise to show others what it takes to be a real man.  This is really some scary shit!

  2. Hi Shaz, I read up a little of the Papua New Guinea tattoos not long ago. Their designs are totally different and yeah, the women seems to have more tattoos than the men. Facial tattoos have got to hurt!

    Hmm, what are the Maori gang members doing again? Tattooing or circumcision?


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