Tattoo : An Anthropology book cover
1st Edition

An Anthropology

ISBN 9781845201555
Published May 1, 2005 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

In the 1830s, missionaries in French Polynesia sought to suppress the traditional art of tattooing, because they believed it to be a barbaric practice. More than 150 years later, tattooing is once again thriving in French Polynesia. This engrossing book documents the meaning of tattooing in contemporary French Polynesian society. As a permanent inscription, a tattoo makes a powerful statement about identity and culture. In this case, its resurgence is part of a vibrant cultural revival movement. Kuwahara examines the complex significance of the art, including its relationship to gender, youth culture, ethnicity and prison life. She also provides unique photographic evidence of the sophisticated techniques and varied forms that characterize French Polynesian tattooing today.Winner of The Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies Award 2005.

Table of Contents

Introduction * Discontinuity and Displacement: Place and History of Tattooing * Recovering Ma'ohi Skin - Renaissance of Contemporary Tattooing * Tattooing from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Early Nineteenth Century * Tapu and Body- Tattooing in the Late Eighteenth Century * Different Skins-Change through European Contact * Religious Influence: Evangelization and Tattooing * Law and Punishment * Tattooing and Resistance * Conclusion * Practice and Form * Practice of Tattooing * Form of Tattoos * Categories of Tattoo Form * Conclusion * Marking Taure'are' a: Social Relationships and Tattooing * Gender, Ethnic and Age Differences in Tahitian Society * Tattooists in Tahiti * Tahitian Tattoo World * Creation and Transformation of Tattooing * Conclusion * Exchanges in Taputapuatea: Localization and Globalization * Tatau i Taputapuatea * Tahitian and Non-Tahitian Interests on the Other Tattooing * The Ownership and Transmission of Tattooing * Friendship Bond in the Tahitian Tattoo World * Exchange in Taputapuatea * Tattooing Non-Polynesian: the Case of Michel Raapoto * Four Ownerships of Tattoo * Conclusion * Dancing and Tattooing at Festivals: Tahitian, Polynesian and Marquesan Identities * Festivals and Images of Islands * Heiva * Festival of Pacific Arts * Marquesan Art Festival * Conclusion * Inscribing the Past, Present and Future: In the Nuutania Prison * The Road to the Nuutania Prison * Le centre pnitentiare de Nuutania * The Prison Life and Tattooing * The Inmate Tattooists * The Spatiality of Prison Tattooing * Body in the Past, Present and Future * Conclusion * Conclusion

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Makiko Kuwahara is Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths College, University of London.


Kuwahara provides a sophisiticated, well-written, and well-argued analysis, in which she presents Tahitian tattooing in all its complexity and potential contradictions. - Nico Besnier, Museum Anthropology