Yet again the Andamanese can be grouped according to certain salient characteristics: the forms of the bows and arrows, of the canoes, of ornaments and utensils, of tattooing and of language.
Tattooing is of two distinct varieties.
They have long been celebrated for their tattooing, the designs being most elaborate.
The custom of tattooing is universal.
There are two main divisions, the Lao Pong Dam ("Black Paunch Laos"), so-called from their habit of tattooing the body from the waist to the knees, and the Lao Pong Kao ("White Paunch Laos") who do not tattoo.
Lao tattooing is of a most elaborate kind.
Of this group of people, among whom may be named the Yao, Yao Yin, Lanten, Meo, Musur (or Muhso) and Kaw, perhaps the best known and most like the Lao are the Lu - both names meaning originally "man" - who have in many cases adopted a form of Buddhism (flavoured strongly by their natural respect for local spirits as well as tattooing) and other relatively civilized customs, and have forsaken their wandering life among the hills for a more settled village existence.
Secondly, the application of extraneous matter to the body, as painting and tattooing, and the raising of ornamental scars often by the introduction of foreign matter into flesh-wounds (this practice belongs partly to the first category also).
Tattooing is almost entirely confined to the women.
Tattooing and painting the body were well-nigh universal.
They'll be tattooing her face on their arms, and I'll be bound they'll all think she was christened after Nelson's ship."
They have from very early times been resorted to as a means of staining the hair of a dark colour, and they are the base of the tattooing dye of the Somali women.3 The gall-making Hymenoptera include, besides the Cynipidae proper, certain species of the genus Eurytoma (Isosoma, Walsh) and family Chalcididae, 'e.g.'
The tattooing of their bodies is less artistic than that of the New Zealanders, and much more limited than among some of the other islanders.
Tattooing generally prevailed among the men, different patterns being followed in different groups of islands.
The upper class are the keepers of traditions, boat-builders, leaders of expeditions; tattooing is generally done by them, the amount increasing with a man's rank; the custom here still has definite religious associations.
Under this head fall the following: - Fasting, or abstention from certain meats and drinks; denial of sexual instinct; subjection of the body to physical discomforts, such as nakedness, vigils, sleeping on the bare ground, tattooing, deformation of skull, teeth, feet, &c., vows of silence to be observed throughout life or during pilgrimages, avoidance of baths, of hair-cutting and of clean raiment, living in a cave; actual self-infliction of pain, by scourging, branding, cutting with knives, wearing of hair shirts, fire-walking, burial alive, hanging up of oneself by hooks plunged into the skin, suspension of weights by such hooks to the tenderer parts of the body, self-mutilation and numerous other, often ingenious, modes of torture.
Tattooing is common among the poor and in villages, and is seen among the upper classes.
They practise tattooing, and show Papuan influence by distending the ear-lobes by the insertion of wooden disks.
Raised cicatrices usually take the place of tattooing with the darker races.
Its main features may be summed as follows: - a purely agricultural life, with the plantain, yam and manioc (the last two of American origin) as the staple food; cannibalism common; rectangular houses with ridged roofs; scar-tattooing; clothing of bark-cloth or palm-fibre; occasional chipping or extraction of upper incisors; bows with strings of cane, as the principal weapons, shields of wood or wickerwork; religion, a primitive form of fetishism with the belief that death is due to witchcraft; ordeals, secret societies, the use of masks and anthropomorphic figures, and wooden gongs.
Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called.