Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Samoan Material Culture

The Operation

The Operation

Only two instruments are used; the narrowest au fa'atala, and one of the medium au songi for making lines. The very wide au tapulu is never used.

The first motif tattooed is the lozenge-shaped malu at the back of the knee. The patient lies first on her face to expose the back of the leg and then on her back to expose the external surface of the thigh. (See figure 338.)

The anterior, internal, and external vertical rows having been formed with diagonals between them, the patient is turned over on her face again and the back surfaces of the thigh and knee (alo-i-vae) are dealt with. The fusi upper belt is the last part tattooed.

The artist may vary the general routine order to suit himself.

The hands. Both men and women tattoo the hands. A band of some motif is run round the wrist and forms the fusi (belt). On the dorsum of the hands and the fingers, dots, stars, tern, bent knees, and other motifs may be distributed at the artist's taste.

Scarring. Scars were burnt on the arms or chest to form ornamentation. A lighted dry coconut midrib or a piece of lighted bark cloth were used. The scars were also made as a sign of mourning. Young children often do it out of bravado to show how they can stand pain.