Samoan Material Culture
The wide bands and series of fine parallel lines (aso laitiiti) are not used. The design consists of the individual motifs that were used with men for enhancing between the bands and filling in the larger areas without bands. These motives are arranged in horizontal, vertical, and oblique rows.
Of the motifs used with men, the centipede, caterpillar, tern, and the bent knee are much in vogue. The full design of a woman's tattooing was obtained for me by E. Stehlin, Jr., of Savaii and the names of the motifs were given by the artist. The artist was young and confident in his knowledge. It is thus interesting to note that the names given by him are not quite reliable page 657and illustrate a stage in degeneration when old motifs are confused with, and replaced by, modern introductions. (See figure 337.)
Figure 337.—Women's tattooing motifs. a, b, and c, The centipede:
three forms of the centipede motifs are shown, each having the wide body formed by two parallel lines. The ends are formed by laterally directed "bent knees." In (a) the centipede motif is quite obvious; in b, the side legs are omitted; in c, the side legs are omitted and the body is so short that it would not be recognized as the centipede motive if the previous forms were not known. The young artist had lost the centipede idea for he termed the motives fa'atala (spiked) which holds for the forms (b) and (c) owing to the end oblique projections. In the men's motives fa'atala applies only when the "spikes" are on one side of the line. When the motifs figured are used in a row, the row is called atu fa'atala. d, and e, The caterpillar: the caterpillar (anufe) motif is extensively used. When being tattooed, the parallel limbs running in one direction are first made (d). When the length is completed, the opposite limbs are formed (e). Here again, the confident young artist having applied fa'atala to the centipede motif, had the centipede name of atualoa to spare. He therefore, applied it to the caterpillar motive and called it atualoa when it should have been anufe. f, Small triangles (fa'amuli'ali'ao). The small triangles are occasionally introduced on a line and instead of being likened to a pandanus leaf (fa'atala laupaongo), in women's tattooing they are likened to the apical whorls of the Trochus niloticus and thus called fa'amuli'ali'ao. With men, the term is restricted to the large triangles on the back of the thigh. g-j, A small group where the original tern and bent knee motif have become associated with three Roman letters, M, N, and V. g, The tern (ngongo). The true tern motif persists and is much used, but there is a tendency with the younger artists to cut off the tail and confuse it with the letter M; h, bent knee or pillow legs. The bent knee or pillow legs in the form of single chevrons is much used in rows. The name of vaetuli and vae'ali is being abandoned by the younger school who apply the name of the letter V to it. The name of the letter in Samoan is vi and the old motif thus gets the modern name of fa'avi. i, The letter M (fa'amo). The letter M as a motif is not made like the Roman capital letter with the sides vertical. The motif is formed as in making the zigzag caterpillar motif by making two oblique limbs parallel as on the left of figure (i) and then making the other two obliques in the opposite direction. It is thus the tern motif with the wings but without the mesial projection backwards to form the body and tail. The letter M is called mo in Samoan and the motive becomes fa'amo. j, The letter N (fa'anu) made in the same way with a pair of obliques, united by one limb in the opposite direction. The letter name is nu and the motif becomes fa'anu. The letters M and N have not followed the exact form in the alphabet but have been made with the Samoan use of oblique lines. The influence of modern education is apparent in the contraction of the tern motif into the letter M and this has been followed by the addition of the letter N as a motif. The alphabetical association of ideas has converted the single chevron into the letter V and its old names are being forgotten. If tattooing survives long enough, it will be interesting to note whether the tern motif will disappear altogether and the outer limbs of the letters M and N become vertical. By that time, the motifs will have become thoroughly rationalized as originating altogether from the introduced alphabet. Besides the innovations from the alphabet, some other motifs are used which are best described under their native names. k, The aveau (star fish). Two lines obliquely crossed or four shorter lines radiating obliquely to get the same effect and even radiating at right angles, give three forms of a motif that is likened to a star fish. It is called page 658fa'aaveau, or simply aveau. m, The toluse. Two longer crossed lines forming an upright cross have been figured by Marquardt (20, Taf. X, 1) and another form as an oblique cross (20, Taf. XXII, 1). To these he gave the name of toluse. n, Fa'afetu (like a star). The actual star motif seems to be of more recent development. Marquardt (20, Taf. VIII, 5) gives it with four limbs while Stehlin's informant gave it with four additional points added. This latter form obviously belongs to the same period as the letters of the alphabet. Another form shaped in a square with oblique lines from the angles is an innovation termed also fa'afetu o, 'Alu'alu (jelly-fish). Four crossed lines making eight points, figure frequently in the examples of women's tattooing figured by Marquardt, and the name of 'alu'alu refers to the fringing tentacles of the jelly fish. This motif occupied the site in the older designs now occupied by the more recently elaborated stars. The 'alu'alu motive is quite simple and if old, it forms another example of where an old original motif is being displaced by the more recently introduced star form. p, Malu. The basis of the malu is a lozenge with the long diameter lying horizontally. A number of forms are shown. It may be plain or enhanced internally in a variety of ways including cross hatching or fa'a'upenga. The tern, bent knee, and other motifs to the outer side do not belong strictly to the malu motive itself, but the malu forms a centre from which lines of other smaller motifs radiate.