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Paiwan centenarian with hand tattoo passes away

Paiwan centenarian with hand tattoo passes away

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) An elderly woman of the Paiwan tribe known for the colorful tattoo on the back of her hand that camouflaged an unusual love story passed away in Taitung County Friday morning at the age of 102. Wen Chin-niao (???), often lovingly called VuVu (grandma) by other Paiwan members, had a tattoo that extended from her knuckles to her wrist and arm, symbolizing wealth, chastity and noble status.
But in fact, Wen was born into a commoner family, and was eventually sent to the tribal chief's home to take care of two princesses. When she was 18, she met another tribal leader and fell in love with him, but their love was met with opposition because of her status as a commoner. VuVu's original employer then adopted her as a stepdaughter, making her the eldest daughter of the family, which gave her the right to succeed the leader after he passed away. VuVu's newfound position made it possible for her to be accorded noble status and have her hands tattooed to signal her nobility and chastity, and the star-crossed lovers were happily married not long afterwards. According to the old tradition of the Paiwan tribe, only chaste girls could be tattooed before adulthood. Once they went through the ritual, women could engage in all kinds of social activities. Girls also endured the pain of getting the tattoo because it signaled they could endure hardship after marriage. With Wen's passing, only one woman in the Paiwan tribe with a similar hand tattoo remains. There were 70,331 indigenous Paiwan people in 2000, approximately 17.7% of Taiwan's total indigenous population, making them the third-largest tribal group. (By Tyson Lu and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-25 00:25 GMT+08:00