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The word tattoo comes from Polynesian tatau which means striking something and in Tahitian tatu means to mark something Its pronunciation was changed to conform to English phonology as tattoo Many tattoos are used to serve as a rite of passage in some cultures symbols of religious and spiritual devotion decoration and pledges of love There seem to be two major derivations of tattoos tribal tattoos and the more recent American tattoos In America tattoos have grown increasingly popular over the most recent decades Early tattooing techniques seem quite barbaric by todays standards South American tribes scratched or pricked at the skin and then smeared it with dye or dirt The Inuit punctured the skin and passed a needle covered in soot through the open wounds The Maoris pierced the skin with a tool used for cutting bone and then smeared ash and other dyes over the cuts In pacific cultures tattooing has a huge historic significance Polynesian tattooing is considered the most intricate andskillful tattooing of the ancient world Polynesian people believe that their spiritual power or life force is displayed through their tattoos In Samoa the tradition of applying tattoo or tatau by hand has long been defined by rank and title The tattooing ceremonies for young chiefs typically conducted at the onset of puberty were elaborate affairs and were a key part of their ascendance to a leadership role The permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions When the first Europeans that set foot on Samoan soil got a closer look at the natives they reported that the men have their thighs painted or tattooed in such a way that one would think them clothed although they are almost naked Before reaching America the art of tattooing was celebrated for thousands of years all over the world from India and Thailand to the Middle East and Central and South America With
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