Burmese Tattoo handle (Hnitkwasok)

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Tattoo Tools:

This is a very rare type of tattoo counter balance. This tool was most likely used with a hollow bamboo or reed tube and the tripod shape held the counter balance in place with friction as it was pushed down into the tube.

The animal figure at the top represents a beast of burden. Myanmar is an agricultural country and farmers have long raised animals such as cattle, horses and buffalos for farming. Therefore cattle have become one of the oldest friends and coworkers of Myanmar people.

18th century

Burmese tattoos are traditional tattoos that have been practiced in Myanmar for centuries by various ethnic groups, including the Bamar, Shan, and Karen. Tattooing was a distinguishing cultural marker and a symbol of strength, courage and intimidation. These tattoos are also believed to have magical powers and are often used as protection against evil spirits or for good luck. The Hnitkwasok tattoo tool consists of a needle, tube, and counter weight or handle.