Traditionally, both Matses men and women had facial tattoos. Some even had
tattoos on their chest or arms. To make the tattoos, they mixed the soot
from burning copal
with the juice of genipap
to make a black ink. The black ink was used to make tattoos by pricking with
a palm thorn. The tattoos on their faces are said to be used in order to
signify to others that the Matses are fearsome. At one time, nearly all the
indigenous people of the Amazon had facial tattoos that identified their
particular tribe. This was particularly true in tribes of Panoan stock from
the Western Amazon.
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Text © 2007
Matses.info, Photos © 2007, Bjorn Svensson, all rights reserved, Tattoos.