Samoans are considered to be a culturally sound people, who are known for their unity, as well as tradition and customs, which hold strong even today, after centuries of European influence, as a result of their undying loyalty to their uniqueness and identity. Although most of the Samoans today identify themselves as Christians, there are some who wish to uphold their tradition in their ancient ways even now, and some who have learned to blend the dogmas of Christianity along with that of their own. One important aspect of Samoan culture is, as known to many, the unique Samoan tattoo. In fact, it is also believed that the word 'tattoo' is of Samoan origin, taken from the word 'tatau'.
Tatau means 'correct or workmanlike'. The syllable 'ta' stands for hand, and is used twice as an onomatopoeic reference to the repetitive nature of the process. The syllable 'u' is supposed to mean 'color'. The instrument used by Samoans to imprint the Samoan tattoos into the skin is called the 'hahau', the syllable 'ha' meaning 'to strike or pierce'.
Samoan tattoo designs lack any kind of circular or curved lines, unlike other Polynesian Tattoo Designs. They are intricate, complex, and absolutely stunning to look at. However, getting a traditional Samoan tattoo design inked into your skin is no joke, really. Not only is it extremely painful, tiring, and time-consuming, but it is also considered to be a great ritual, when it comes to tattooing men, that is. The women, however, go through the process in a non-ritualistic manner, with delicate, filigree designs to adorn their bodies, unlike the solid ones worn by males.
As mentioned before, Samoan tattoo designs are quite gender-specific, that is, they have different kinds of tattoos for males and females. While the male, or "soga'imiti" is supposed to wear the tatau which extends from the knees, right up to their ribs, and is full of the most intricate patterns and shapes, the female, or teine, is supposed to sport the malu, which spreads from just below their knees to their upper thighs.
Various implements are used by the Samoans to ink the tattoo into one's skin. They included the 'autapulu', a wide tattooing comb used to fill large dark areas of the tattoo, the 'ausogi'aso tele', a comb used for making thick lines, the 'aumugo', a comb for making small marks, the 'ausogi'aso laititi' for thin lines, the 'sausau', a two-foot mallet made from the central rib of a coconut palm leaf, used to strike the combs, the 'ipulama' and the 'tui', which are the cup to hold the dye and the pestle used to grind it respectively, and the 'tuluma', which is the pot used for holding the tattooing combs.
If it is a Samoan tattoo design you are looking for, well, it pays to know its historical and cultural aspects, for only then is it possible for you to know exactly what kind of design you really want. Also, it is quite important that you get your Samoan tattoo design inked in by a reputable and professional artist, for when it comes to particular, cultural kinds of tattoo designs, people do tend to mix them up with other cultures, which is something you surely don't want.
Hence, do remember to pick out the perfect Samoan tattoo design for yourself, using the various sources available to you, including the internet and different tattoo art galleries etc, and also to ensure that it looks good, for while it is painful to wear it in the first place, it is more so to remove it, physically, as well as financially.