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Tahitian Tattoos

Makiko Kuwahara

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Tatau is permanent tattoo marking on the body, a term used here to describe Tahitian tattoo motifs. The term tattoo refers to Euro-American tattoos and the process of making these designs. As it is significant for Tahitians to differentiate their motifs from others, the terms tatau and tattoo are both used, and the term tatau/tattoo will indicate traditional motifs made with Western methods. Once a person puts ink on the skin, he or she will live with the motifs, designs, or words that the ink de

Dance Costumes in French Polynesia

Jane Freeman Moulin

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Among the customs French Polynesians perpetuate in the twenty-first century, the public performance of choreographed group dances is one of the most popular and highly enjoyed by local audiences. These may be as a school celebration, a way to acknowledge and greet important visitors, an accompaniment to the large buffets that local residents and visitors enjoy at the tourist hotels, or as part of the yearly music and dance competitions known as Heiva. Viewed as a locus of artistic creativity in t

Photographic Representations of Pacific Peoples

Max Quanchi

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The first camera arrived in the Pacific shortly after it was invented in France in 1839, and photographs of Pacific Islanders were taken during several European voyages in the 1840s. Most of these photographs have not survived. Permanent European traders, settlers, and regular visitors increased after the founding of Botany Bay (Sydney) in 1788 and the growth of port towns at Honolulu, Papeete, Levuka, and Apia; and an accessible collection of photographs, many recording the dress and accoutremen

Dress and Appearance in Tahiti

Karen Stevenson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Tahiti is one of the Society Islands and the largest island of French Polynesia. It has a tropical climate, and its flora and fauna have been fundamental to the attire made by indigenous Tahitians. Body modification in early Tahiti was used as a visual marker of status within a highly ranked society. The Tahitian social system was founded in a system of primogeniture, in which one’s rank was determined by birth, a system that necessitated a wealth and complexity of embellishment and regalia to de

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