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In Samoa the principal motive of tattooing seems to have been licentiousness. It was prohibited by the chiefs on account of the obscene practices always connected with it, and there is a legend of the incestuous designs of two divine brothers on their sister which was successful. "Tattooing thus originated among the gods and was first practised by the children of Taaroa, their principal deity. In imitation of their example, and for the accomplishment of the same purit was practised among men." (Ellis, P. R., I., 262.)




On the American continent we find tattooing practised from north to south, from east to west, for the most diverse reasons, among which the desire to facilitate courtship is never even hinted at. The Eskimos, about the age of puberty, apply paint and tattooing to their faces, cut holes and insert plugs or labrets. The object of these disfigurements is indicated by Bancroft (I., 48): "Different tribes, and different ranks of the same tribe, have each their peculiar form of tattooing." Moreover, these operations are supposed to possess some significance other than that of mere ornament. Upon the occasion of piercing the lip, for instance, a religious feast is given." John Murdoch relates (Mallery, 396) that the wife of an Eskimo chief had "a little mark tattooed in each corner of her mouth, which she said were whale marks,' indicating that she was the wife of a successful whaleman." Of the Kadiaks Bancroft says (72): "The more the female chin is riddled with holes, the greater the respectability." Among the Chippewayan Indians Mackenzie found (85) that both sexes had "blue or black bars, or from one to four straight lines, on their cheeks or foreheads to distinguish the tribe to which they belong." Swan writes (Mallery, 188283, 67) that the tattoo marks of the Haidas are heraldic designs or the family totem, or crests of the wearers, and are similar to the carvings depicted in the pillars and monuments around the homes of the chiefs." A Haida Indian remarked to Swan (69): If you were tattooed with the design of a swan, the Indians would know your family name." It is at



festivals and masquerade performances, says the same writer, that the tatoo marks show with the best effect, and the rank and family connection [are] known by the variety of design." Lafitau reports (II., 43) regarding the Iroquois and Algonquins that the designs which they have tattooed on their faces and bodies are employed as hieroglyphics, writing, and records, to indicate victories, etc. The designs tattooed on an Indian's face or body distinguish him, he adds, as we do a family by its armorial bearings. "In James's Long it is reported that the Omahas are often neatly tattooed.

The daughters of chiefs and those of wealthy Indians generally are denoted by a small round spot tattooed on the forehead." (Mallery, 1888-89, 395.) Bossu says regarding the practice of tattooing by the Osages (in 1756): "It is a kind of knighthood to which they are only entitled by great actions.” Blue marks tattooed upon the chin of a Mojave woman indicate that she is married. The Serrano Indians near Los Angeles had, as late as 1843, a custom of having special tattoo marks on themselves which were also made on trees to indicate the corner boundaries of patches of land. (Mallery, 1882-83, 64, 182.) In his book on the California Indians, Powers declares (109) that in the Mattoal tribe the men tattoo themselves; in the others the women alone tattoo. The theory that the women are thus marked in order that the men may be able to recognize them and redeem them from captivity seems plausible for the reasons that these Indians are rent into a great number of divisions and that "the squaws almost never attempt any ornamental tattooing, but adhere closely to the plain regulation mark of the tribe." The Hupâ Indians have discovered another practical use for body-marks. Nearly every man has ten lines tattooed across the inside of his left arm, and these lines serve as a measurement of shell-money.


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The same non-esthetic motives for tattooing prevail in South and Central America. In Agassiz's book on Brazil we read (318) concerning the Mundurucu Indians: "Major Coutinho tells us that the tattooing has nothing to do with individual taste, but that the pattern is appointed for both


sexes, and is invariable throughout the tribe. It is connected with their caste, the limits of which are very precise, and with their religion." The tattooing "is also an indication of aristocracy; a man who neglected this distinction would not be respected in his tribe." Concerning the Indians of Guiana we read in Im Thurn (195-96) that they have small distinctive tribal marks tattooed at the corners of the mouth or on the arms. Nearly all have "indelibly excised lines" which are "scars originally made for surgical, not ornamental purposes. "Some women specially affect certain little figures, like Chinese characters, which looks as if some meaning were attached to them, but which the Indians are either unable or unwilling to explain." In Nicaragua, as Squire informs us (III., 341), the natives tattooed themselves to designate by special marks the tribes to which they belonged; and as regards Yucatan, Landa writes (§ XXI.) that as tattooing was accompanied by much pain, they thought themselves the more gallant and strong the more they indulged in it; and that those who omitted it were sneered at-which gives us still another motive for tattooing-the fear of being despised and ridiculed for not being in fashion.


Many more similar details might be given regarding the races of various parts of the world, but the limits of space forbid. But I cannot resist the temptation to add a citation from Professor Chamberlain's article on tattooing in his Things Japanese, because it admirably illustrates the diversity of the motives that led to the practice. A Chinese trader, "early in the Christian era," Chamberlain tells us, "wrote that the men all tattoo their faces and ornament their bodies with designs, differences of rank being indicated by the position and size of the patterns." "But from the dawn of regular history," Chamberlain adds,

"far down into the middle ages, tattooing seems to have been confined to criminals. It was used as branding was formerly in Europe, whence probably the contempt still felt.

for tattooing by the Japanese upper classes. From condemned desperadoes to bravoes at large is but a step. The swashbucklers of feudal times took to tattooing, apparently because some blood and thunder scene of adventure, engraven on their chest and limbs, helped to give them a terrific air when stripped for any reason of their clothes. Other classes whose avocations led them to baring their bodies in public followed the carpenters, for instance, and running grooms; and the tradition remained of ornamenting almost the entire body and limbs with a hunting, theatrical, or other showy scene." Shortly after 1868 "the government made tattooing a penal offence."

It will be noticed that in this account the fantastic notion that the custom was ever indulged in for the purpose of beautifying the body in order to attract the other sex is, as in all the other citations I have made, not even hinted at. The same is true in the summary made by Mallery of the seventeen purposes of tattooing he found. No. 13 is, indeed, "to charm the other sex;" but it is "magically," which is a very different thing from esthetically. I append the summary (418):

"1, to distinguish between free and slave, without reference to the tribe of the latter; 2, to distinguish between a high and low status in the same tribe; 3, as a certificate of bravery exhibited by supporting the ordeal of pain; 4, as marks of personal prowess, particularly; 5, as a record of achievements in war; 6, to show religious symbols; 7, as a therapeutic remedy for disease; 8, as a prophylactic against disease; 9, as a brand of disgrace; 10, as a token of a woman's marriage, or, sometimes, 11, of her marriageable condition; 12, identification of the person, not as a tribesman, but as an individual; 13, to charm the other sex magically; 14, to inspire fear in the enemy; 15, to magically render the skin impenetrable to weakness; 16, to bring good fortune, and, 17, as the device of a secret society.


Dark races, like the Africans and Australians, do not practise tattooing, because the marks would not show conspicuously on their black skins. They therefore resort to the process of raising scars by cutting the skin with flint or a

shell and then rubbing in earth, or the juice of certain plants, etc. The result is a permanent scar, and these scars are arranged by the different tribes in different patterns, on divers parts of the body. In Queensland the lines, according to Lumholtz (177), "always denote a certain order of rank, and here it depends upon age. Boys under a certain age are not decorated; but in time they receive a few cross-stripes upon their chests and stomachs. The number of stripes is gradually increased, and when the subjects have grown up, a halfmoon-shaped line is cut around each nipple." The necessity for such distinctive marks on the body is particularly great among the Australians, because they are subdivided in the most complicated ways and have an elaborate code of sexual permissions and prohibitions. Therefore, as Frazer suggests (38), "a chief object of these initiation ceremonies was to teach the youths with whom they might or might not have connection, and to put them in possession of a visible language, by means of which they might be able to communicate their totems to, and to ascertain the totems of, strangers whose language they did not understand." In Africa, too, as we have seen, the scars are used as tribal names, and for other practical purposes. Holub (7) found that the Koranna of Central South Africa has three cuts on the chest. They confessed to him that they indicated a kind of free-masonry, insuring their being well received by Koranna everywhere. On the Congo, scarifications are made on the back for therapeutic reasons, and on the face as tribal marks. (Mallery, 417; H. Ward, 136.) Bechuana priests make long scars on a warrior's thigh to indicate that he has slain an enemy in battle. (Lichtenstein, II., 331.) According to d'Albertis the people of New Guinea use some scars as a sign that they have travelled (I., 213). And so on, ad infinitum.

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In face of this imposing array of facts revealing the nonesthetic character of primitive personal "decorations," what have the advocates of the sexual selection theory to say?

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