According to the Samoan mythology the starting point of the tatau or tattoo in Samoa is recited in a myth about twin sisters called – Tilafaiga and Taema. The myth is sung in a form of a song. The sisters swam from Fiji to Samoa carrying a basket full of tattoo tools and other tattoo related stuff. While they swam they kept singing a song which said that only women get tattooed. However, as they approached the village of Falealupo on the island of Savai’i, they came across clam under-waters and dived down in it deeper. When they came up, their song had changed, the lyrics now said that only men get the tattoos and not women. This song is known in Samoa as the Pese o le Pe’a or Pese o le Tatau.
Hence the Samoan tattoos are mainly associated with men. The traditional name given to the tattoo is Pe’a, only for men. It was initially called malofie. The tattoo covers the whole body from the waist to the knees, covering the buttocks too. In the ancient days it was a tough task to get these tattoos done and was a very painful procedure. Thanks to the modernized equipments getting these tattoos have become much easier and the designs come in much smaller sizes to suit the requirements.
Image Courtesy Tattoos Time