Analysis: Tattoo 2


j wearer: man
j location on body: face
j colours: black
j design: slightly raised lines, circles, swirls (effects created by both the black pigment and the untattooed skin)
j text: none
j approximate size: 30 cm x 30 cm
j probable method/materials: bone chisel (grooves carved into skin with chisel, similar to wood carving – exceedingly painful); pigment a mixture of water or fat combined with ground charcoal, plant extracts, dog excrement and vegetable caterpillars (King 1972:7)

j visibility: clearly visible for all to see except wearer
j‘tribal’ tattoo; raised, stylized geometric patterns
j how perceived: a ritual or rite of passage, warrior, status symbol, art

j historical/cultural context: mid-nineteenth century Maori
j symbolic meanings: high ranking status; warrior; a rite of passage; to immediately delineate the powerful or elite; cultural identity (highly stylized art form of the Maori); this intentionally visible tattoo places the wearer in a cultural context (similar to dress, other ornamentation)




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Tattoo Methodology


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-image: Unknown Chief of the Tuwharetoa, by J.J. Merrett, c. 1850 (Simmons 1986:129)-