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Two Motu women with back tattooing, ca. 1915. Kaiakaro designs on the spine or waist comprise an abstract "star" motif like a Maltese or St. Andrews cross. The motif is related to flight and may also represent the brilliant colors of certain butterflies from the region. Gado tattoos appear on the upper shoulders and buttocks and resemble serpents slithering downwards and horizontally.

Two Motu women with back tattooing, ca. 1915. Kaiakaro designs on the spine or waist comprise an abstract "star" motif like a Maltese or St. Andrews cross. The motif is related to flight and may also represent the brilliant colors of certain butterflies from the region. Gado tattoos appear on the upper shoulders and buttocks and resemble serpents slithering downwards and horizontally.

Hula Facial tattooing, ca. 1915. The two fringed parallel lines extending from the corners of the mouth towards the ears are a centipede motif. Among the Motu, this pattern is usually tattooed on the cheeks of a chief's child. The stepped designs (lakatoi) that appear on the girl's face proclaim that her father participated in several successful trading voyages.

Hula Facial tattooing, ca. 1915. The two fringed parallel lines extending from the corners of the mouth towards the ears are a centipede motif. Among the Motu, this pattern is usually tattooed on the cheeks of a chief's child. The stepped designs (lakatoi) that appear on the girl's face proclaim that her father participated in several successful trading voyages.

Africa | Village chief Bameka with two wives.  Bamileke region, Cameroon.  1930 | ©Paul Dieterle

Africa | Village chief Bameka with two wives. Bamileke region, Cameroon. 1930 | ©Paul Dieterle

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