"People Of The Spirit World"
Kutia Kondh women are marked with beautiful geometric facial tattoos. It is said that these identifying marks ensure that they will recognize each other in the spirit world. As with many tribal groups, women among the Kondh are respected and are virtually on an equal footing with men, even though Kondh society is patriarchal. Divorce is allowed, as is widow remarriage. Even with arranged marriages, both parties must give their consent. Kondh girls are tattooed on their face at 10 years of age—if they do not submit to this, they are viewed as unsuitable for marriage. Although child marriage was common among some Kondh groups, real gender issues are to be found among plains groups that have come into close contact with their Hindu neighbors and adopted many of their customs, such as demanding dowries at the time of marriage.
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved