Maturity Customs and Beliefs.
If we differentiate as we ought the practice of tattooing (i.e. of decorating the person with punctured designs filled with pigment) from the various forms of scarification and raised cicatrices or keloids, we shall feel a considerable measure of doubt as to the extent to which any form of tattooing, properly so called, exists among the tribes of the Malay Peninsula. It is true that several writers of some authority employ (loosely, as I think) the word atattooinga in speaking of the face-decoration of some of the Semang and Sakai tribes of Perak; and it is true that one of these writers (Miklucho-Maclay) even describes the operation as being performed with a needle,1 but in none of these instances, not even in the latter, is the modus operandi described, and in default of evidence of this kind, we can only say that there is no adequate statement of tattooing as known to these tribes.2 Of the practice of skin-scarification, on the other hand, as well as of face-painting, there is abundant evidence, and, unless the contrary fact can be proved, it is safest to suppose that most of the writers mentioned above
1 J. R. A. S., S. 3., No. 2, p. 214. effect that aamong the Perak Sakai
2 Since penning the above, Mr. tattooing is met with,a though all Leonard Wray has written me to the details as to its form are still wanting.