Samoan tattoo (tatau) history and tools

Samoan tattoo (tatau) history and tools


Samoan tattoos… it’s been around for a long time There’s a lot of stories behind it as well The most common one that you’ll probably hear is “It’s an initiation into manhood.” Back in the old days they were given to them as… one as a coming of age tattoo, and then two is setting them up to be responsible, you know, more responsible for their family and represent their families. If you look way, way back at the time, it was a mark of a warrior. Even go further back when people were trying to take over Samoa that was a sign of strength Traditional versus machine work, they both co-exist, they’re both still active Traditional Samoan tattooing hasn’t stopped, it’s been continuous ever since its inception There are still certain families in Samoa that are still practicing that tradition, with their hand-tapped tools and they have adapted as well, moving from bone into stainless steel needles as well, so everything is evolving and adapting… in the modern time. Machine work is just another way to apply these tattoos. It’s only my second tattoo with the machine, my other tattoos have been done with indigenous tools. They co-exist, the indigenous tools have changed form in order to account for hygiene good hygiene practices and safety of the customers. Like everything you have to move with the times for the safety of everyone, so it’s hygienic and clean and just the healing process as well, with the new machines, like anything with technology it always evolves every single year, so, I guess in that form we’re evolving as well. Still stand up proud and represent, and people know who you are.

One thought on “Samoan tattoo (tatau) history and tools

  1. I learned that women wore tattoos first and it was used to help in navigation on the oceans..it was basically like a map of stars and whatnot. And that the malofie was something that came much later. Why men started to get them idk but maybe as a mark of manhood and putting the weight of responsibility of family duties on your shoulders. Either way, they are marks of one’s sacrifice for their family.

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