23 August 2011

Body Tattoo on stamps..




Date of Issue : 4 August 2011

Here is new set of stamps from Papua New Guinea featuring a very new topic which has not usually much featured on world stamps so far.The set includes 4 stamps and two souvenir sheets. Probably this this is the first set that I came across on tattoos an d wish to give a detailed Post on these stamps. Tattoos are no longer just an art form of the elite or associated with societal deviants. People of all ages and from all walks of life are finding their own special meaning in tattoos.Today, tattooing has reached a new popularity and has become a part of fashion .


tattoo11_k1_05   tattoo11_k1_05  tattoo11_k5  tattoo11_k7

souvenir sheet

History of Tattoo

The history of tattoo goes back over 5000 years ago and is as diverse as the people who wear them. The word tattoo is said to have two major derivations from the Polynesian word 'ta' which means striking something and the tahitian word 'tatau' which means 'to mark something'. Tattoos are created by inserting colored substances beneath the skins surface using sharp pin-points.

stamp pack




According to history, the first tattoo was probably created by accident. Presumably, someone had a wound, and with a charcoal stained palm/hand may have rubbed in some of the substance into the wound in the process, and after the wound had healed, the substance trapped beneath the skin layer was still seen.

Tattoos today

Today, people wear tattoos for various reasons ranging from cosmetic, sentimental/ memorial, religious, magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs but also a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture.

To others, tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Tattoos may show how a person feels about a relative  or about an unrelated person.

Body Tattooing in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, endowed with diverse cultures, customs and over seven hundred distinct languages is also home to body tattooing. Like with other Pacific islanders, varying from shapes sizes and shades, tattoos stand to play significant roles in respective tribes. They can be found on different parts of the body (male and female) depending on their significance. Whole-body tattooing is common in Gulf and to most of the Papuan coastal areas.


A hand tattoo from Kairuku, Central Province

Some are done as an indication of maturity while others represent tribal identity, self pride, magic qualities and or other reasons. Whole-body tattooing is rarely seen on the younger generation nowadays. The very few who wear them are those in their late 50s and 60s.

In the highlands areas, most are known for their small forehead and side tattoos. These are signs of tribal identity and or self pride. And again, some tribal groups believe that tattoos have magical qualities that protect them from evil spirits and their enemies. For the womenfolk, tattoos are done for self body pride and or merely  to show off their tribal symbols/ designs on their beautiful bodies, with the hope of attracting the opposite sex.

Read about   Tribal Tattoos of Papua New Guinea



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