August 26, 2007

Tattooed Polynesian Guy at Pasifika

Polynesian tattoo
Polynesian Tattoo
Tattooing is a traditional art form in Polynesian culture that was a mark of rank and warriorhood. Tattooing was an incredibly painful and drawn-out process in which the skin was actually chiseled! In pre-European days, the ends of pointed sticks were used to carve the flesh and rub ashes and charcoal into the wounds. Once the European settlers arrived, the sticks were abandoned in favor of actual chisels. And people complain today about how much it hurts! (More here about the origins of tattooing in the South Pacific and the art of Charles F Goldie, an early New Zealand artist who painted portraits of Maori with traditional tattooing, including ta moko, the face tattoo).

This photo was taken at the Pasifika Polynesian festival in Auckland, March 2007.

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