Saturday, February 12, 2011

TA MOKO, New Zealand's Traditional Tattoo

Tā moko

(New Zealand's Traditional Tattoo)


Ta moko is the permanent body and face marking by Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than  punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth  surface.
Captain Cook wrote in 1769:
The marks in general are spirals drawn with great nicety and even  elegance. One side corresponds with the other. The marks on the body  resemble foliage in old chased ornaments, convolutions of filigree work,  but in these they have such a luxury of forms that of a hundred which  at first appeared exactly the same no two were formed alike on close  examination.    
The tattooists were considered tapu, or exceptionally inviolable and sacred
 Ena Papatahi 
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