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Cultural Use of Body Art

Body art, body modification, tattoo, whatever called, it is an art form that is a staple of several cultures across the globe. It is arguably claimed to have existed since 12,000 years BC, with purposes varying from culture to culture and its place on the time line, but there are commonalties that prevail form the earliest known tattoos to those being done today on college students here in Indiana. Though the art is very wide spread, the following will mainly be concentrated on three culture areas, the Islands of Polynesia, Early Japan, and modern America. Body art has been a part of Polynesian culture since people first landed there. From Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island, natives have worn tattoos for a variety of reasons. The Maori men have ornate full body markings and even some women have chin and lip tattoos that coincide with their descent. There markings are sort of a family crest, that designates there social status. In Samoa, the Pe'a, a full body suit, represents initiation into adulthood. No matter what accomplishments one might have, the males are still considered boys until their Pe’a is complete. When a young man is deemed ready to receive the Pe'a, a tattooist is chosen, and the process begins. Once the tattoo is completed, a ceremony occurs which marks the young man's shift from childhood into adult life. Women here have more markings than in other areas. Although not as elaborate as the males, it is still of great importance. They also mark criminals in a demeaning, public ritual meant to discourage others against crime. The most extensive and exquisite marking takes place in the Marquesas. Some have tattoos with very intricate detail, while others tell a story, and yet others might be very extensive and cover the entire body. The method of marking the skin in these cultures is a very archaic and painful ritualistic process. A needle attached to a bone chisel is fashioned and blessed by the tufuga ta tat...

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Cultural Use of Body Art. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 10:05, December 20, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/20198.html