FitDiver® SPECIAL EDITION May 2015 - Page 41

Surfing, Captain Cook's Journal 1778 A.D.

Excerpt from The Hawaiian Tattoo, "Hawaiian Officer"

by Arago, Hawaii State Archives photo.

Kakau (Tattoo) Art

So many influences have touched the Hawaiian Islands it seems there are multiple timelines of culture. But a closer look reveals the resilience of ancient traditions such as the art of tattooing. While the symbols post contact through modern day have changed and are often confused with other island cultures, deep meaning remains in the practice and art of Kakau, the Hawaiian word for tattooing.

Divers interested in ancient Hawaiian tattoo art will enjoy this short read by P.F. Kwiatkowski. The Hawaiian Tattoo includes illustrations by Tom O'o Mehau.

The designs shown in the background are recreations of ancient patterns that were found in sketches of early explorers like Captain Cook.

The book shares ancient techniques and explains some of the geometric designs like this one worn by a Hawaiian Officer in an image from the Hawaii State Archives.