Tatau Samoa History 3


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Today tattoo magazines picture Samoans and foreigners alike in magazine with their Pe'a and Malu. Also seen are copies of the Pe'a using similar structures and over sized patterns, even by modern tattoo machines. It is debatable on how this effects the traditions of the the Pe'a and how people precieve the Pe'a. After all, Samoan Tatau was developed over 2,000 years of cultural heritage and integration with aesthetic refinement that make it true unique.

Therefore, Tatau Samoa is not just some 'tattoo' that is picked off a wall at a shop, should not be categorized, treated, or copied as such. What should be done is to learn about and view the true Samoan tatau by the Samoan masters, the Tufuga Ta Tatau.

Samoan legends and songs as they explain the origin of the Samoan tatau are based originally on factual events and people. With only oral traditions and such a long period of time, there are a few different variations but they are a good place to start research. Samoan legends also have a few different layers often communicating many different things at once.

One cannot write about the Samoan tatau without mentioning the courage and endurance that is required to finish the process. It is known that it has caused fatalities throughout its history due to extensive blood loss and although it has rarely caused death, it has been apart of the lives of the Samoan people for thousands of years.

Samoan proverb "the work of the man - that while women shall bear children, men shall feel the fire of the tatau," - Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin"Navigating the Future: A Samoan Perspective on U.S. Pacific Relations"