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A Māori Chief with tattoos (moko) seen by Cook and his crew.

A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.


  • Scarifying and tattooing are going out of fashion. Many of the young men once so proud of their “ichi” marks, would gladly be relieved of [their marks]. What is a matter of pride, when among his own clansmen, becomes a reproach, because of the ridicule and contempt which is meted out to him in other parts of the country.
    • G.T. Basden (2013). Among the Ibos of Nigeria: 1912. p. 333
  • Muhammad forbade the custom of the idolaters of Arabia to prick the hands of their women and to rub the punctures over with wood, indigo, and other colours.
    • Hughes, T. P. (1986). Dictionary of Islam: : being a cyclopaedia of the doctrines, rites, ceremonies, and customs together with the technical and theological terms, of the Muhammadan religion. Entry TATTOOING. (Mishkat, book xii. ch. i. Pt. 1.)
  • You must not make cuts in your flesh for a dead person, and you must not make tattoo markings on yourselves. I am Jehovah.
  • “Allah has cursed those women who tattooed and who have themselves been tattooed, those who pluck hair from their faces and those who make spaces between their teeth for beautification changing what God has created” (5301).
    • Sahih Muslim. Quoted from Ram Swarup, Understanding Islam through Hadis, 1983. [1]

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