Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The Samoan tataus (tattoos) are unique compared to the other Polynesian tribes, it is said to be more abstract. The pattern and motives of the Samoan man's tatau (tattoo) reach from the mid back down the sides of the flanks to the knees and are pigmented smoothly. As a womans is not quiet as extensive or heavy.

Initiation rituals - a man can only be a complete being with social duties for the community if he is tataued. Traditionally it is said if a Samoan is not tatued he will not be buried but he will be simply thrown into the jungle.

The Samoans have a saying "Fanau le teine fana franau, frnau le tama le tatau" this means, "If a girl is born it must bear pain of birth, if a boy is born it must bear pain of tatauing."

The total process takes 10 days with 5 sessions and one days rest in between to let the inflammation subside. - Follow this link to see the 10 steps

Young women would sit around the person(s) being tattooed. They would hold them down to prevent them moving around and damaging the tattoo. They would calm them and distract them by massaging their head and singing a certain song - link to song- to occupy them from the pain. If a man started to complain or cry it was considered disgraceful behaviour and unfitting for a man.



  1. Hi Cien
    It's interesting that the scales were evened up a little in the pain stakes for men and women. The Samoan tradition of tattooing males more than women differs from what I found in the limited info on the Scythians. It seems women were considered just as capable in their main trade of horse trading and horse-breaking, and wore tattoos as much as men. (: Clare (the dreamers beaco)

  2. Yes, you have got to love the Samoan saying... "females bearing the pain of birth then the boy must bear the pain of tatauing"! And love the photos!

  3. hi cien! its past chris speaking to you now, cause by the time i finish typing this and you read it, it would of been me way in the past! weird concept hey. so anyways, i think your post is rly rly good! srs! with links to more information, its a very good way to expand my knowledge without you going over the 200 word limit by too much (sweet idea (even if you did break the limit...) but still sweet idea) i found the fact that susie and clare have already mentioned heaps interesting but what i found to be more eye catching was the fact that the process took 10 DAYS! obviously they had some idea of infection and so, but still imagine that pain they would go through just for one days rest and then back again...and i used to think 5 days a week of high school was a drag, boy do i feel sheepish now. but yeah overall i rate your post super dooper! keep on keeping on?
    from past chris.

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