Samoan Tribal

Posted by on January 2, 2010

            Tattoos have been around for a long time. Ink has been used for several things. In days of old, slaves would be inked in order to tell who they belonged to. In some families, tattoos would be used to tell a story or history to a tribe. This type of tattoo is called a tribal. In a future blog post, I will go over the traditional Samoan tattoo but for now I would just like to focus on the tribal tattoo itself.

            When I was stationed in Hawaii, I made friends with a girl who was Samoan.  Then her grandfather died and she told me about the tradition they had. The family washed the body of their loved one and prepared him for his journey. She also told about their family tribal and showed me her tattoo. In honor of her grandfather she got her first tattoo.  In Samoa a tattoo that a woman gets is called a Malu. She explained to me that the tattoos are sort of like a family crest.

I decided to do a little research of my own and found that a Samoan tatau or tattoo is not given with needles. It is done with various sized combs and a mallet. The process is very painful and can last for hours. The tattoo a man would get is called a Pe’a and a woman’s would be called a Malu.  If done right, it marks time and history. Tribal’s today are nothing like the old traditional ones.

Here are some helpful websites to go to, it will give you a better insight on a tattoo.

http://www.freetattoodesigns.org/polynesian-tattoos.html

http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-3922086/Peti-s-Malu-Traditions-of.html

The second link is one that I find very interesting. It tells the tale of a young boy from Samoa getting a tattoo.

These tattoos whether new or old are some of my favorites. The lines and designs are eye-catching. They flow on the body as if it’s natural yet a beautiful beauty mark. If you are getting a new tattoo but are not sure what one to get, look into your family history. Maybe you have some Asian, Native American or Polynesian in your heritage. You could get your family tribal inked on you for both a stylish tattoo and have meaning to it. If getting a more modern tattoo is what you would like, please be careful not to offend any one by getting a traditional tribal.       

            If you have any artist or tattoos you would like me to write about, please contact me with your story. I would be happy to tell it. Even if you got your tattoo on the spur of the moment, let me know what you have and how you feel about it.

Last modified on January 3, 2010

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One Response to “Samoan Tribal”

  1. Maria aka PartyGurle Says:

    Good idea! I’ll have to look into that…might add that to my tattoo wish list :)