A tattooed woman from the tribe [Photo: Courtesy]

These are some of the last tribeswomen to have their faces decorated with tattoos in an age-old tradition now considered barbaric.

For centuries Chin women in a remote mountain town in Myanmar were forced to wear large earrings and have their faces marked with intricate patterns.

One of the theories is it was intended to make women look unattractive to prevent them from being kidnapped or becoming a concubine under the rule of the Burmese king.

But the women-only tradition is dying out as a result of a ban by Myanmar's government, which believes it to be cruel.

With a variety of styles and designs the detailed markings on female faces in the town of Mindat have a deep rooted cultural significance to the largely Christian community.

Up until the 1960's girls born into the varying Chin tribes which are the Munn, Dai and Mkang were expected to get their faces tattooed between the ages of 12 and 14.

Now in the remote town only the elderly women have the traditional tattoos, as the custom is increasingly seen as outdated by the younger generations.

Photographer and cyber security expert, Teh Han Lin took the intimate pictures of the woman and day-to-day life in the town on a recent trip to Myanmar.

He said: "When I planned to visit Myanmar I was researching about tribes there and I found out about the Chin tribe.

"There were mixed feelings towards the ban [on the tradition]. Some were welcoming of the ban and some were against it.

"For those who were against it they were still practicing the face tattoos."

Both the Mkang and Dai have similar designs for the tattoos, which includes squares filled in with tiny dots, the women from the Dai sub-group tend to go for a dark blue whereas Mkang women go for a more blue-green colour.

A tattooed woman from the tribe [Photo: Courtesy]

Teh Han said: "The Munn's tattoo style involves straight lines from the forehead to neck with circles between the straight lines and small dots on the forehead and chin. The colour is lighter and mainly black."

During his time spent with the tribe they shared the secret behind how they managed to make such intricate designs with very crude instruments.

He said: "The tattoos are done using thorns with a mixture of ox bile, plants and animal fat.

"The process is extremely painful, especially the tender eyelid area and it normally takes one day to finish, it can be extended to two days depending on the complexity.

"The recovery itself may take at least two weeks."