Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/84

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


prevails to some extent among the New Hollanders; The practice differs, however, very materially from that followed by the New Zealanders and the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands. Among the latter the face appears to be the part of the body more usually chosen for the operation, and ornamental effect seems to be the chief object aimed at, the scars being in all cases painted, and the lines being arranged and shaped with a view to render the whole as regular and picturesque as possible. The New Hollanders, on the contrary, for the most part confine the operation to the breast and back; although sometimes the arms are scarified. Unlike the New Zealanders, also, the operation is confined to the males, and does not appear to be regarded so much as an ornament as an honourable and manly distinction, rendering the individual who undergoes the process more respected among his companions, and more acceptable in the eyes of the fair sex. The style of the operation appears to differ in different tribes and localities. In some districts the tattooing consists of a series of small horizontal scars across the breast on either side; in other parts the ribs are marked by scars, in some instances as wide and as long as a man's thumb; among some tribes one arm and one side of the upper parts of the body, behind and before, are scarified. When engaged in combat they refrain, by a tacit understanding, from wounding each other on the parts of the body which are thus marked, showing thereby the high regard in which