Polynesia Tattoo Arts — Ta Moko Maori Tribal Tattoos

By | January 23, 2014

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The Maori are the native inhabitants of New Zealand whose ancestors were migrants from the Eastern Polynesia. The Polynesian arrived at New Zealand between AD800 to 1300 in several waves. Therefore the unique Maori tribal tattoos have been long time existence and are originated from the Polynesian cultures and arts.

Ta moko, refers to tattoo in the Maori language, is a traditional spiral lines carved on the human body by the Maori tribe. The instrument used for carving the skin was usually a serrated or a sharp-edge bone chisel, and the process in creating tattoos was extremely daunting, painful and long. The wearer would have to fast and stay away from eating solid foods until the wounds on the face were fully healed due to excessive pain induced by any movement. To the Maori tribe, tattooing was a sacred event. It was usually done together with the traditional flute music performance and poems chanting in order to help the wearer eased the pain while the skin was cut extensively with curved patterns.

The ancient Maori men usually wore ta moko tattoo arts on their faces, buttocks and thighs. The women would carve their Polynesia tattoo lines on the chins and lips. All these Maori tribal tattoos were visual signs that convey the wearers

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