03 April 2010

Traditional Maori Tattoos: Ta Moko

"Maori tattoo art is different from traditional tattooing in that sense that the Maori tattoo was carved into the skin with a chisel, instead of punctured."

Ta Moko
Traditional Maori tattoos are known in the Maori language as ta moko:

•Ta moko: literally the words ta moko translate as to strike or to tap. The term refers to the process of tattooing in the Maori traditions.
•Moko: the tattoo design itself – the finished product.
The Maori tattoo consists of bold spiral designs covering the face, the buttocks and the legs of the Maori men.

Maori women were usually tattooed on the lips and chin and in some cases on the neck and the back.

Tattooing has a sacred significance – the Maori tattoo design itself, and the long and painful process of acquiring the tattoo (Maori tribe tattooing was done with bone chisels).

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