May 1840: Fijian hair dos and tattoos

On arrival in Levuka, Charles Pickering, M.D., Member Of The United States Exploring Expedition. wrote, “I soon began to perceive the resemblance of the Feejeeans to Labillardiere’s portraits of New Caledonians; and a further acquaintance with the people presented novelty at every step.
Fijians a unique race: Points connected with their personal appearance first arrested attention ; as the presence of wigs, and the variety of colours imparted to the hair. Of these, the flaxen or ashy tint alone appeared to be the result of a process of dyeing; while the coal-black and the red were derived from the mixture of foreign substances.
Variety of fashions: Among a variety of fashions, the men sometimes wore very numerous slender braids ; and though I saw nothing to justify the report, that “the Feejeeans count the separate hairs,” the attentions bestowed on the head-dress occupy no inconsiderable portion of their lives.
No tattoos on the men: The seeming absence of tattooing was at first attributed to the circumstance that the Feejee complexion is too dark to show the markings conspicuously. It appeared, however, that the women have the practice, and cover the markings by Ornament and national designation
The Races Of Man; By Charles Pickering, M.D., Member Of The United States Exploring Expedition.

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