When Phejin Konyak was a girl, she'd sit on her grandfather's lap in front of a roaring fireplace, with a pot of black tea simmering. He'd tell her folk tales. She was entranced by the stories — but even more by the jet black tattoos that curved over his eyes, nose, upper lip and chin. His neck, chest and body were filled with geometrical shapes and patterns.
When she went to boarding school at age 4, she began to realize that her grandfather's tattooed body – and indeed, the tattooed bodies of his fellow tribesmen – were quite extraordinary.