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All About Leather Tattoo Art

An art that express one’s individuality is defined as a tattoo. Tattoos are used in the Polynesian culture as an indication of their status in their hierarchical society. Identities, genealogy, personalities and the rank in the society are the various types of status. Polynesians consider tattoos to be more than an art as they are quite spiritual to them. The symbolic state of their tattoos results to the pictorial representation of humans, animals, birds and flowers. Depending on the rank of a person in the society, geometric designs are drawn on a person and have different meanings. Polynesian tattoos are not tribal tattoos even though they have a tribal nature.

Embracing of traditions and history is what Polynesians do through their tattoos. All the symbols of Polynesian tattoos are based on the elements of water, fire, earth and wind. The other symbol is the use of shells which represent peace and fertility. Wellness and peace are symbolized using turtle shells while sea shells represents protection and intimacy. Representation of courage and power is through the tattoo symbol of shark teeth.

Showing of courage and power by Polynesians is done by getting a tattoo of a full set of shark teeth. Patterns of triangle represent shark teeth and is done as multiple rows of shark teeth that show adaptability and bravery. Spearhead tattoo represents the power of the individual as the next tattoo symbol. Apart from representing power the spearhead tattoo symbol also represents courage and dominance.

The sun tattoo symbolizes grandness and riches as the sun itself mostly symbolizes rebirth while its rays signify brilliance, eternity, brilliance and leadership. The final destination or death is represented by the ocean in the Polynesian culture. The ocean is also considered as their source of food, fertilityand homeland of ancestors apart from the final destination. Tattooing the Polynesian way involved use of needles that were made of shark teeth, bird bone, turtle shell and bamboo in which the skin is then added ink formulated from plant-based liquid. Candlenut oil, sugar cane juice and coconut milk are examples of ink formulated plant based liquid.

Planning and cleaning, applying design to the leather and practicing tattooing with other items are the main processes involved in leather tattooing. The first process being planning and cleaning is followed through by a sub step which is determining the design. An individual’s imagination is the limit when determining the design although if starting out a simple line drawing will do.

The surface of the leather is cleaned by rubbing alcohol as the next sub step. The alcohol works by removing oils and grease from the leather while at the same time sterilizing it. The next process is outlining the design on the leather in order to make a tracing guide by using stencil gel to transfer the design to the surface of the leather.

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