The Seed of Areoi
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Areoi were a secret society of celibate warriors who dressed like descendants of Ora-Tetefa and Uru-Tetefa, two heavenly brothers.

There aren't many artists who were further from being celibate than Paul Gauguin though. Paul​ moved to Tahiti to take a break from busy industrial Europe. As if French colonization hadn’t brought the island enough poverty and diseases, Gauguin went to have sex with 14 year olds and spread his syphilis.

This painting was painted after his teen mistress Tehura, who is dressed (by that I mean totally nude, "goddess style") like the goddess Vairaumati holding the symbol of fertility. In a nutshell, the legend tells us this lady was the wife of Oro, the god of war. Oro asked his sisters to help him find him a “suitable” girl, but after visiting many islands they had to return without finding a girl. On their way home the two sisters passed the village of Vaitape on the island Bora Bora. Here they spotted Vairaumati, in the middle of taking a bath. They told Oro about the naked babe they encountered and he decided to make her his wife (just like that). Every single day, Oro would descend to earth to see his wife and possibly do other stuff since her biggest achievement was giving birth to a powerful chieftain. Oro was so happy, he flew across the sky in the shape of a flame and made his wife into a goddess.

The painting was originally called “Te ee no areois” which Google translates to “Oh yeah yeah yeah”. I’m pretty sure that’s not the right translation, but then again it kinda fits the perv​ Gauguin was.




  3. Chisholm, Hugh, "Areoi". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press, (1911).