All About Leather Tattoo Art
A tattoo is an art that expresses one’s individuality. The form of expression in the Polynesian culture is the use of tattoos as they are an indication of their status in their hierarchical society. The Polynesian culture uses tattoos to describe their statuses and they include; identities, genealogy, personalities and the rank in the society. The spirituality of tattoos by Polynesians is the reason for consideration to be more than an art. 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. Representation of the elements of water, fire, earth and wind are the symbols of Polynesian tattoos. The other symbol is the use of shells which represent peace and fertility. Sea shells specifically represent protection and intimacy while turtle shells signifies peace and wellness. Representation of courage and power is through the tattoo symbol of shark teeth.
A full set of shark teeth is obtained by most Polynesian people as a way to show their courage and power. Patterns of triangle represent shark teeth and is done as multiple rows of shark teeth that show adaptability and bravery. The next tattoo symbol is a spearhead which represents the power of the individual. Apart from representing power the spearhead tattoo symbol also represents courage and dominance.
The sun in most areas symbolizes rebirth while its rays signify brilliance, eternity, brilliance and leadership but in the Polynesian culture it signifies grandness and riches. Death to the Polynesian culture is represented by the ocean. The ocean is also considered as their source of food, fertilityand homeland of ancestors apart from the final destination. After injecting the skin with a needle that is made from shark teeth, bird bone, turtle shell and bamboo its then added ink formulated from plant-based liquid. Candlenut oil, sugar cane juice and coconut milk are examples of ink formulated plant based liquid.
Leather tattoo art is done by following the various processes and they are planning and cleaning, applying design to the leather and practicing tattooing with other items. Determination of the design is the first sub step under planning and cleaning. A simple line drawing is done by those starting out in leather tattooing however an individual’s imagination is the limit.
The next sub step is to clean the surface of the leather by rubbing alcohol. Not only does the alcohol remove oil and grease from the leather but also sterilizes the leather. 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.