"The common people of Tahiti, when working, keep the upper part of their bodies quite naked; and it is then that they are seen to advantage. They are very tall, broad- shouldered, athletic, and well-proportioned. A white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian, was like a plant bleached by the gardener's art compared with a fine dark green one growing vigorously in the open fields. Most of the men are tattooed, and the ornaments follow the curvature of the body so gracefully, that they have a very elegant effect. One common pattern, varying in its details, is somewhat like the crown of a palm-tree. It springs from the central line of the back, and gracefully curls round both sides. The simile may be a fanciful one, but I thought the body of a man thus ornamented was like the trunk of a noble tree embraced by a delicate creeper."
Charles Darwin 'Voyage of the Beagle' Chapter 18