Jan 9, Tongan tattoo artist Ni Powell shares his knowledge about the resurgence of the ancient tradition.
The word hono, meaning turtle in Marquesan language, has other meanings which encompass things such as joining and stitching together families and representing the idea of unity. Contact History The advent of Christianity in Tonga witnessed the loss of several indigenous practices such as the practice of tatatau or tattooing.
Spearhead pattern Often, this is stylised as a row of spear-heads, below is one variant. Micah Tiedeman, pictured above, was one of the first two Tongans to wear the traditional tatatau.
Tiki One meaning of the word tiki is figure, so tiki is the name given to human-like figures that usually represent semi-gods as opposed to atua, who usually appear to men under the shape of animals such as lizards.
Additionally, Tongans who could travel and afford the cost would also travel to Samoa to get tattooed. Nearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society was tattooed.
The tattoo artist held a hereditary and by the same vein, a very highly privileged position. Gender-wise, left is usually associated with women and the right to men. A tattooing session typically lasted until dusk or until the men could no longer stand the pain and would resume the following day, unless the inflamed skin needed a few days to heal.
Other themes that go hand in hand with the sting-ray image are adaptation, gracefulness, peacefulness, danger, agility, speed and stealth. The Samoan tattoo ends below the knee, whereas the Tongan tattoo ends just above the knee. His basis was formed around historic observations of the Tongan Tatatau and the experiential knowledge of Tongans themselves.
Click for a larger view. This particular type of tattoo was symbolic of defiance and self confidence in the face of the enemy. Here is a simplified picture of what each part of the body represented in Polynesian tattoo: Although tattooing was outlawed in the s, many chiefs continued to travel to Samoa to get tattooed.
Shown above is a picture of a Tongan Kalia.
Moana Ocean and mana Spiritual strength and energy are two terms that transcend all Polynesian cultures. The process would take months or sometimes years to complete, and tufunga tatatau were paid for their services with traditional goods such as clubs, mats, bark cloth, and other traditional fine arts.
But most importantly, tattooing for islanders was a unique mark signifying their inherent role within the society that raised them.
Lower trunk This area goes from the thighs to the navel. Though some traditions were spared, those that had a direct connection to the old gods, body ornamentation, and open sexual and ritual killing practices were quickly outlawed.
Ocean The stylisations of the ocean can often represent ideas such as life, change and continuity through change. In his accounts, James Cook describes the behavior of the Polynesian people on his journey, which he calls tattaw.
Lower arms and hands From below the elbow, the same word is used to refer both to arm and hand. As the vaka once carried Tongans to far off destinations and served as the medium for manhood explorations, so too does wearing a traditional Ta Vaka symbolize that ancient journey from the past to the present.
All of these tribes are genetically linked to the indigenous peoples from parts of Southeast Asia. Many had stories that they overheard in family discussions and kava circles.The revival of the art and practice of tattooing, particularly in Tonga, in recent years is predominantly referred to as a result of the work of scholars, researchers, visual artists and tattoo artists.
Tonga and Samoa. It was in Tonga and Samoa that the Polynesian tattoo developed into a highly refined art. Several researchers, visual artists and tattoo artists mention the revival of the art and practice of tattooing in Tonga. Maori tattoo: Tonga and Samoa It was in Tonga and Samoa that the Polynesian tattoo developed in a very refined art.
The traditional Tongan word for tattooing or skin marking is made up of two words: ta – to strike, hit, or tap; and tatau – same, similar, symmetrical, balanced. Poetically, tatatau inferred a symmetrical balance achieved through rhythmic beats. Although the art of tattooing was retained in the nation of Samoa, it was completely erased in Tonga.
However, the art and practice of tattooing has been enjoying a revival in Tonga in recent years. This is a result of the work of scholars, researchers, visual artists and tattoo artists such as the two brothers – Carl and King Afa Cocker. However, the art and practice of tattooing has been enjoying a revival in Tonga in recent years.
Was the year that King Siaosi Tupou I began devising laws that would eventually outlaw and eradicate traditional Tongan tattooing. As Tongan legend has it, two men brought the art of Tattooing to the island kingdom and established its place within the culture. With the passing of time, Tongan legend has been relived as Sulu'ape and Tagaloa bring back the tools, reaffirming the traditional role of tattooing in Tonga.Download