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Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, [1891], at


Tattooing is not practiced at the present time, none being observed upon children and young persons. But all those advanced in life are ornamented on all parts of the body. Unlike the Samoans and other islanders, where a standard pattern is adhered to, the designs were only limited by the fancy and ability of the artist. Both sexes were tattooed (Figs. 4, a and b), but the women to a greater extent and with more elaborate designs than the men. The material used in tattooing is obtained by burning the leaf of an indigenous plant called "ti" which is, moistened with the juice of a berry called "poporo." A tattoo comb is made of bone or fish bones fastened to a stick, which is held in position and struck with a sharp blow.

FIG. 4, a.

FIG. 4, b.


The highest ornamentation was as follows: A narrow band around the upper part of the forehead, at the edge of the roots of hair, with little circles extending down upon the forehead and joined to the band

p. 467

by a stem. From the coronet, a line extended around the outside edge of the ear, with a circle on the lobe. The lips were freely tattooed, after the manner of the Maoris, with lines curving around the chin and extending towards the cheek-bones; the entire neck and throat covered with oblique or wavy lines, with occasional patches of solid coloring; a broad, wide girdle (Fig. 4, a) about the waist, from which bands rise in front and behind, representing trees and foliage, surmounted by large faces on the breast and back, and smaller ones on each side of the body. Below the waist belt the lines were fine, like lace-work, and from the thigh to the knee the appearance was that of silk tights with variegated pattern. Below the knee there were various designs. terminating in a point at the feet.

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