July 17, 2008

Meaning of Tobian tatoo? Question from Mokodong Bismarck

Hi my name is mokodong bismarck daughter of Maria and Felix...I writing to u to ask if you or any tobian knows the meaning of our tobian tatoo? It come's to my sense's that all this event going on back in Palau the elder draw a tattoo on the younger when they go out and dance the tobian dance and showing the tatto that that they have on their body? Does the dance show the true meaning of our ancestor's tattoo, or is it just something that tell everybody that our ancestors were warriors of something important? People been asking what does our tattoo stands for? I can't respond to their question cause i don't know what it really means to me as a tobian girl? So if u know what it means please do tell me or post it on FOTI's blog so all tobian can answer my question. Cause i think everybody from tobi should know what it means? And why do they have to do it?

well than that's all im asking and i'll be more appreciate if i know what it means so as the young generations too. thank you and hope for the best...god bless:)


1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Hello there Miss Mokodong Bismarck,
I've always wondered about those tattoos. Here's what I know: long ago getting a full tattoo was a painful but important part of becoming a grown-up man or woman. People who had no tattoo or only a partial one were not really treated as though they were serious adults. Girls supposedly had a special tattoo of a bird on their upper legs that only their husbands ever could see.

I never heard that the designs had special meanings or that they were special to each clan. It took many months or maybe even years to get a complete tattoo and some people even got sick from infection. I don't know this but I suspect that the process of getting a tattoo was a little like having a canoe made or getting medical treatment if you were sick. For both those things unless you were a close relative of the person with the skill and knowledge who was helping you, your family was responsible for giving that person food while they were tattooing you. So if you didn't have people who would help you by feeding the tattoo artist, you were probably not going to be that important when you were an adult.

These days, it seems to me that old fashioned tattoos or fake tattoos are about pride in tradition and in being Tobian, especially if its your kid dancing in public. I also think that it might have something to do with being beautiful, and that was probably the case long ago as well.

Have you read the story about the American sailors were shipwrecked on Tobi in the 1830s and were tattooed? You can read it on FOTI and there is a lot of other stuff there about tattoos also. Just type the word TATTOO into the search box on the home page and watch what happens.

Best wishes to you and please say hi to your folks. Peter Black