In the distant Dulong River, the mysterious tattooed woman

This article is reproduced from: People’s Liberation Army Daily

Dulongjiang Township is located in the southwestern border of Yunnan, where the Dulong people, who are known as “the people of ancient times” in historical books, live here. Due to the long-term closed environment, it was once known as “the last secret place in Yunnan”.

The Dulong nationality’s “tattooed girl” is a unique local custom, and there are many stories circulating locally. Before getting married, Dulong women will have tattoos to varying degrees. Now in Dulongjiang Township, Yunnan, the gathering place of the Dulong people, there are not many women with tattoos who are still alive. Among them, the oldest is over a hundred years old. , the youngest is over 60 years old.

Stationed in the Dulongjiang area, the officers and soldiers of a certain company of the Army in the Southern Theater Command established a deep friendship between the army and the people with the tattooed women in the village.

Every time they patrol the mountains near Dulongjiang Township, and on the way back, officers and soldiers will enter the village to visit them. Miao Yongchun, the first sergeant of the company, recalled that during a patrol more than 10 years ago, he accidentally stepped on a poisonous snake in the grass and was bitten on his calf.

At that time, there was no antivenom in the Dulongjiang Township Hospital. When it was in crisis, it was a folk remedy passed down by the people of the Dulong ethnic group. She found herbs to detoxify him and saved his life. life.

The border guard officers and soldiers are in difficult defense conditions. Sometimes the patrolling encounters rain and snow, and the Dulong people will act as guides for them.

That year, Sergeant Wang Ling led a team up the mountain to prepare to zip across the river, when there was a sudden lightning and thunder in the sky, and Wang Ling had to give the order to go down the mountain. The old people from the villages of Dulongjiang went up the mountain to chop firewood, and when they encountered patrol officers and soldiers, they let them go home and make a fire.

In Laobajia, he told the officers and soldiers that “pattern face” was called “Baktu” in Dulong language.

Why do Dulong women get tattoos? Laoba explained: “Turning face” is a way for the Dulong people to pursue beauty, and the geometric pattern is the auspicious totem of the Dulong people. The ancestors of the Dulong tribe believed that after a person dies, the soul must go to the place where the ancestors lived, and only those who have tattoos can find the “way home”.

Wang Ling said that some scholars have analyzed that the tattoo pattern is a symbol of the major families of the Dulong people; some villagers said that in the past, in order to avoid the threat of being forced into slavery by the Tibetan chieftains, the Dulong women chose Textured surface.

The custom of the Dulong people’s tattoos has been recorded as early as in the “New Book of Tang” and “Nanzhao Unofficial History”. During the period of the Republic of China, there is a record in a book “Reconnaissance of the Northern Border of Yunnan” as follows: In the upper reaches of the Dulong River, the woman’s head, face, nose, cheeks, upper and lower lip are tattooed with patterns, and the grass juice and pot smoke are rubbed into the skin and flesh until it becomes black, and it is not washed. go.

The Dulong people live in deep mountains and dense forests. Although the local traffic has been greatly improved after liberation, it still takes a lot of time for the people to go out to see a doctor.

In order to solve the difficulty of seeing a doctor for the Dulong people, officers and soldiers often use their rest time to bring them medicines. Once, Tian Gai, the then company doctor, went out on patrol with the team. On the way, the officers and soldiers encountered a young man from the Dulong tribe who came eagerly for help.

It turns out that the boy’s home is in Xianjiudang Village, Dulongjiang Township, and he is the son of Li Xiuhua, an old woman with tattoos. Li Xiuhua suffered from a herniated intervertebral disc for a long time. Unfortunately, she fell in those days and couldn’t get out of bed because of the pain. She needed to go to the township hospital as soon as possible.

Tian Ii went into the old man’s house and checked it carefully. He made an agreement with the old man to bring his comrades back the next day and carry the old man to the township hospital for examination and treatment. Later, with the help of officers and soldiers, the old man received timely treatment.

The story of Li Xiuhua’s recovery soon spread in Dulongjiang Township. Since then, the villagers have more trust in the border guards.

After that, every time we patrolled and passed the village, the villagers affectionately called them “Ma Meng” (meaning relatives in Dulong language), and greeted the officers and soldiers. “Thanks to my relatives, the People’s Liberation Army, for saving my mother.” The young man said excitedly with tears in his eyes.

The tattooed woman is an important symbol of the Dulong culture and a precious historical and cultural heritage in the Dulong River area. In order to continue the vitality of this cultural symbol, the company printed the phone number of the duty room, the personal number of the military doctor and the company chief officer into a military-civilian contact card, and distributed them to the villagers one by one.

“The border guards regularly organize to send doctors and medicines to our homes, as well as haircuts, grooming, and cleaning for us…” said Kendi, a tattooed woman who lives in Kongdang Village, “the company officers and soldiers often Come visit us, they are our forever family.”