Durian, more popularly known as Borneo tattooing, is a hand-tapping method of body art that uses two sticks. It was originally developed in Borneo’s ancient tribes and typically depicts things found in nature. Similar to blackwork, designs are thick depictions of leaves, animals, fruits, trees, and branches. Located on the front of the shoulder, Borneo tattooing was seen as a person’s diary and would mark life events such as marriage and having children.
Borneo tattoos on other areas of the body were placed to mean different things. For example, a tattoo around the throat was used as a form of protection, thought to give strength to the skin. It symbolized a warrior or a great Shaman. A crab’s shell depicted on the back was thought to protect a person.
In the 1950s and 1960s, many of Borneo’s people converted to Christianity, and this traditional form of tattooing stopped. It nearly died off until the early 2000s, when journalists and researchers began reporting on Borneo traditions. This caused a new interest in the style of tattooing, and many young people have them today.