American Samoa > Local Customs Fa'a Samoa

Samoan Tattoo traditions


Tavita Tusitala:
It is an old tradition for the chiefs and any man deserving respect, to have geometrical tattoos on their body from waist to knee.
The designs have meanings like the designs on tapa cloth.

Old-style tattoos are painful and it is right of manhood, bravery and perseverance to get the tattoo. Every big chief needs a good tattoo :)
Photos from a tattoo festival:

Samoan chiefly tattoos, waist to knee in geometric designs

"Rites of Courage" documentary film by Miki Magasiva explores the rite of tatau and the coming of age of the Samoan young man in Traditional vs Modern Day.  Men of Samoa undergo the rite of tatau tattooed from hips to chest in a painful, traditional Samoan ceremony.


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