National Geographic Photo Gallery: Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body ArtPhotographer: Chris Rainer

Click to enlarge this photograph of a Samoan man. His extensive tattoos indicate his tribal status. Man at Sunset, Samoa
Samoa is considered the epicenter of tribal tattooing in the South Pacific. Unlike the rest of Polynesia, traditional tattooing never died here. Considered an integral part of initiation into Samoan culture mainly for men, but also for women, the markings are made at puberty. The men’s tattoos often depict the traditional Samoan canoe.

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Click to view photograph of a scarred man from Burkina Faso Click to view a photograph of a tattooed man at the Burning Man Festival, Nevada. Click to see a photograph of tattooed Maori gang members, New Zealand Click to view a photograph of a tattooed yakuza gang member, Japan. Click to view a photograph of tattooed ''modern primitives'' in California. Click to view a photograph of tattooed twin Cuna Indians, Panama. Click to view a photograph of a tattooed Coptic Christian woman, Ethiopia. Click to view a photograph of a tattooed Maori Chief, New Zealand. Click to view a photograph of a Mursi woman with face markings and a lip plate in Ethiopia. Click to view a photograph of nude women with temporary tattoos bathing in Brazil. Click to view a photograph of a nude Samoan man with tribal tattooing.
Click here to learn about photographer Chris Rainier. Click here for a look at the book ''National Geographic Photographs: Then and Now.'' Click here for Web links on tattoos, piercings, and other body art Credits for National Geographic's tattoos, piercings, and body markings gallery