November 10, 2008

Tattoo researcher preserves history, culture

Posted: November 10, 2008

Tattoos may be all the rage in modern culture, but ironically, traditional indigenous tattooing practices are waning. Working hard at documenting the history and meaning behind these fading customs is archaeologist and cultural anthropologist Lars Krutak. A doctoral student in Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Krutak has served as the anthropological consultant on National Geographic documentaries, was the co-winner of the 2003 American Book Award in Literature and is currently the technical advisor for a major tattoo Web site.

Adding to his list of unique accomplishments, Krutak is preparing to pen the first book to detail the Kalinga Batok, a more than 1,000-year-old Philippine practice that bridges tattoo ritual and nature in what he deems a "show of Kalinga artistic ability, cultural pride and status." Krutak plans to include interviews with and photographs of all living Kalinga tattooed elders in the bilingual Kalinga and English book. Titled "Voices of the Ancestors: The Living Tradition of Kalinga Batok," the tome is designed to preserve cultural knowledge for future Kalinga generations and will present a little-known ancient practice to the outside world. In addition, Krutak recently worked with the sole surviving Kalinga tattooist to produce a Discovery Channel documentary that is slated to air in January 2009.

Article source:
Philippine Information Agency


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