History of the Tattoo… Polynesian ~

Tracy

I love Tattoos!  Always have, always will.  I remember the first time I was attracted to a man with tattoos.  I was sweet sixteen.  He wasn’t your usual guy with a tattoo, we nicknamed him ‘tattoo man’ because his entire upper body was inked.  He used to hang out at the Canyon in the summer and cliff dive, shirtless of course.  I think he was my first real crush, the kind that makes you feel weird inside.  I had never met anyone who had a tattoo let alone a body full of them.  I am intrigued by tattoos and the reasons men and women get them.  The stories and meanings behind them can be so moving and inspiring or just plain quirky and odd.

I have decided to do a history of the tattoo for a post once a month until we cover the many styles and types of tattoos.

‘A really good friend of mine’ Scott has his upper body inked with what I think is the most incredible tattoo I have ever seen.  The process from start to finish took months of preparation because the entire tattoo was created  from his vision.  He went through the creative process with the artist  Cristoffer Fulton.  Cristoffer passed just days after the vision was complete.  His memory will forever live on in the art he has created. There is a unique story here that I hope to share with you one day.

The word tattoo is said to have two major derivations,  from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something and a Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’.  The history of tattoo began over 5000 years ago and is as diverse as the people who wear them.

The Rock Polynesian tattoo

Polynesian~ In pacific cultures tattooing has a huge historic significance.  Polynesian tattooing is considered the most intricate and skillful tattooing of the ancient world.  Polynesian peoples, believe that a person’s mana, their spiritual power or life force, is displayed through their tattoo.  The vast majority of what we know today about these ancient arts has been passed down through legends, songs, and ritual ceremonies. Elaborate geometrical designs which were often added to, renewed, and embellished throughout the life of the individual until they covered the entire body.

In Samoa, the tradition of applying tattoo, or ‘tatau’, by hand, has long been defined by rank and title, with chiefs and their assistants, descending from notable families in the proper birth order.  The tattooing ceremonies for young chiefs, typically conducted at the onset of puberty, were elaborate affairs and were a key part of their ascendance to a leadership role.  The permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions.

The Hawaiian people had their traditional tattoo art, known as ‘kakau’. It served them not only for ornamentation and distinction, but to guard their health and spiritual well-being.  Intricate patterns, mimicking woven reeds or other natural forms, graced men’s arms, legs, torso and face.
Women were generally tattooed on the hand, fingers, wrists and sometimes on their tongue.  I will be inking my body at some point this year but it won’t be on my tongue!  To be continued…

Tracy

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Don’t knock it till ya try it!

There are some things that I am not completely on board with yet but I don’t judge, I try to understand.  Don’t knock it till ya try it, right?  I think trying new things is the best way to understand them.  Sometimes that takes us out of our comfort zone.  I’ve been going out of my comfort zone more lately and I am starting to like it.

Piercing

I don’t understand certain types of piercings.  Why anyone would possibly want their pink parts (privates) pierced is beyond me.  But I don’t judge.  I spent quite sometime early last year in ‘I Kandy’ a tattoo and piercing business when ‘a really good friend of mine’ got a large Polynesian style tattoo.  It took about 6 months from start to finish, which included creating the entire tattoo from scratch, along side the artist Cristoffer Fullton. RIP.  The most incredible tattoo I have ever seen, still.  We spent hours there so I had a good look around.  I noticed in some of the cabinets they had mock ups of different kinds of piercings you could get.  I was shocked at some of them.  They had pretend pink parts(privates) on display to demonstrate what it would look like.  I had to giggle when I saw them.  Wow is all I could think!  I tried to imagine the first person who got there pink bits pierced trying to explain to the piercer what they wanted done.  “Seriously though, you want WHAT pierced?”   Piercing, when I was growing up, was something you had to wait for, a coming of age ceremony kind of thing.  How things have changed.  How I have changed along the way.

Okay, so I woke up yesterday and decided to get a piercing of my own.  Didn’t really think it over very long….spontaneity!  I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and I did.  I went in to “I Kandy” which now has their piercing space across the lane , separate from the tattoo business.  I just walked in and I got a consult to have my nipple pierced!!  Sorry Mom, I lied!!  I still can’t believe it.  I started to panic while standing there and thought, “no, I can do this”.  It’s my body, my path in life, and no one can tell me otherwise.  If you know me, you know exactly my frame of mind lately and can see this process is in full swing.  Don’t knock it till ya try it, right?  I was escorted into the ‘room’ where Mahela (the piercer) was waiting.  She was really nice and very calm.  I needed calm, let me tell you!!  I sat down on the black lounge chair and she had me sign all the packaging to assure myself things were sterile.  That made me feel better.  She calmly, and in a soft, almost hypnotic voice, asked me kindly to take a few deep breaths as she got prepared!  I have to say that it was frightening!  I took one last deep breath and PIERCE, it was done.  YES, IT HURT!  I can’t even explain the feeling except that YES, IT HURT!  So there you have it!  Me with a pierced nipple!  I would post a picture but my Mom would be mortified!!  So yeah, April fools !

PS.  I did get my nose pierced!  THANKS MIHELA !! You were awesome!!

TracyTracy

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