ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mentawai Island Tribal Tattoo

Updated on January 27, 2009

Mentawai tattoo Mythology

The Mentawai people are the indigenous inhabitants of the Mentawai Islands - a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. In Mentawai mythology, a young boy transformed himself into the first Sago tree so that his people would never run out of food. This Sago tree is one of the most revered symbols of Mentawai people's religion, Jarayak, and this tree image is tattooed on the body of every medicine man. One of the main aims of the Mentawai's tattoos is to help them achieve perfect harmony with the spirits of the forest.

 

Mentawai Designs

The Sago tree is the most prolific of the Metawai designs and usually consists of stripes on the legs represent the trunk, long dotted lines running down the arms evoke the branches, patterns on the hands and ankles to suggest the bark, and curved lines on the chest representing the sago flower.

Mentawai's tattoos served other functions as well as venerating their religion - tattoos show ethnicity, and where a person was from, their status and profession eg, hunter, shaman, tribal member, as well as to celebrate the skills of the maker, and the 'mana' or spiritual force of the group.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Traditional Methods

Tattoos are seen as sacred and are therefore best performed by tribal shaman known as 'sikeireis', whose job it is to bridge the world of man with the spirit world. Tattoos are hand-tapped into the subject using the wood of the indigenous Karai tree. The Ink is often made from some form of carbon mixed with sugar cane juice. Tattoo lines are passed over several times to ensure string black lines.

According to some sources, a man must construct an 'uma', or Metawai traditional house before he could be tattooed. During this rite, the man would not be allowed to look at women, not allowed to have sex, and observe taboos around drinking and dining. Several pigs would also be slaughtered. At the climax of the rite, there would be a journey in a flat-bottomed skiff containing up to 40 passengers to Siberut island - believed to be the place of origin of the Metawai people, and only when all these people, after braving the huge waves, returned safely from the island of Siberut with beads unique to that island, could the members of the tribe be tattooed.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Mentawai Islands 

      8 years ago

      Mentawai are also acknowledged as Mentawai as well as Mentawai are the indigenous inhabitant of the Mentawai Islands, which is a province in the West Sumatra, of Indonesia. They dwell in a semi- wandering hunter as well as the gatherer standard of living in the coastal as well as the tropical forest surroundings of the islands.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)