Tatau e 'ahu ... tatouage et tapa ... tattoo and tapa - two traditional artforms of the Pacific
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Matari'i Ni'a - Tahitian New Year
Today, 20 November, is the beginning of the Tahitian New Year and the beginning of a new period of abundance. Trees become heavy with fruits - the first of which, once, long ago, were offered to the gods. This is a special Matari'i Ni'a for us, as we begin a new adventure.
You may wonder why we called this blog 'Tattoo and Tapa'. Tihoti's passion is design using the ancient symbols used by his tupuna or ancestors. Mine is the same, but applied on a different surface.
The designs used by Tahitians in 'tatau' (tattoo) often crossed over into the designs used in 'ahu (tapa) decoration. Some of the deep symbolism used in tatau today in Tahiti is lost, although Tihoti feels that by using nature as our inspiration we can come to understand these designs again, and from there evolve those designs beyond our misunderstandings. But that understanding has to come from a Polynesian perspective.
I am fascinated by the designs and colours used in the ancient 'ahu - everything was symbolic. Much of this knowledge is forgotten today: but not entirely. For me it has become an exhilarating adventure of rediscovery.