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Traditional Hawaiian Tattooing: Search Strategy

Selected annotated bibliography on traditional Hawaiian tattooing.

Links to Libraries and Resources Mentioned Here

Search Strategy

To identify the variety of sources listed in the guide, numerous searches were completed using the University of Hawaii's online catalog. Subject term searches included:

  • Tattooing -- Hawaii
  • Hawaii -- Social life and customs
  • Body marking -- Hawaii
  • Tattooing -- History
  • Tattooing -- Pictorial works

Key word searches were also completed in the catalog, using the names of key figures in the resurgence of Hawaiian tattooing: Keone Nunes and Tricia Allen. Hawaiian language key words were searched for the slave caste in ancient Hawaiʻi “kauwa” and "kākau uhi" for traditional Hawaiian tattooing. The Hawaiʻi Pacific Journal Index (HPJI) and existing bibliographies were examined for difficult to locate items. (When searching the catalog or HPJI, do not use diacritical marks in your search.)

Online databases for the Hawaiʻi State Library, Bishop Museum Archives and Library, the Hawaii State Archives, Hawaiian Historical Society and Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library were broadly searched using the terms "tattoo" "traditional Hawaiian tattooing" and "kākau uhi."

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (BPBM), along with their archives and library, holds many of the world's best examples of primary source materials on the subject. One hundred and two records were returned on a search of the BPBM ethnology database. This generates a listing of collection items mostly identified under the object type "Tattoo Implement." This is the greatest resource of artifacts related to traditional Hawaiian tattooing. Twelve records were returned on a search of the BPBM Hawaiian Ethnographic Notes database. Fifteen records were generated in a report of photographs in the BPBM Archives when searching under keyword "tattoo" and "Photographs" collection.

Google books was searched using key words: "traditional Hawaiian tattooing" and "traditional Hawaii tattoo".

Sources in the bibliographies of Tricia Allen and Kenneth Emory's publications on Hawaiian tattooing were studied. Finally, the indexes for books on the Hawaiian Collection reference shelf at Hamilton Library were searched manually.