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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tattoos: Philippine Ancestral Calligraphy

Centuries after being nearly eradicated by the Spanish colonizers, Philippine revives ancient calligraphy tattooed on the skin of young people who claim the writing of his ancestors as patriotic symbol of their tribal roots.

Tattoos have become the ideal medium to preserve the original alphabet or alibata Baybayin, which was used on the island of Luzon more than 300 years before any European had reached the archipelago.

Given the unwillingness of academics and institutions, this script comes to life in pre-Hispanic Philippines through the modern chisel tattoo teachers, proud of being "saviors" from the cultural legacy of their ancestors.

"I can not help but feel something special when a client asks me a picture of Baybayin" says Joe Saliendra, who owns a tattoo parlor in Manila specializing in tribal designs.


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