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Inside the Middle East View All. Fading tradition of female facial tattoos in Middle East and North Africa. As a young girl, Yumna Al-Arashi would look with fascination upon the dots, lines and symbols that graced her Yemeni great-grandmother's face.
When autocomplete results are available use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Touch device users, explore by touch or with swipe gestures. Log in. Sign up. Female face tattoos. Collection by Philanie Jooste. Similar ideas popular now.
The art of tattooing is ancient one and dates back to the pre-Islamic era. In a region where tattoos are now largely taboo, many people are curious as to why Bedouin women wear them so boldly across their faces and what they really symbolise. The art has faced a huge decline from the s onwards, and nowadays it is rare to see the striking face of a tattooed Bedouin woman in Jordan and the Middle East. Although Bedouin women tattooed themselves all over their bodies — wrists, ankles, breasts, thighs — facial tattoos were the most significant as they were visible to the public. Tattoos were most commonly located on several significant spots on the face: dots or symbols above or between the eyebrows, dots on the nose, beauty spots on the cheek and lines and symbols below the lip and on the chin. Tattoos traditionally symbolised protection in battles and wars as well as from spirits and the evil eye. In some areas, tattoos were also used for medical purposes; many believed that a combination of dots on the side of the head or above the eyes would heal aches and pains and prevent disease. Many great and revered poets from the pre-Islamic era used imagery of tattoos in their poetry as a strong symbol of beauty.