The Interesting History of Hawaiian Tattoos…
The well-known history of Hawaiian tattoos has its origin in Polynesian islands being famous for its exotic flowers and virgin beaches. Aside from these natural attractions, Hawaii has a lot more to offer. Many visitors are also interested on its significant culture that is why they want to make a visit on the island.
Another thing is that visitors from the Western culture are extremely fascinated with the Hawaiian tats that have strong appeal to a lot of tat enthusiasts and tat artists. In recent years, Hawaiian tat designs ranging from tribal arm tattoos and leg bands to images of exotic flowers were most popular.
You’ll be pleased to know that this body art carries a long, rich history, and in fact, Polynesia and Hawaii are 2 of the most influential origins of tats universally based on the history of Hawaiian tattoos. Just like the natives of Hawaii, Hawaiian tats have their roots from Polynesia. For your awareness, the term “tattoo” came from the word “tatau” in Samoan, Tongan and Tahitian languages.
Upon the migration of the early Hawaiians to the beautiful place of Hawaii, they used the term “kakau” to denote body art. The Hawaiian tattooing practice was closely associated with the ancient laws and traditions of the land. But when the Europeans arrived in the 1800s, they had a strong influence on the land that led to the deterioration of the Hawaiian traditional values.
Because of this, the importance of tattoos has diminished as indicated in the history of Hawaiian tattoos. Natural instruments like sharp pines taken from a big fish, tortoiseshell or carved bone, bird’s beaks and claws, as well as Hawaiian tat needles were used in the traditional tattooing process. The tool was made by grouping some of these needles, and attached them to a handle made of wood.
Natural extracts were used as ink for the needles, then, they were placed on the skin for puncturing with the use of a mallet, having the pigment deposited below the surface. With continuous tapping during the tattooing process, the term “tatau” was adopted from the sound coming from it.
Based on a tale from the history of Hawaiian tattoos, a common ink used in tattooing came from a mixture of ashes from burnt candlenut and juices extracted from sugar canes and coconuts. For the ancient people of Hawaii, tats were recognized with great social and spiritual significance.
During those times, this body art was performed with sacred rituals, and only the “kahuna” or the tattooing expert, along with the spiritual elders holding great power could perform them. Hawaiian tats were believed to possess the power to identify an individual’s rank or position in the community.
Aside from this, it was also said that these tats protected the wearer from evil forces. In fact, some tats had powers inherent on them according to their spiritual belief. Today, several tribal tats may have their patterns taken from the ancient Hawaiian tat designs with natural shapes such as waves, crescents, triangles and squares.
Based on history of Hawaiian tattoos, tats were not only worn by the wealthy class, but also by the slaves with full facial tats.
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