The Chin, or Zomi, are a Tibeto - Burmese people who inhabit the great mountain chain running up western Burma into Mizoram in north-east India. In previous centuries, the difficult terrain meant that there was a little communication between villages.
More than forty sub-groups, many distinguished by their unique facial tattoos and costumes, have been identified among the 1.5 million Chins in Burma. According to folklore, the custom of tattooing originated almost a thousand years ago, after Burmese men found the Chin women so attractive that they would capture them in slave raids. In their fear, the women began to tattoo their faces – both to make themselves look unattractive, and to ensure that Chin men would be able to identify them if they were carried off.