The Traditional Tatau Experience
The tools of the tufuga ta tatau comprise a set of serrated wild boars tooth combs (au), which were lashed to small tortoise shell fragments which were in turn lashed to a short wooden handle; a tapping mallet (sausau) for driving the combs into the skin.
Various sizes of “au” combs were painstakingly fashioned by filing sections of boar tusk with tiny abrasive files knapped from volcanic flint, chert, and/or basalt rock. The “sausau” mallet was shaped from a length of hardwood approximately as long as the forearm and about the diameter of the thumb.
All still hand crafted by the Tafunga (Pili Mo’o) in order to preserve the sacred traditions and values of tool fabrication.
Receiving traditional ink is a very personal and deep experience regardless of which polynesian style. Pili Mo’o Tatau has been known for his preservation of the tradition not only in the physical elements of tattooing but also the symbolic meaning of the patterns and their representation and philosophy.
Consultation is largely important in a sense that each piece in unique and personal. It is not flash art and no two tattoos created are alike. All of Pili Mo’o Tatau’s art varies as does the people who wear his art. Coming with an intention and vision of what you want your piece to represent is just the beginning…
Finding out who you were, who you are, and who you aspire to become all while incorporating relative patterns and movements is also his gift. Energetically everyone leaves having learned something whether it be about themselves or about the tradition in addition to an powerful and important piece, and the tradition is quite the experience waiting to be had.