In Samoan, the word tattoo (tatau) is used to refer to the traditional practice of body tattooing. It is an ancient Samoan art form that is believed to date back to between 2000 and 1000 BC. Tattooing involves creating designs in the skin using ink and dye. This practice is considered sacred in Samoan culture and is intended to bring status, power and protection to the person being tattooed. Traditionally, men and women are each given different tattoo styles, with women usually receiving a more intricate and detailed design than men. Tattooing is a ritualistic and painful process that can take several days to complete, and the designs are often quite intricate and meaningful. Many Samoan tattoos are based in Polynesian culture, with symbols, gods and other motifs being used to convey certain ideas and messages to the wearer, and to people in the surrounding community.