The Value of Polynesian Tahitian Tattoos for the Tahitians…
Tattoos that include Tahitian tattoos were part of many cultures and were recorded in history. The term tattoo is taken from the Polynesian word “tatu”, meaning to mark an object. Tattoo designs for the Tahitians signify title and rank in the community. You can find what a person is based on the kind of tattoo that he wears on his body either he is a priest or a warrior.
In the ancient culture of Tahiti, women got their tats when they have already reached the stage of puberty. A mark of tattoo is engraved on their buttocks, meaning to say that the woman is already prepared for marriage. If a young girl has no tattoo yet on her body, it means that she is restricted from eating anywhere except in her own house.
In the case of the priests, warriors and chiefs, their bodies get tattooed with Tahitian tattoos, but their faces were left without any markings. One exceptional aspect among the Tahitians is that both genders were treated equally, and in this case, even if you’re a woman, you could be chosen as a chief.
Just like in every culture and origin, tats signify something important. It is a way to relate ideas and at times, the spirituality of an individual was also touched. It is one way to express yourself through body art, while for others, it was an effective means of communication without the necessity of saying anything.
Tahitian tattoos served as a language for the ancient tribes. They indicated a significant thing about their history, the origin of their tribe, and their triumphs in the battlefront. Even today, tattoos still serve as a communication tool, but at the same time, a fashionable ornament on the body of modern people.
These tats are divided into 2 categories; namely, the “Enata” and the “Etua”. In the case of the Enata, these tat designs represent an individual’s origin, his work, social rank and the origin of his tribe. If one is a farmer for example, then, his tat would portray something about his work in the field.
Then, a corresponding symbol should be incorporated in his Tahitian tattoos which would protect him from evil spirits, along with his harvests. Referring to the Etua, usually, it involves a mysterious and magical symbolism showing a deep devotion to their gods. This tat symbol even asks the gods to protect them from bad spirits, and make them safe at all times.
In some ways, it is a mode of worshipping or praising their gods. In other meanings, it is a way of honoring other tribes or people. Tahitian tattooing was preserved to-date; in fact, you can still find many people who are expert in designing traditional Tahitian tats. They utilize a sharpened comb which was tightly tied to a small handle made of wood.
The whole procedure is performed by resting the brush over the skin and tapping it with the use of another stick in order to penetrate the skin deeply. This is how the ink is embedded on the skin, while a “tau tau” sound is created by the tapping motion. In this process of tattooing the Tahitian tattoos, the word “tatau” came from.
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