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Tattooing

marriage, ornamental and scar-tattooing

TATTOOING, a word of Polynesian ori gin, anglicized from the Tahitian tatu, denot ing the practice of making permanent colored designs or figures in the skin by means of small punctures or incisions, which receive various dyes or pigments. The coloring is mainly dark blue and dull red. A similar custom, known as cicatrization or scar-tattooing, consists in repeatedly cutting the skin at the same place so that in healing a raised scar is left. Both varieties of tattooing may be found among the same people, as in the case of the natives of the South Sea Islands. Among the Ad miralty Islanders, the Fijians, the Gonds and the Todas of India, the inhabitants of the Liu Kiu Islands and other races, color-tattooing is, or was, confined to the women, and the Latuka of the upper Nile Valley are an example of a people among whom ,scar-tattooing is prac tised upon women only. Color-tattooing is gen erally ornamental, but scar-tattooing is more frequently used to produce distinguishing tribal marks. The latter variety is practised by a number of native African peoples, while the Bangala of the Middle Kongo scar the whole body for ornamental purposes. In some races there is a connection between tattooing and marriage. Thus, in the Solomon Islands a girl

is not eligible for marriage until she has been subjected to an atrociously cruel process of tat tooing on the face and chest, and the native Australians inflict fearful scars on the backs of their young girls before marriage. The Formo sans tattoo the faces of girls prior to marriage; and among the Papuans of New Guinea un married girls are tattooed all over, except on the face, which is adorned in this way at the time of their marriage. Color-tattooing of an ornamental kind reached its most artistic de velopment among the Maoris of New Zealand and the Japanese, but both these peoples, like several others, have largely abandoned the prac tice under the influence of civilization. With the Malays tattooing appears to have been a reward of the successful head-hunter. Sailors and some other classes in civilized countries do some tattooing, mainly in one color, making figures, as stars, flags, etc., on their hands, arms, chests, etc. Consult Robley, H. G., (Moko, or Maori Tattooing' (London 1896).