Facing the Pacific: Traditional Samoan tattooing of the Pe'a, body tattoo, is an ordeal that is not lightly undergone. Some art experts have made a comparison between the distinctive Samoan tattoo patterns to other artforms including designs on tapa cloth and Lapita pottery. The word tatau has many meanings in Samoa. The ink colour is black.
European beachcombers and runaway sailors were the first non-Polynesians to receive the pe'a during the early s; among the earliest non-Polynesians to receive the pe'a was an American named Mickey Knight, as well as a handful of Europeans and Americans who had jumped ship, were abandoned, or visited Samoa. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sailor and Beachcomber. Family members of the person getting the tattoo are often in attendance at a respectful distance to provide words of encouragement, sometimes through song. It can take many weeks to complete, is very painful and used to be a necessary prerequisite to receiving a Fa'amatai title; this however is no longer the case.
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