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Nature volume 142, page 659 (08 October 1938) | Download Citation



MRS. HANDY, who in 1920-21 accompanied her husband, Dr. Craighill Handy, on the Bayard Dominick expedition of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum of Honolulu to the Marquesas, there devoted herself to the study of the tattooing for which the islanders have always been noted. Her observation of this practice, highly important both in its ritual and in its decorative aspects, has afforded her an exceptional insight into the artistic activities and conceptions of the people, of which she here gives an admirable summary, while analysing the highly conventionalized designs into their component motives. Of these motives the most important is the human form, a logical outcome of the idea, inherent in Marquesan thought, that to make anything is an act of creation, standing in definite evolutionary relation to the first act of procreation, by which Alea, the celestial father, fertilized One—u'i, the earth-mother.

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