Australia has a rich historical background in which art of tattooing has a special place. Date back to almost 40, 000 years, the Samoan tribes and the Maori tribes used to display a wide range of tattoos on some specific parts of their body. In fact, these tribes of Australia represent the major history of tattooing. The Samoan tribes, without signifying any ritual or cultural implication, used to cover their lower body completely with all-embracing tattoos, making their own fashion statements.
Samoan Tribe Extensively Tattooed Lower Body Parts
In the Samoan tribe, tattoos had a significant weightage and people with tattoos got social respect and acceptance, while people without tattoos were regarded weak and coward. Amongst the Samoans, person, who had the most extensive tattoo on his body, was considered brave enough to undergo the pain of the craft. Consequently, the tattooing was done so widely that it took even six months to complete a person’s body. While practicing the art of tattooing, the Samoans used a special comb with pointed end. These pointed ends of the comb would pierce the body inserting the ink under the skin. A special tattooing shed was built and was burned when the process was completed. The women were not far in getting their bodies tattooed, although the patterns of women tended to be daintier.
Maoris Tribe Wore Tattoos On Faces
The Maoris tribe had a different touch as these people wore tattoos on their faces. This tattooing technique is called "moko" and was unique to the Maori. Every man wore an individualized pattern, as the design was based directly on his own particular face. The tattooing artist would study the man's facial features and lines to create a design that would accentuate them, making his appearance more dignified and forceful. The pattern was literally carved into the skin with a bone chisel much like the way designs are carved into wood. Ink would be placed in the cuts to create the tattoo. The whole process, which these people used, was extremely painful and used to cause a lot of swelling over face. It used to take days, in fact weeks, to complete one face. Maori women also tattooed their faces, but it was limited to the lips and chin.
Convict Tattooing & Modern Day Art of Tattooing
In Australia, the modern art of tattooing began when convicts started to flood in the country. It was during that time that these convicts got themselves inked to express their suppressed emotions. These tattoos were drawn taking the black sediments of the oil lamps. There was a similar trend in tattooing in those days, the personal tattoo messages were inked on the parts of the body that were usually covered. The common tattoos were: lovers’ knots, crocodiles, monuments, triumphal arches, kangaroos, etc. These tattoos were synchronized in the sentiments that they depicted. The presence of these tattoos on the body of the convicts only showed that they were normal people like us, normal people with hopes and fears that they wanted to express in the form of body art. These tattoos were also recorded by the authorities to identify the escaped victims as they generally did not have any other information about these convicts. For some of the convicts these tattoos were only for the purpose of decoration so they generally got some design, form or shape inked on their bodies. But there were convicts who took tattoos very seriously and made them into personal statements and got themselves a tattoo of their date of trial, their transportation, the expiration of their sentence, etc. The most popular sign among convicts in those times was an anchor, which had interestingly nothing to do with the sea but depicted hope and perseverance. For them it symbolized the optimism of one day going back home and being with his/her own people. A ‘five dot’ tattoo was also popular amongst convicts in those times. Nobody knows what it actually means but almost every convict was seen wearing it. Some historians believe that it stood for ‘I have been inside’. The four dots represented the walls of the cell while a dot represented that the individual was inside those walls. People also got personal message inscribed with the initials of their lovers inked along side. This was their tribute to the love that they had left behind in their homeland. At the present time, tattoos are rather extensively worn by people from different walks of life. This art has become a major fashion statement among people, especially youngsters. Though it's entirely personal choice of the wearer, tattoo designs reflect the personality of the wearer. Tattooing has become more of a fashion statement than a symbol for self expression. Young and popular celebrities have started wearing funky tattoos that inspire the youngsters to get themselves inked as well.