Kotzebue 1821; Finsch 1893:428; Erdland 1914:21. [back]


On the whole, black and white photography, the only photographic means available at the time, was not able to bring about the colour difference between the blue-black of the tattoo and the medium-brown of the skin colour of the Marshallese.--Schneider (1891:47), for example, depicts a Marshallese family. One of them is a heavily tattooed young adult male, but the photograph is too unclear to make out details. [back]


Finsch 1893:428. [back]


Chamisson 1986. [back]


Kr░mer (1906:156): menilou; Erdland: meniloub, translated by Kr░mer as men in laub = thing of the chest. Hasebe: mennilaub [the chestĘs thing"].(Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405).--In the modern dictionary, men is the chest, in of; from [construct particle]; and ob is the chest (Abo et al. 1976:205; 229). Contracted to one word this would be meninob, without an "l" in it. It seems unlikely that Erdland, Kr░mer and Hasebe should have heard an "l" where there was none. Thus, another reading would be menin leob, where menin le- is a gift (with the directional particle) and ob is the chest, thus representing something like "gift to the chest". [back]


Erdland 1914:20.--Marshallese canoes could reach up to 100 feet in overall length and were capable of transporting up to 40 people. The traditional canoe building in the Marshall Islands distinguishes three major canoe types based on their size and function, walap, tipnol and korkor.

The walap, a large sailing canoe, reaching up to 30m in length and able to carry up to 50 people and food supplies. These canoes served mainly for inter-atoll voyaging. The tipnol, a mid-sized sailing canoe, capable of carrying up to a dozen persons. Built for travel and fishing in the lagoons but also short and medium distance voyaging over open water and fishing in the ocean. The korkor, a small rowing canoe, sometimes equipped with a sail, designed to carry up to three people. The korkor was used solely for fishing and transportation in the protected waters of the lagoons. On calm days it is also used for fishing on the oceanside reefs. Traditionally, within these three types of canoes, there are five recognized designs, the main difference of which is the bottom the profile of the main hull (wa), having a bearing on the canoes speed and cargo-carrying capacity. These designs are: Mwijitbok, Taburbur, Malmel, Tojeik. and Jekad.

The canoes were made entirely from locally available materials, the main requirement being breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.) or a driftlog for hull, and hull parts which have been sewn onto the hull to heighten the boards. A large outrigger float, also of breadfruit, is placed on one side of the hull. An assortment of other trees was used for the remaining parts. (Alessio 1989; 1990; 1991; Alexander 1902; Browning 1972; Erdland 1914; Finsch 1887; Hambruch 1912; Hernsheim 1887; Hornell 1936; Jenkins 1946; Kr░mer 1905; Kr░mer & Nevermann 1938; Wright 1948). [back]


Kr░mer: dedd; Grľsser: titt. Hasebe: dut, tutu, dedd [nipple] encompases the entire lower chest area including the nipples. (Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405). ittět (tětět dialect)Ínipple (Abo et al. 1976:79). [back]


According to Erdland (1914:20) these are "vom Land ablaufended Děnungen," i.e. ocean waves which have been reflected or refracted from land. In Marshallese navigation, these waves are called joor in okme.

For Marshallese wave pattern navigation, see Browning 1972; Bryan 1964; Davenport 1960; 1964; deBrum 1962; Erdland 1914; Goodenough 1951; Hager 1886; Hambruch 1912; Hines 1952; Joyce 1908; Kr░mer 1905; 1906; Kr░mer & Nevermann 1938; Laubenfels 1950a; 1950b; Lewis 1972; Playdon 1967; Schěck 1902; Winkler 1899a; 1899b. [back]


Kr░mer: 1904 gidju; Erdland 1906: kiju; Hasebe 1932: gaju, gachu. According to HasebeĘs informants gaju is not the general term for "mast", but only refers to the vertical boundary lines of the vertical central ornament field below the sternum. Hasebe (1932) points out that tattoo in Yapese is called gachau, and that the Marshallese term gaju may be a loan term. (Erdland 1914:20; Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405). The modern dictionary provides two spelling of the word "mast". In the Ralik Chain it is called kiju (Abo et al. 1976:143), while in the Ratak Chain it is called kaju (ibid. 128). [back]


Kr░mer: ░ukad; Hasebe: ░ugat, ░ngat, ░ukad. Hasebe explains it from o [tattoo] kadu [side]. eo- tattoo; kat side (Abo et al. 1976:64; 134). [back]


According to irooj Raigiren of Majuro, this side tattoo is called lije, which corresponds with Kr░merĘs lidge, a term Kr░mer identifies for a tattoo motif, a zigzag line. [back]


Kr░mer: dene meme garoběd. Erdland 1914:20. [back]


Hasebe: ingijar. [back]


Based on HasebeĘs informant from Kwajalein Atoll (Radju, "Ladju"?). [back]


Based on information by Irooj Raigiren of Majuro Atoll. [back]


Hasebe: aber, which means bottom of a box or boundary. Also used to define the border on a men's back tattoo.-Hasebe's collection of data occurred too late to give too much weight to this discrepancy. It may reflect a regional variation in terminology between the Ralik and the Ratak Chain (for dialect variation see Bender 1963), but may also simply be the result of incomplete information in the 1930s or simple misunderstandings of the differences between motifs and ornament fields. [back]


Kr░mer 1904: vaurog, waurok; Erdland (1906:178): wauro;k Hasebe 1932: wourok, waurok, vaurog.Abo et al. (1976:37): bor×kÍto cap it off, to cover it. (transitive form of Boorok). [back]

[153] After Kr░mer 1904, the tattoo is possibly that of Kabua ýthe Greatţ. Kabua was the irooj laplap of the Ralik Chain. He died on 4 July 1910 and is interred at the irooj cemetery at Bouj, Alinglaplap Atoll (cf. Spennemann 1992c:I145). [back]

[154] After Kr░mer 1904. [back]

[155] Kr░mer: ooa, oa; Erdland (1906:58; 179): wo o (Neck tattoo). Hasebe: wong░ng░ni, wongnienie(a)ni. Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405. [back]

[156] Erdland 1914:20. [back]

[157] Hasebe 1932. [back]

[158] After Hasebe 1932. [back]

[159] According to informants to Hasebe this border is either called elonga or aber. The term aber or ab░r, as reported by Hasebe, is a Marshallese term (apar) for the border of a mat or a road (Abo et al. 1976). For the apar in mat weaving see discussion in Kr░mer & Nevermann (1938:155 footnote). apar is also used as a term to define a line separating two ornament fields on the menĘs chest tattoo. [back]

[160] Kr░mer: ░odalap; a'odalap; Erdland: ░odalap (tattoo of the shoulderblade according to Erdland [1906:83];. Hasebe: ░utalap. Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405. The literal translation of the name for this ornament field would be: "tattoo of the large sanitary napkin" (eo tattoo, te sanitary napkin, lap large). Telap is an island on Majuro Atoll, with the meaning of "large sanitary napkin" (Abo et al. 1986: 580). Also pers. comm. A.Capelle. In the context that this ornament field is said to represent the sea (Erdland 1914:20) this text interpretation makes little sense.˛According to Kr░mer 1904 the word "Dalap" means "large, strong, powerful." [back]

[161] Kr░mer 1904. [back]

[162] Kr░mer: djur. Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405. In view of the general similarities of tattoing motifs with motifs occuring in mat weaving it is worth noting that mat weaving has a motif jur×n-okme (Kr░mer: djur in okme), which represents a forked post to rest canoes on land and above ground (Kr░mer & Nevermann 1938:161; also: pers. comm. A.Capelle). Another interpretation sees it as joor in okme, which is a term from the Marshallese navigation which describes waves created by interference of the weaker westward swells with the stronger eastward swells. These waves run at 45╬ angles back out to sea in a northeasterly and southeasterly direction. [back]

[163] Kr░mer: djur en rilib. joor in dilep = joor˛post; in˛of, from; dilep˛bakbone, spine. It is worth noting that there is also a mat weaving motif called dilep (Kr░mer: dilĘlep; interpreted as dildil elap, large dildil [Kr░mer & Nevermann 1938:161], wherein tiltil stands for ýembroidery; spotted; dottedţ [Abo et al. 1976). [back]

[164] Kr░mer: djur en lemľlik. According to A.Capelle joor in lemolik allows two interpretations. Either as "Post of  Mister Forbidden Oceanside'" (joor˛post in˛of, from, for (construct particle), le˛Sir, Mister (vocative masculine singular), mo ˛taboo, forbidden, restricted to chiefs, lik˛oceanside); or as "Post 'Mister oceanside of the house'" (joor˛post in˛of, from, for (construct particle), le˛Sir, Mister (vocative masciline singular), mo ˛house, building (possesive classifier); lik˛oceanside). The latter interpretation would be well in keeping with the dichotomy of lagoonside and oceanside maintained in traditional Marshallese land tenure. This dichotomy is also reflected in the spatial layout of the people attending the tattooing ceremony. [back]

[165] Kr░mer: djur en l░mar. According to A.Capelle joor in lemoar is in its meaning clearly juxtaposed to the above vertical group, joor in lemolik. As above, joor in lemoar allows two interptetations. Either as ýPost of  Mister Forbidden LagoonsideĘţ (joor˛post in˛of, from, for (construct particle), le˛Sir, Mister (vocative masculine singular), mo ˛taboo, forbidden, restricted to chiefs, ar˛lagoonside); ; or as ýPost  Mister lagoonside of the houseĘý (joor˛post in˛of, from, for (construct particle), le˛Sir, Mister (vocative masciline singular), mo ˛house, building (possesive classifier); ar˛lagoonside). [back]

[166] Erdland 1914:20. [back]

[167] joor in dilep is a term for a location where the intersections of the small crosswaves (dilep) point in straight line (ýpostţ joor) to the island. The other two units then, could be re-read as joor in jimolik and joor in jimear. [back]

[168] For the terms see references given in footnote 143. [back]

[169] Kr░mer: dogorak; Grľsser: tokorak; Erdland: togerak, dogorak Hasebe: tokorak. [back]

[170] For this reason Kr░mer terms this ornament field "Feuerhakenfl░che", or "firehook area" (Kr░mer 1904; 1906:405.; Kr░mer & Nevermann 1938:93). The fire hook is necessary to push aside the hot stones when cooking in the earthoven (um). [back]

[171] After Kr░mer 1904: 22 figure 28. For a similar back tattoo, see Photograph No. 1976.386.06, Photo Collection of the Bernice P.Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. [back]

[172] After Hasebe 1932. [back]

[173] Kr░mer 1904; Erdland 1914:20; Hernsheim 1887. [back]

[174] Kr░mer: ░odenburu. Hasebe: ░odenburu (from ░o [tattoo] en [of] buru [neck]). According to ErdlandĘs dictionary (1906:58; 179) the neck tattoo is called woo, which according to Kr░mer is a term for the back triangle [back]

[175] The Adam's apple was left free, as it is an area where tattooig would be very painful. In addition, given the type of traditional tattooing with mallet and chisel, permanent damage could be inflicted to the respiratory system if the area would be struck too hard.˛The story about the father attempting to kill his son during the tatooing ceremony needs to be seen in this context (see Mitchell 1973:168-170). [back]

[176] Erdland 1914:20. [back]

[177] Kr░mer (1904): ioumedj; Erdland (1906): ░umej, ░omej; Steinbach: eumedj. Hasebe: aumej, iomej, enmej (from ░o [tattoo] and meju [face]). [back]

[178] Kr░mer 1904; Erdland 1914:20. [back]

[179] deBrum Photo collection, Alele Museum Neg. No. J713. [back]

[180] Drawn after a photographs of irooj Moses (Hasebe). [back]

[181] Wood 1875:204. Observed on Mile and Nadididk (Knox) Atolls in the southern Ratak Chain. [back]

[182] After Hasebe 1932. [back]

[183] Kr░mer: kanung. [back]

[184] "Armbands" according to Erdland 1914:20. See also Richard (1957a: opposite page 341) for a post-World War II picture of a Marshallese man from Arno with a double upper arm tattoo. [back]

[185] Hasebe was given two names by two informants, a Nakapu and a Radju, both from Kwajalein Atoll: luko (lukwo) and rojaniba (rojaĎpe). The latter, rojaĎpe (Erdland: rojenba), is strictly speaking a feather bunch attached to the upper arm and has the general meaning of arm ornament. The former, lukwo (Erdland: lugo). [back]

[186] Erdland (1906:180): wunne (thigh tattoo). [back]

[187] Kr░mer 1904; Hasebe 1932; Kubary 1887:95. [back]

[188] Kubary 1887:95; Erdland 1914:20. [back]

[189] Kr░mer: inebělleběll; Erdland: inbuilbuil. [back]

[190] Hernsheim 1880; Kr░mer 1904; Kubary 1887:95. [back]

[191] After Hernsheim 1880. [back]

[192] Kr░mer: doadu. [back]

[193] Kr░mer saw it only on the back of irooj laplap.i.Persons, tattoed:Kabua ;(đ 4 July 1910). Kr░mer 1904:22 fig 28; 27. This type of tattoo was not seen by Hasebe in 1932. [back]

[194] Kr░mer 1906:409 [back]

[195] See for example drawing of a tattooed Marshallese man in Kubary (1887:95) or photograph of Kabua "the Great" exhibited in the Alele Museum. [back]