Father Sebastian Englert made the following observations about tattooing on Easter Island:


"Tattooing was also of great importance. It was done by experts under the supervision of the ariki henua. A small bone punch with several very tiny comb like prongs on the end was dipped in black pigment made of burned ti leaves and driven into the skin. It was a painful and lengthy process, repeated at various times during an individual's life. Designed in great variety were made on all parts of the body and the work was excellent. We know little about the social significance of the tattooing or the symbolic value of the designs".


Easter island lithograph showing
two tattooed Easter Islanders,1860.

Oceania Tattoos

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Jane Resture
(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 12 July 2003)