Survival on the Skin: Communicating, Continuity and Preservation of the Iban Tattoo
Keywords:continuity, cultural identity, Iban tattoo, preservation
Tattoo has been an integral part of the cultural identity of Iban in Sarawak. Every stroke, line and design of the tattoo communicate meaning for the Ibans, which they relate to mystical power to protect them. Jumpo and Bebit (2019) ascertained that these tattoos denote strength, achievement, spiritualism and a deep sense of aesthetic, all at once. With the pervasiveness of technology and globalization, tattoo has now become a piece of modern art on the skin sans the history and meaning to these motifs. Since 1960s, researchers continue to express concerns on Iban tattoo preservation, despite being skeptical on the authenticity of the Iban tattoo. Using a qualitative method, it determines the concepts and variables that could describe and support the phenomenon. Informants to the in-depth interview were selected using the purposive, non-probability sampling. It is hoped that this paper in progress will become primarily significant to the Iban community as it explores the ways the Iban intend to communicate its cultural identity to the younger generation; and at the same time, identifies the practices that ensure the continuity and preservation of its cultural heritage.
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