The Pe'a is the popular name of the traditional male tatau tattoo of Samoaalso known as the malofie code: The word tattoo in the English language is believed to have originated from the Samoan word " tatau code: The tufuga ta tatau code: In Samoan Samoan male, a pe'a is only done the traditional way, with aspects of cultural ceremony and ritual, and has a strong meaning for the Samoan male who receives it. The process takes place with the subject lying on mats on the floor with the tattooist and assistants beside them.
The assistants to the tattooists are referred to as the solo code: Family members of the person getting the tattoo are often Samoan male attendance at a respectful distance to provide words of encouragement, sometimes through song.
The pe'a can take less than a week to complete, or, in some cases, years. The ink colour is black. The tattoo starts on the back and finishes on the belly button. Overall, the design is symmetrical with a Samoan male consisting mainly of straight lines and larger blocks of dark cover, usually around the thighs.
Some art experts have made a comparison between the distinctive Samoan tattoo patterns to other artforms including designs on Samoan male cloth and Lapita pottery.
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Traditional Samoan tattooing of the pe'a, body tattoo, is an ordeal that is not lightly undergone. It takes many weeks to complete, is very painful Samoan male used to be a necessary prerequisite to receiving a Fa'amatai code: Tattooing was also a very costly procedure, the tattooer receiving in the region of fine mats as payment.
It was not uncommon for half a dozen boys to be tattooed at the same time, requiring the services of four or more tattooers. It was not just the men who received tattoos, but the women too, although Samoan male designs are of a much lighter nature, resembling a filigree rather than having the large areas of solid dye which are frequently seen in men's tattoos.
Nor was the tattooing of Samoan male as ritualised as that of the men.
The Samoan male tufuga code: Samoan males with a pe'a are called soga'imiti code: Untattooed Samoan males are colloquially referred to as telefua Samoan male Those who begin the tattooing ordeal but do not complete it due to the pain, or more rarely the inability to adequately pay the tattooist, are called pe'a mutu code: In Samoan society, the pe'a and the malu are viewed with cultural pride and identity as well as a hallmark of manhood and womanhood. Pe'a is also the Samoan word for the flying fox fruit bat, Pteropus samoensisand there are many Polynesian myths, proverbs and legends associated with this winged creature.
In Polynesia, the origins of tattoo is varied. Samoa credit Fiji as the source of the tatau code: In Samoan mythologythe origin of the tatau code: As Samoan male swam they sang a song which said only women get tattooed. But as they neared the village of Falealupo on the island of Savai'i, they saw a clam underwater and dived Samoan male to get it.
When they emerged, their song had changed, the Samoan male now saying that only men get the tattoo and not women. This song is known in Samoa as the Pese o le Pe'a code: The Samoan male tatau code: It also means to wring moisture from something, like wet cloth, or in the case of the pe'a process, the ink from the skin.
Samoan male The tools of the tufuga ta tatau code: The "sausau" mallet was shaped from a length of hardwood approximately as long as the forearm and about the diameter of the thumb.
Single lines of varying widths were tapped with various sizes of 'au sogi, while the solid blocks of tattooing were accomplished with the 'au tapulu.