Poll

Do you think that there are/should be tribes on Pandora which practice Tattooing?

I'm undecided
6 (50%)
No
1 (8.3%)
I'm undecided
5 (41.7%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?  (Read 6634 times)

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Offline Eana Unil

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We do know that at least some Na'vi tribes on Pandora use bodymodifications (at least piercings and body-/warpainting) as a tool of cultural affiliation and even some sort of communication:

As someone, who has always been interested in Tattoos and affiliated bodymods and is about to become a Tattoo Artist herself (I'm a trainee already), I've been asking myself for quite some time now if (some) Na'vi (tribes) would/do even practice the Art of Tattooing - or even Cutting/Scarification.
And as a comic artist who's making a comic about at least two (fictional) Na'vi tribes on Pandora, I've been asking myself, if there are or should be tribes, which practice the art of Tattooing - and, even, if it would be possible at all.



On Earth there are and have been several tribes and groups which use Tattoos as a part of their cultural identity, such as Samoans, Maori on New Zealand, japanese Samurai, the old Egyptians - just to mention a few ... and most use piercings, and some, which is even more remarkable, scarification (see the "Crocodile Tribe" on Papa New Guinea e.g.).
Tattoos and Bodymodification always have been a broad spread part of human culture, identity and evolution. But how about the Na'vi on Pandora?

I wouldn't hesitate and yell, "Why the hell not?!", but then again I have to remember a few things. Regarding to everything we know about Na'vi skin by now, I have to ask myself, if Tattoos would even be possible.



Scarifications are possible, Na'vi have daggers, knifes and other sharp edges which they can cut skin with (we know and have seen that). ("Burnings" are also possible, Na'vi know and use fire and aren't fireproof, hrh.) Tattoos, on the other hand...

Na'vi skin is thicker and more robust than human skin. Which means, that you couldn't easily tattoo Na'vi skin (or at least not as "easy" as human skin). You'd have to have strong needles, in order to get through the layers of skin and get the ink inside/between of them.
But, we also do know, that Na'vi can't/don't use metal for anything. Which means that they'd have to use other materials than metal for possible Tattoo needles, such as (animal) bone, wood, stone or sharpened minerals/crystals/whatever they use for daggers and such. But due to the fact that Na'vi skin is pretty thick, you'd have to create strong but as thin as possible needles, which wouldn't break or splinter.
And you could possibly use only one of those needles for Tattooing, like (ancient) cultures on earth did, unlike modern Tattoo needles, which are made of very tiny, thin metal needles, of which 2 - 19 (or more) are soldered together.

Would Na'vi be able to create such needles?

If yes, they'd be able to use ancient tattoo techniques, like dotting the skin over and over again with one single ink covered needle, or applying an ink-soaked thread to the needle and dotting the skin with it - or pulling this thread through the skin with the help of the needle, like "sewing". But this could only result in more or less "coarse" tattoos, way not as detailed as "modern" tattoos on earth. In my opinion only more or less coarse patterns and simplified images (made out of lines and simple geometrical structures) would be possible.
(On the other hand... it's stated in the movie, that at least the bones of Na'vi are "reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber" - so would they be able to create thin-enough-needles out of bone? If yes, maybe more detailed images/patterns would indeed be possible.)

If not, they could still tattoo their skin, with the help of sharp blades and ink/color; they'd have to cut the skin slightly and rub the ink into the wound, then let it heal and hope that the healing scar has kept enough of the ink in order to look as was intended (this was also practiced on earth and would maybe allow similar, but scarred results).

Or they could have invented another possible way of getting the ink/color between the layers of skin and make it stay there - if so, I'd be interested to learn about it :P ... but I couldn't think of any other way.



However, if they found ways to tattoo Na'vi skin or not, it's still a matter of the color/complexion of their skin (and also their a bit darker skin patterns), if the tattoos would look good or even be visible at all (depending on complexion, ink/colors and method used) - and thus worthwhile.
We also know, that Na'vi have quite a dark complexion - the lightest complexion is still something between medium and light-ish blue. The darkest complexion is somewhere between full blue and purple.

Let's assume that Na'vi would mostly use black ink/color for tattooing; even on medium blue skin the black would look more or less "pale" and not full, especially after the Tattoo is fully healed or even some years old. Plus (!) there are the Na'vi skin patterns. They could "disrupt" the look of the Tattoo or vice versa. But this is also something the Na'vi could take advantage of, in order to emphasize their natural skin patterns and/or Tattoos.



Someone once wrote inside another forum, that in his opinion, it would be highly unlikely or even unrealistic, that Na'vi would use/create Tattoos as part of their cultural identity and living. I clearly have to disagree. It's more than obvious that the Na'vi (like we humans) seem to feel the need to embellish their bodies with the help of bodymodifications and make statements/show their affiliation to their tribe, show their spirituality, e.g. with the help of bodypaintings. I don't see why Na'vi wouldn't be able/willing to use Tattoos (or even Cuttings/Brandings) for the same purpose.



What do you think? I'd be very interested (as a Tattoo Artist-to-be, the creator of Layon Yayo and a huge Na'vi fan) in reading your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 12:20:14 pm »
Interesting! First of all, we all don''t know that. hrh ;D I've looked at some screenshots of various Na'vi and I couldn't see / observe any tattoos on their bodies. I think, it is absolutely possible that some other Na'vi clans have tattoos on their bodies. I must mention here, that the three Na'vi clans we've saw in the movie havn't tattoos (I couldn't see anyone with it). Probably, tattoo is unusual in their culture but not warpaint, bodypaint or piercing.
I think, I collide a Cameronian territory here, but this don't keep me to speculate a bit. The question is, do they need a tattoo? They have a natural "tattoo" like the tanhì pattern at their skin or that skin pattern like tiger stripes. We human have tattoos because our skin havn't any tanhì-like pattern.

If they do tattoos, I'm pretty sure they would use bone or crystals for their skin. :)

Well, that just my thoughts...

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Offline Eana Unil

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 12:34:45 pm »
Ma Tìtstewan,
thank you for your thoughts on this! I find them quite interesting :)
Interesting! First of all, we all don''t know that. hrh ;D I've looked at some screenshots of various Na'vi and I couldn't see / observe any tattoos on their bodies. I think, it is absolutely possible that some other Na'vi clans have tattoos on their bodies. I must mention here, that the three Na'vi clans we've saw in the movie havn't tattoos (I couldn't see anyone with it). Probably, tattoo is unusual in their culture but not warpaint, bodypaint or piercing.
I haven't seen any Tattoos, Scarifications or other bodymods either, but maybe we will in the future films/novels? I'd hope so.

Quote
The question is, do they need a tattoo? They have a natural "tattoo" like the tanhì pattern at their skin or that skin pattern like tiger stripes. We human have tattoos because our skin havn't any tanhì-like pattern.
Very interesting question I haven't thought about yet.
In my opinion humans "need(ed)" tattoos for very various reasons (but let's skip modern Tattoos and the reason people have for them, please) - not only because our skin hasn't got any natural pattern(s). Looking on ancient human cultures which practiced the Art of Tattooing, they did it because of more or less the same reasons Na'vi are doing bodypaintings or pierce their bodies (cultural/tribal identity/affiliation, achievements in life, memories, spiritual reasons, medical reasons, etc.).
Look at the ceremonial bodypainting Jake got for his Dreamhunt, his Uniltaron. Of course it's made of white color, but it clearly dominates over his natural skin pattern. Although Na'vi skin patterns and their tanhì are quite unique and "popping", they're covered by paint now and then and here and there anyway. Maybe Na'vi don't see their skin patterns and tanhì like we humans do - maybe they barely take any notice of them, because they're too "normal" for them? If you know what I mean.

What if they even wanted to cover or "break"/disrupt their natural skin patterns and/or tanhì with the help of paint (whether on or under the skin) or scars?

Also, maybe Na'vi don't only know Warpaintings or ceremonial bodypaintings, but also medical/spiritual bodypaintings, piercings or even Tattoos like some cultures on Earth did/do?!

What if they could use glow-in-the-dark-color (natural bio-luminescent pigments made out of certain plants for example) for bodypaintings and Tattoos? What if they would use it to expand their tanhì-patterns or whatnot?



Very highly hypothetical thoughts, but I like to imagine things and speculating about them. :P

Offline Taronyu Leleioae

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 01:03:57 pm »
I'm of mixed feelings/opinions here.  The Na'vi have a strong tradition of using hair beads, chokers (Tsu'tey), arm bands, and the head piece of the Eastern Sea Tribe olo'eyktan.  Plus lots of body paint.  Plus, at least for a film image, the Tribe of the Eastern Sea has an engraved/stenciled (ikran?) pattern on the leather vest/top that many of them wear.  So clearly, if we use that top as a valid/approved example, then the Na'vi are using different means to identify their tribe/loyalty.  But that does not eliminate tattoos, of course.

Where I'm of mixed opinion.  The Na'vi pride themselves in being (for survival and the thriving of the tribe), expert hunters.  They already have a body that is in harmony with nature.  That would include their striped markings.  To tattoo themselves, would break or alter that harmony, not to mention give a minute possibility of making them "more" visible to hunted game disrupting their pattern.  Yes, the Na'vi have adornments (Neytiri's ear, the warrior's bone through nose), but I almost "see" those as an addition and honour, rather than changing their skin/look?

I do not recall ever seeing a Na'vi tattoo in the film.  As Tìtstewan has already mentioned, their sanhì already provide them with visual individualism.

Offline Eana Unil

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 01:18:47 pm »
I'm of mixed feelings/opinions here.  The Na'vi have a strong tradition of using hair beads, chokers (Tsu'tey), arm bands, and the head piece of the Eastern Sea Tribe olo'eyktan.  Plus lots of body paint.  Plus, at least for a film image, the Tribe of the Eastern Sea has an engraved/stenciled (ikran?) pattern on the leather vest/top that many of them wear.  So clearly, if we use that top as a valid/approved example, then the Na'vi are using different means to identify their tribe/loyalty.  But that does not eliminate tattoos, of course.
Very interesting, thank you for this! I never noticed that pattern on the vests of the Eastern Sea Ikran Tribe you mentioned. But you're right, even though there are a lot of patterns and adornments already, that doesn't eliminate Tattoos at all.
Especially if there are tribes on Pandora, which use (way) less of those adornments in their cultural life, whether in their hair, as jewelry, clothing and whatnot. Maybe those tribes would have "alternatives"/other ways for this - maybe Tattoos or whatever else?

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Where I'm of mixed opinion.  The Na'vi pride themselves in being (for survival and the thriving of the tribe), expert hunters.  They already have a body that is in harmony with nature.  That would include their striped markings.  To tattoo themselves, would break or alter that harmony, not to mention give a minute possibility of making them "more" visible to hunted game disrupting their pattern.
Interesting thoughts. I agree with you, Na'vi are more or less born hunters, they're stripes could be a natural camouflage while hunting, but... Na'vi stripes and skin are blue. Most of the Flora on Pandora is more green-ish than blue or purple or what else, at least during day time. If they were a 100% born hunters, their skin should be green-ish, not blue, right? Or at least less saturated with stronger contrast with the help of their stripes, such as a tiger's fur... Or... something.
At night, successful hunting could be even harder, due to their tanhì. Glowing dots at night which are moving are like yelling at the Yerik "Hey, I'm right here, wanting to kill you!"...

This thought extended, maybe a blue body with tanhì covered by bodypaint or Tattoos could possibly improve the hunt, couldn't it? Plus, black color (on or under the skin) would increase the look of being in the shadow, more like camouflaged inside brushes and so on, if you know what I mean. Tattoos and Bodypaint could indeed improve hunting, if the paint is not neon-orange or yellow or something like that, hrh. Hm...

Or are my thoughts going into the wrong direction? I don't know, I never did hunt anything or anyone.

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Yes, the Na'vi have adornments (Neytiri's ear, the warrior's bone through nose), but I almost "see" those as an addition and honour, rather than changing their skin/look?
I agree with you here, I also think that at least that bone through the nose of the Pa'lì clan leader is more like... showing who he is, which status he has and/or what he has achieved. But couldn't Tattoos do the same? Like Maori or Papa New Guinea Tattoos on Earth...

Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 01:29:56 pm »
Ma Tìtstewan,
thank you for your thoughts on this! I find them quite interesting :)
Nìprrte'! :D

In my opinion humans "need" tattoos for very various reasons (but let's skip modern Tattoos and the reason people have for them, please).
:P Also on 'Rrta the cultures are so different, that one have tattoos and the otherone havn't tattoos.

What if they even wanted to cover or "break"/disrupt their natural skin patterns and/or tanhì with the help of paint (whether on or under the skin)?
Why should they do that? I've read somewhere, the sanhì on their bodies is very useful for the identification in their families. To remove them, would be like removing our fingerprint.

Also, maybe Na'vi don't only know Warpaintings or ceremonial bodypaintings, but also medical/spiritual bodypaintings, piercings or even Tattoos like some cultures on Earth did/do?!
I think, the Na'vi use bodypaints just as fashion.

What if they could use glow-in-the-dark-color (natural bio-luminescent pigments made out of certain plants for example) for bodypaintings and Tattoos? What if they would use it to expand their tanhì-patterns or whatnot?
I also read somewhere (hrh) the most sanhì are located near the neural pathway any I think that they can't expands their sanhì, because they have to know some medicine knowledge (immune system, regeneration ability of their skin etc.)

(Have ever tryed a human to tatto'd bioluminescent bacteria into the skin to make the same Na'vi tanhì-effect??! ??? :-\)
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 01:48:57 pm by Tìtstewan »

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Offline Kamean

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2013, 01:39:24 pm »
In my opinion, Na'vi can use tattoos. We saw only a small piece of Pandora, so anything is possible. :)
Quote
On the other hand... it's stated in the movie, that at least the bones of Na'vi are "reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber" - so would they be able to create thin-enough-needles out of bone?
Maybe carbon fibers can get separate smashing bones? Also Na'vi can use the plant's thorns. If the presence of tattoos to be confirmed, it would be desirable to have a detailed modern-style pattern. :)
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Offline Taronyu Leleioae

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 02:24:48 pm »
Quote
Interesting thoughts. I agree with you, Na'vi are more or less born hunters, they're stripes could be a natural camouflage while hunting, but... Na'vi stripes and skin are blue. Most of the Flora on Pandora is more green-ish than blue or purple or what else, at least during day time. If they were a 100% born hunters, their skin should be green-ish, not blue, right? Or at least less saturated with stronger contrast with the help of their stripes, such as a tiger's fur... Or... something.
Well, we're making an assumption that the Na'vi colour range of vision, especially in low light, is the same as ours.  Now, I agree that blue and green is different, as the warpaint depicts various colour combinations.  But in very low light, one's eyes do not see colour easily.  It's shades of grayscale.  This may be similar to our eyes (our range of colour) vs what we "think" the vision of lions, tigers, deer... are.  Thus blue and green may be so close, it doesn't matter and blends in with the shadows of a forest, especially with tall grasses, ferns, bushes.

Quote
At night, successful hunting could be even harder, due to their tanhì. Glowing dots at night which are moving are like yelling at the Yerik "Hey, I'm right here, wanting to kill you!"...
I have to admit, glowing dots would show movement.  However as Pandora does not become fully darkened with their sun and planet Polyphemus so close.  It's equally possible, that with so much of the fauna (plant life) glowing, that having sanhì actually helps to camouflage the Na'vi rather than create a deeper shadow at night?  Plus, I get the impression that the Na'vi mostly hunt and are out during the daytime hours, retreating to the safety of the communal hometree.

Quote
This thought extended, maybe a blue body with tanhì covered by bodypaint or Tattoos could possibly improve the hunt, couldn't it? Plus, black color (on or under the skin) would increase the look of being in the shadow, more like camouflaged inside brushes and so on, if you know what I mean. Tattoos and Bodypaint could indeed improve hunting, if the paint is not neon-orange or yellow or something like that, hrh. Hm...

Or are my thoughts going into the wrong direction? I don't know, I never did hunt anything or anyone.
In this instance, the tattoos and bodypaint might interfere with nature's camouflage.

Quote
Quote
Yes, the Na'vi have adornments (Neytiri's ear, the warrior's bone through nose), but I almost "see" those as an addition and honour, rather than changing their skin/look?
I agree with you here, I also think that at least that bone through the nose of the Pa'lì clan leader is more like... showing who he is, which status he has and/or what he has achieved. But couldn't Tattoos do the same? Like Maori or Papa New Guinea Tattoos on Earth...
Possible? Yes.  However, I have a feeling, adornment might be the tradition.  Especially with all the language references to beautiful adornments/garments in the language.   :-\

Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 02:46:00 pm »
(Have ever tryed a human to tatto'd bioluminescent bacteria into the skin to make the same Na'vi tanhì-effect??! ??? :-\)
Not technically bioluminescent, but this is a UV tattoo:
old gallery link?id=5308[/img]

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Offline Kamean

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2013, 03:27:58 pm »
(Have ever tryed a human to tatto'd bioluminescent bacteria into the skin to make the same Na'vi tanhì-effect??! ??? :-\)
Not technically bioluminescent, but this is a UV tattoo:
old gallery link?id=5308[/img]
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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 01:24:53 am »
WOW! Tattoo glowing in the dark! I love it!  :D

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Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 05:32:46 am »
WOW! Tattoo glowing in the dark! I love it!  :D
This is not glowing in the night / dark. You have to use UV light.

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Offline Eana Unil

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 05:34:42 am »
What if they even wanted to cover or "break"/disrupt their natural skin patterns and/or tanhì with the help of paint (whether on or under the skin)?
Why should they do that? I've read somewhere, the sanhì on their bodies is very useful for the identification in their families. To remove them, would be like removing our fingerprint.
Wonderful thought, haven't thought about that either. Mllte ngahu.

Quote
Also, maybe Na'vi don't only know Warpaintings or ceremonial bodypaintings, but also medical/spiritual bodypaintings, piercings or even Tattoos like some cultures on Earth did/do?!
I think, the Na'vi use bodypaints just as fashion.
Well, we know too little about the healing arts of the Na'vi, their herbs, everything a Tsahìk does in detail (we don't know just some parts)... Maybe spiritual Tattoos (ceremonial/spiritual ornaments and patterns which have a special meaning and "effect", whether real or not) are a possible way of gaining more strength/closer connection to their ancestors/whatever in their believe. It wouldn't be very unrealistic to me, thus possible.

Quote
What if they could use glow-in-the-dark-color (natural bio-luminescent pigments made out of certain plants for example) for bodypaintings and Tattoos? What if they would use it to expand their tanhì-patterns or whatnot?
I also read somewhere (hrh) the most sanhì are located near the neural pathway any I think that they can't expands their sanhì, because they have to know some medicine knowledge (immune system, regeneration ability of their skin etc.)

(Have ever tryed a human to tatto'd bioluminescent bacteria into the skin to make the same Na'vi tanhì-effect??! ??? :-\)

Not technically bioluminescent, but this is a UV tattoo:
Well, you could be right, but maybe Na'vi know and practice something similar to acupuncture? Maybe tattooing these "sensitive" areas of a Na'vi body could have some sort of a medical effect, which is used in Na'vi-an art of healing?! Also possible, imho, but maybe somewhat risky and dangerous.

As for Tattoos + bioluminescent bacteria on Earth: I can't tell if someone ever had the idea and wanted this idea become reality, but imho, tattooing those bacteria wouldn't be possible, nor "wise".
Good tattoo artists work very conscientious and pay a lot attention to a clean surrounding and work style (hygiene). It's necessary and very important to avoid any kind of possible infection, for Tattoos are an open wound. This would exclude the use of any kind of living bacteria.
If someone would ever want to try to get those bioluminescent bacteria under someone's skin, he would have to mix them with a solution and maybe some pigments, too, which the lymph system of the body couldn't remove from the areas they've been tattooed into (normal Tattoos with normal ink stay where they were tattooed, because the lymph system can't transport the color pigments from where they've been placed, because they're simply too "big" and so on), but this solution would have to keep those bacteria alive. If they've gotten under the skin alive, the immune system would possibly kill them, I guess. All in all, it would be no use and no good or healthy idea at all.

UV tattoos on the other hand are indeed possible, like shown by this neat looking jellyfish Tattoo you've posted :) But I have to note, that they're also visible without the use of UV-light, at least if they're not fully done with "Titanium White". But they're maybe the best alternative one could have for getting tanhì tattooed all over his body ;)





In my opinion, Na'vi can use tattoos. We saw only a small piece of Pandora, so anything is possible. :)
Quote
On the other hand... it's stated in the movie, that at least the bones of Na'vi are "reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber" - so would they be able to create thin-enough-needles out of bone?
Maybe carbon fibers can get separate smashing bones? Also Na'vi can use the plant's thorns. If the presence of tattoos to be confirmed, it would be desirable to have a detailed modern-style pattern. :)
Haven't thought about thorns at all, hrh! Thank you for this, so Tattoos would even be more possible now, imho :)





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Interesting thoughts. I agree with you, Na'vi are more or less born hunters, they're stripes could be a natural camouflage while hunting, but... Na'vi stripes and skin are blue. Most of the Flora on Pandora is more green-ish than blue or purple or what else, at least during day time. If they were a 100% born hunters, their skin should be green-ish, not blue, right? Or at least less saturated with stronger contrast with the help of their stripes, such as a tiger's fur... Or... something.
Well, we're making an assumption that the Na'vi colour range of vision, especially in low light, is the same as ours.  Now, I agree that blue and green is different, as the warpaint depicts various colour combinations.  But in very low light, one's eyes do not see colour easily.  It's shades of grayscale.  This may be similar to our eyes (our range of colour) vs what we "think" the vision of lions, tigers, deer... are.  Thus blue and green may be so close, it doesn't matter and blends in with the shadows of a forest, especially with tall grasses, ferns, bushes.

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At night, successful hunting could be even harder, due to their tanhì. Glowing dots at night which are moving are like yelling at the Yerik "Hey, I'm right here, wanting to kill you!"...
I have to admit, glowing dots would show movement.  However as Pandora does not become fully darkened with their sun and planet Polyphemus so close.  It's equally possible, that with so much of the fauna (plant life) glowing, that having sanhì actually helps to camouflage the Na'vi rather than create a deeper shadow at night?  Plus, I get the impression that the Na'vi mostly hunt and are out during the daytime hours, retreating to the safety of the communal hometree.
On first thought I would only partly agree with you here, ma tsmukan, but on second thought I think you're right :) I don't know. I just do know that because of Polyphemus the "dark" times on Pandora or somewhat long and more often than full day time, at least everything speaks for it; the bioluminescence speaks for it the most. Why should bioluminescence evolve in a bright surrounding/day-night-cycle? The Na'vi have big eyes (iris and pupil), as do Syaksyuk; Pa'lì, Ikran and Palulukan have four eyes. This speaks for an evolutionary accommodation to a dark surrounding/twilight. Why would Na'vi have all that if they'd sleep all night long, just doing things during day time with bright sunlight? I bet they do hunt during twilight time or do whatever else. This would mean a possible disadvantage through their tanhì. But like you said, it could also camouflage them even more. But moving dots of light, I simply can't imagine that a Yerik e.g. wouldn't see that and flee.

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I agree with you here, I also think that at least that bone through the nose of the Pa'lì clan leader is more like... showing who he is, which status he has and/or what he has achieved. But couldn't Tattoos do the same? Like Maori or Papa New Guinea Tattoos on Earth...
Possible? Yes.  However, I have a feeling, adornment might be the tradition.  Especially with all the language references to beautiful adornments/garments in the language.   :-\
Tsari mllte ngahu. However, this "doesn't eliminate Tattoos" either ;D I want to believe that they're at least some tribes which are different, at least in most of their ways. Pandora is big, and even if the Na'vi are more or less "connected" worldwide through Eywa (and only one language without dialects has evolved globally), I can't imagine that all tribes are more or less the same.
Also... Na'vi is still an evolving language, maybe we some day have also a word for "tattoo" - at least I would be happy, if so :P

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 07:55:23 am »
As for Tattoos + bioluminescent bacteria on Earth: I can't tell if someone ever had the idea and wanted this idea become reality, but imho, tattooing those bacteria wouldn't be possible, nor "wise".
*dig out my old biology stuff*
Theoretically, this is possible. One have to add a biological bag filled with glowing bacteria into the skin. Preferentially in skin areas, which could feed the bacteria. Also, the bacteria could be modified by genetic engineering to make them do a symbiosis with the human body. I thought about to modify a bacteria that could use Aequorin from a luminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria which create light λmax = 470 nm (blue light).
Well, just only need to tattoo'd a body in blue pattern like the Na'vi and add such bioluminescent bacteria to create sanhì, then we have a Na'vi body! :D (Ok a tail is missing...but well :P)

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 06:20:01 pm »
Hmmm.... a very interesting topic!

One obvious body modification that I am surprised hasn't been mentioned is the rings in the lobes of Neytiri's ears (I have a friend who has rings like that in his ears, and he had them long before Avatar came out. he's a machinist, and I wouldn't surprised if he made them himself).

As far as metal goes, I am not sure that the statement 'the Na'vi do not use metal' is true. For one, Neytiri's ear rigs look like they are made of metal.

I am not sure how thick Naʼvi skin would be, but it would have to be tough because of the corrosive atmosphere. The blue color of the Na'vi and (I think) the syaktsuk skin may have something to do with hydrogen sulfide/sulfur dioxide protection.

I did not see any tattoos, either. But at this time, we don't know enough to rule them out. I like the idea that the sanhì, stripes, hairstyle and other worn items are the identifying features the Naʼvi use.

I suspect that most hunting is done during the day, as the film depicts. Some hunting is shown in low light. Ikran can likely fly at night, but maybe not so well with a Naʼvi pilot (this might be the time of day when the ikran feed themselves, if they don't get 'byproducts' from a Naʼvi kill). Night hunting is certainly possible. There may be some things we don't know about Panrodan fauna vision, but white light would certainly be visible to a lot of different creatures. Maybe the Naʼvi can consciously turn off their sanhì for a short time during hunting. You also do not see potential prey, like paʼli turning off their sanhì. In any case, the presence of sanhì seems to have little effect on the taronyu or the smar.

As a side note, ʼRrtan cats have monochrome vision, except they can apparently see some red.

Bactaria under the skin? Almost certainly not. The bacteria we have that glow also tend to produce a lot of toxins. Glowing also takes a lot of energy, and that energy would have to come from somewhere. But the biggest problem of all is thta bacteria multiply very rapidly, especially if they are in an environment they like. If they are 'happy' enough to glow, they are probably happy enough to multiply. The resulting infection would be txana tìkawng nìʼaw

I am not sure what carbon fiber reinforcing would do to bone. It would likely make it so it wouldn't splinter as much when it breaks. But break it likely does. I am pretty sure that large carnivores like ayikran, toruk sì palulukan can eat/crunch up bone, and digest it as well (ʼRrtan carnivores can easily digest bone and eating some bone is essential for their health).  Yet, it looks like the Naʼvi have no trouble getting bone splinters. Maybe bone has to be thoroughly dried before you can get good splinters.

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2013, 06:34:08 pm »
Bactaria under the skin? Almost certainly not. The bacteria we have that glow also tend to produce a lot of toxins. Glowing also takes a lot of energy, and that energy would have to come from somewhere. But the biggest problem of all is thta bacteria multiply very rapidly, especially if they are in an environment they like. If they are 'happy' enough to glow, they are probably happy enough to multiply. The resulting infection would be txana tìkawng nìʼaw
And some deep sea fishes and squids have also "bags" with symbiotic bacteria, just by the way... :)

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2013, 06:40:40 pm »
We have a big bag of symbiotic bacteria in us, called the intestines. There are more bacteria by number in our gut than there are cells in our body. And if they ever get out of control, you are either already dead, or they can kill you very quickly. Bags of symbiotic bacteria under the skin would have to evolve naturally. They could not, with our current technology, be 'manufactured'. It would be better to put a luminescent system gene in some body cells that bags of bacteria.

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2013, 06:51:37 pm »
This is a great topic. Where is Jim Cameron when you need him?    ;) :D

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2013, 08:04:19 pm »
I am not sure how thick Naʼvi skin would be, but it would have to be tough because of the corrosive atmosphere. The blue color of the Na'vi and (I think) the syaktsuk skin may have something to do with hydrogen sulfide/sulfur dioxide protection.
AFAIK, skin contact with these substances is not a problem. They only become deadly when contacting liquids, e.g. eyes, nose internals and mouth.

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Re: Na'vi Bodymodification - Body-/Warpaintings, Piercings - and Tattoos?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2013, 09:22:35 pm »
Sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide will attack most tissues, especially in the claimed concentration (2%). I could believe 0.2%. Both gases can arise as the result of volcanism, and stuff I've read suggests that there are parts of Pandora with many active volcanoes (which makes sense because the moon would be constantly flexed by the gravity of Polyphemus, plus heating from the electric current flowing through the moon, induced by the magnetic field of Polyphemus). Hydrogen sulfide inhalation is instantly fatal at a concentration of 0.0001%. At one tenth this level, damage to the eyes occurs, and one quickly loses their sense of smell. Sulfur dioxide is at least as bad, and has an exposure threshold half that of hydrogen sulfide. In any case, both gases are quite reactive, and would attack moist skin, eyes, etc. unless adapted to being exposed to it. Both gases also have an extremely disagreeable odor, detectable at low concentrations.

My guess is that the unusual respiratory systems of Pandoran animals, especially the large animals, are due to processing these noxious gases. I have theorized that there may be a special organ that partly detoxifies the air as it enters the lungs, and a second liver between the lungs and the heart, that further detoxifies the blood. Since hydrogen sulfide is very reactive, it may be used by the animal's body to generate energy during detoxification. Sulfur dioxide is much less reactive, and has been used as a refrigerant and food preservative.

I personally feel that the these gases cannot exist in the Pandoran atmosphere at anywhere near the concentration that is given in the ASG (2% for hydrogen sulfide; I have theorized this might really supposed to be sulfur dioxide, thus I have discussed both gases.). Besides being so toxic, many mechanisms exist in the atmosphere (Or at least in the 'Rrtan atmosphere) to eliminate these gases.

As an interesting possibility, maybe Pandoran bioluminescence is powered by the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air.


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