Tattoo: bodies, art, and exchange in the Pacific and the West

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Duke University Press, 2005 - Art - 252 pages
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The history of tattooing is shrouded in controversy. Citing the Polynesian derivation of the word "tattoo," many scholars and tattoo enthusiasts have believed that the modern practice of tattooing originated in the Pacific, and specifically in the contacts between Captain Cookrs"s seamen and the Tahitians.Tattoodemonstrates that while the history of tattooing is far more complex than this, Pacific body arts have provided powerful stimuli to the West intermittently from the eighteenth century to the present day. The essays collected here document the extraordinary, intertwined histories of processes of cultural exchange and Pacific tattoo practices. Art historians, anthropologists, and scholars of Oceania provide a transcultural history of tattooing in and beyond the Pacific.The contributors examine the contexts in which Pacific tattoos were "discovered" by Europeans, track the history of the tattooing of Europeans visiting the region, and look at how Pacific tattooing was absorbed, revalued, and often suppressed by agents of European colonization. They consider how European art has incorporated tattooing, and they explore contemporary manifestations of Pacific tattoo art, paying particular attention to the different trajectories of Samoan, Tahitian, and Maori tattooing and to the meaning of present-day appropriations of tribal tattoos. New research has uncovered a fascinating visual archive of centuries-old tattoo images, and this richly illustrated volume includes a number of those-many published here for the first time-alongside images of contemporary tattooing in Polynesia and Europe.Tattoooffers a tantalizing glimpse into the plethora of stories and cross-cultural encounters that lie between the blood on a sailorrs"s backside in the eighteenth century and the hammering of a Samoan tattoo tool in the twenty-first.Contributors.Peter Brunt, Anna Cole, Anne Drs"Alleva, Bronwen Douglas, Elena Govor, Makiko Kuwahara, Sean Mallon, Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua, Cyril Siorat, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Nicholas Thomas, Joanna White

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Introduction Nicholas Thomas
European Voyagers and Tataul Tattoo in Polynesia 15951800
The Tattooing of Europeans in the Pacific Islands

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About the author (2005)

Nicholas Thomas is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books include Cook: The Extraordinary Voyages of Captain James Cook and Bad Colonists: The South Seas Letters of Vernon Lee Walker and Louis Becke (also published by Duke University Press). In 2002, he co-curated "Skin Deep: The History of Tattooing" at the National Maritime Museum in London.

Anna Cole is at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Nicholas Thomas is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books include Cook: The Extraordinary Voyages of Captain James Cook and In Oceania: Visions, Artifacts, Histories, published by Duke University Press. Anna Cole is the Research Coordinator of the ???Tatau/Tattoo: Embodied Art and Cultural Exchange??? project based at Goldsmiths College. Bronwen Douglas is a Senior Fellow in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. She is the author of Across the Great Divide: Journeys in History and Anthropology.