DECORATIVE ART 251
Kayan women are tatued in complicated serial1 designs over the whole forearm, the backs of the hands, over the whole of the thighs and to below the knees, and on the metatarsal surfaces of the feet. The tatuing of a Kayan girl is a serious operation, not only because of the considerable amount of pain caused, but also on account of the elaborate ceremonial attached to this form of body ornamentation. The process is a long one, lasting sometimes as much as four years, since only a small piece can be done at a sitting, and several long intervals elapse between the various stages of the work. A girl when about ten years old will probably have had her fingers and the upper part
Fig. 65. Fig. 66. Fig. 67.
of her feet tatued, and about a year later her forearms should have been completed; the thighs are partially tatued during the next year, and in the third or fourth year from the commencement, i.e. about puberty, the whole operation should have been accomplished.
A woman endeavours to have her tatu finished before she becomes pregnant, as it is considered immodest to be tatued after she has become a mother. If a woman has a severe illness after any portion of her body has been tatued, the work is not continued for some little time; moreover,
1 We apply the term serial to those designs in which the units of the pattern are repeated, or in which the units follow each other in serial order ; the udoh asu on a Kayan mana s thigh is an isolated design, but the design A n his hands is a serial design.