Hunter Gatherer Research

The evidence of proximity

Tattoo practices of the Baka in southeastern Cameroon

Hunter Gatherer Research (2016), 2, (1), 63–95.

Abstract

This article focuses on ‘tele’, the traditional tattoo practice of the Baka hunter-gatherers. an analysis of data collected from 1134 participants from the East Region of cameroon shows that there is little correlation between tele styles and social attributes such as clan, residence, or social position. the extemporaneity of the tele practice in terms of flexibility of design and purpose reflects the nature of egalitarianism among the Baka. tattoo styles are, however, correlated with kinship relations between the tattooist and the recipient of the tattoo. Tele are interpreted as the visual evidence of close individual relations and as a means of fine-tuning co-residence in small groups.

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Author details

Peng, Yujie