Kakiniit means tattoo
Tunniit means face tattoo

There is little information on Inuit tattoos and Inuit facial tattoos. The first time I discovered these drawings, it was by watching Atarnajuat. I found these lines beautiful. Mysterious drawings which I didn’t understood the meaning or the purpose.

Some research led me to this very comprehensive article that I invite you to read.

Tattooing is traditionally practiced by Inuit women, and it was mostly women who wear it. Using a needle and a thread soaked in lampblack, the needle and sinew were drawn through the skin: as the needle was inserted and pushed just under the epidermis and trace these delicate lines.

I love these designs to simple motifs, made of lines and dots.

The aspect that interested me is the power, the strength attributed to these tattoos.

Thus, these designs are not only proof of endurance and resistance to pain; they also aim to attract animals that will bring wealth to the family. These drawings were traced during rituals where women imitated, venerated, and trying to attract these animals.

"It is a mistake to think that women are weaker than men in hunting-pursuits," since as a man wanders in vain about the wilderness, searching, women "that sit by the lamp are really strong, for they know how to call the game to the shore*."

Bering Strait Eskimo myths tell that the spirit and life force of the whale is a young woman: "Her home is the inside of the whale, her burning lamp its heart. As the young woman moves in and out of the house doorway, so the giant creature breathes."


* Vladimir Borogas

source: vanishingtattoo