Polynesian symbolism, tattoos from the southsea and native marquesian culture

 polynesian tattoo, tattoo designs, meanings and their origin



Tuhuna  |  Reasons  |  Tools  |  Significance  


Art of tattoo

The first tattoo

The first tattoo, young teens got, was usually at the age of 12 up to 15. The date depended on the chiefís sonís age, because his peergroup was tattooed together with him. Thatís why these dates where the possibility for other natives of the village to get or to complete their tattoos. Sons of the chief together with their peers are called Kaori (a bunch of bachelors), who have got a special social status.
When there where these special dates the tuhuna was paid by the chief otherwise the tuhuna had to be paid by the natives themselves. Thatís the reason why only rich villagers had got tattoos, because they were the only ones, who could afford one. Poorer villagers could only afford tuhunas without routine so they were used as a kind of tattootraining .



Insignias and privileges

After tattooing was commenced new ornaments where added in different intervals. This process can last up to 35-40 years, until the whole body is tattooed. The most extensive tattoos belonged to the chiefs, who where accepted most in Polynesian society. Sometimes the body was that full of ornaments, so that there was no more natural skin to see. Often tattoos where added shortly after fights or wars as a kind of souvenir or symbol for fame.
But this distinction of position and fame changed. Weath and vanity became the main factors, because no one was excluded from the tuhunaís work if he could pay him. By the way tattooed persons had got a special privilege, which women, children and not tattooed persons had not: They were allowed to eat humanflesh.









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Polynesian tatou, lots of examples and explanations