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Photographer documents disappearing face tattoos of Myanmar's Chin women

Traditional practice is often misunderstood by Western observers who regard them as ugly

A Laytu Chin woman in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state: German photographer Jens Uwe Parkitny has been documenting the facial tattoos of ethnic Chin women since 2001. (Photo by Jens Uwe Parkitny)

BANGKOK --- The woman's eyes are closed. She looks content, perhaps there is a hint of a smile playing around her lips. There is a blue circle with a cross in its center on her forehead from which strong dark lines emanate across her entire face, including her eyelids, like a rising sun.

This is a strong face, a face filled with identity, pride and beauty. She is Chin, an ethnic minority living in northwestern Myanmar, and she is one of the last women of her culture to have her face tattooed.

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