19thC Burmese Bronze Tattoo Pen EUO126

From Burma, this antique bronze tattoo pen comprises three parts; a sharp stylus with lengthwise slits for puncturing the skin and releasing the pigment, a long centre tube, and a weight at the top cast with an effigy. This weighted tattoo pen is a genuine relic from Mandalay. It is rare to come across genuine tattoo pens today, while modern replicas are common. The stylus, stem and weight are over 100 years old.  It has been mounted on a museum quality stand for display.

“In pre-colonial times in Burma, being tattooed was nearly as important to young men as serving as a novice in a Buddhist temple. Virtually every young man from prince of the realm to village farm boy delighted in being adorned from waist to knee with artistic bluish-black effigies of powerful agile creatures such as carts, tigers, monkeys and birds surrounded by flowery Burmese script. The tattoos were essentially talismans and added to male charisma as well as offering protection in battle and from evil spirits.

Tattooing was performed by an itinerant tattoo master who normally traveled from village to village. The best tattoo artists were often Shan. The design was pricked into the skin using a bronze tattooing implement such as this. The person receiving the tattoo was thought to receive some of the powers of this animal such as agility. The most prevalent forms were a monkey, an ogre and human.” Burmese Crafts: Past & Present Sylvia Fraser-Lu

Length: 32.5cm, 12.8 in (not including stand)
Weight: 88g / 3.1 oz
Material: bronze / brass
Period: 19th century
Provenance: Burmese Antique Dealer

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