The Maori Art

Tattoos are a form of art, where a person gets inked permanently with different designs that could depict something or someone very close to the person’s heart. It could even depict one’s culture, profession and status in the society. There are different types of tattoos, one such form is the ancient ‘Maori Tattoo’. ‘TattooMeNow.com’ is a place for people who love to get inked and want ideas and inspirations for their future tattoos. With the TattooMeNow review, one could get 8000+ high quality designs and photos to get inspiration from.  If you are facing a problem on choosing a killer Maori tattoo, check out the ‘TattooMeNow review’, it has 1000+ designs that could help choose the best tattoo for you.

What is ‘Maori Tattoo’?

Maori are indeginous people that were originally from New Zealand. They had a body art known as ‘ ta moko’, it is commonly known as ‘Maori tattoo art’. This art form was brought to the Maoris from Polynesia and they considered it highly sacred. The Maori people considered their heads as the most sacred part in the entire body, so the most popular Maori tattoo was the ‘facial tattoo’. The tattoo would compose of curved shapes and spiral patterns. The facial tattoos would be a symbol of status, prestige, power and rank. They Maori tattoo was highly ritualized. The best part about them was that, no two tattoos were alike. Each tattoo would be one of a kind. The Maori tattoo artist is known as ‘Tohunga ta moko’. These artists are highly respected and are considered holy.

How were Maori tattoos made?

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The Maori artists didn’t make use of needles, they would use kinves and chisels made from shark teeth, sharp stones and sharpened bones. The ink used by Maori were made up of all natural products. The black pigments would be obtained from burnt woods,lighter pigments would be derived from caterpillars infected with certain fungus or burnt kauri gum mixed with animal fat. These pigments would be stored in containers called ‘oro’, these containers would be buried when not in use. The black pigments were only used for the facial tattoos, while the lighter pigments were used to make the outlines and less revered tattoos. The tattooist study the person’s facial structure to decide the most appealing design.

Having a Maori tattoo is a very painful experience. First chisels were inserted deep into the skin to make deep cuts, then the chisels were dipped into the pigments and inserted into the cuts. Another method used was, dipping the chisel into the pigments and then inserting it into the skin by striking with the end of mallets. This manner of tattooing left grooves on the skin instead of smooth surface. Basically there are two designs of Maori tattoo. The first one being, the normal design which involved only blackening of lines and the second one was blackening the background and leaving the lines clear- called puhoro.

Common Maori designs

1) Koru (spiral) : It depicts new beginning, growth  and harmony

2) Hei matau (fish hook): this depicts prosperity,  strength, determinations and good health.

3)single twist: To the Maori, this represented way of life and eternity.

4) double and triple twist: this represents joining of two people,two cultures. It depicts a bond of friendship

5)Manaia: it is spiritual guardian and carrier of supernatural powers.

6) Hei tiki: it is a symbol of good luck and fertility.

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Significance of Maori tattoo

Each tattoo consists of tribal messages specific to the wearer. These messages depict about the family , status and social structures of the wearer’s. It also describes the knowledge  and genealogy of the wearer.

 Maori tattoos as a modern art

Modern Maori tattoos are placed commonly on the body instead of face. The legs and hands are adored with long spiral designs that were originally placed near ears and cheeks. Modern Maori tattoos are influenced and inspired by the traditional Maori tattoos, but not exactly the same. Modern tattoos are generally colourful and make use of blue, red , yellow ,orange colours. Maori art has been changing with the society, but the change has not affected the significance of the rich cultural heritage of the Maori, but it is important to keep this art alive.

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