14.09.2013
Maori tattoos are among the most distinctive tattoos in the world and have their own identity amongst the Polynesian tattoos.
Maori tattoo art is very beautiful, consisting of curved shapes and spirals in intricate patterns. 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. The Maori tattoo consists of bold spiral designs covering the face, the buttocks and the legs of the Maori men. 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). The precise history of the Maori tattoo is rather vague, but we do know the legendary source.
The tattoo ink for the body color was made from an organism that is half vegetable, half caterpillar (the caterpillar is infected by a certain kind of fungus that starts growing out of its head, killing the caterpillar).
By the end of the 19th century, other tattoo equipment like tattoo needles began to set in.
Maori tattooing would usually start at adolescence, and was used to celebrate important events throughout life.
Needless to say, tattooing by making incisions with a chisel was a painful process, but traditional Maori tattoos were meant to be more than decorative – they were a show of strength, courage and status.
The process of Maori tattooing was a ritual, with music, chant and fasting – in fact, fasting was more or less a necessity, because the face would swell up from the wounds caused by the tattooing process!
The tattoo specialists in the Maori culture were usually men, although there are some women who also were tohunga ta moko (moko specialists).
The Maori traditions such a tattooing lost much of its significance after the coming of European settlers. Since the 1990s the Maori culture and traditions are having a revival and the traditional Maori tribe tattooing is all but extinct, Maori tattoos have made a comeback and are popular again, including the old tattoo equipment like chisels. Modern Maori tattoos are usually found on the body rather than the face, and usually (but not always) modern tattoo equipment and ink are used – but the traditional ta moko inspired designs have a universal and timeless appeal.
Maori tattoo patterns and symbols are a way of personal identification for the Maori people.
If you want a tattoo design in the Maori style, find a tattoo artist that has experience with Maori tattoos and knows about these issues.
Robbie Williams: celebrity with a Maori sleeve tattoo, done by Henk Schiffmacher, a Dutch tattoo artist.
The idea of religious tattoos may seem counterintuitive, for several reasons – not only is tattooing prohibited by some religions, such as Orthodox Judaism, but until recently, tattoos were associated with a vaguely disreputable counterculture that seems at odds with religion. Nowadays, because tattooing has gone mainstream, religious tattoos are not just for gang members – not by a long shot. Christian tattoos are the most popular form of religious tattoos, especially in North and South America.
Besides the obvious religious meaning, Virgin Mary tattoos are also a symbol of strength and virtue.


The Virgin Mary tattoo is also popular in the Latin world and used to be popular among seafarers, for whom they symbolized the longing for their wives on their long trips abroad.Mary is not only a Christian symbol, she is also honored in Islam. Of course, not all religious tattoos are Christian at all, though symbols from the other major religions are rarer. Orthodox Judaism forbids tattooing, though this is not an edict that everyone follows – occasionally, you might see a Star of David or a menorah tattoo, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Another factor is that tattooing is considered disrespectful to those who were tattooed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. The Indian religions have their own traditional body art, but tattooing is fairly uncommon. Hinduism is a monotheistic religion, meaning that a Hindu believes in one God, called Brahman. The Hindu deities are very extravagant and colorful, what makes them ideal for a tattoo design.
Sak Yant (aka yantra tattoos) is the art of sacred tattooing as done by Buddhist monks in Thailand and Cambodia.
Buddha tattoos have a certain popularity in the West though and most of them depict Buddha sitting in a meditative position.
Allen Iverson: NBA player with a praying hands tattoo on his chest accompanied by his mother's and grandmother's names.
Cross Tattoos: Celebrities with a cross tattoo include Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams, Lenny Kravitz and Britney Spears. Hebrew Tattoos: Celebrities with a Hebrew tattoo include David and Victoria Beckham, Madonna and Christina Aguilera. Armband tattoos can be a very versatile option, as you can do them in almost any style from flowers to tribal, Native American to Japanese, and pretty much everything in between. You can work with your tattoo artist to incorporate ideas you have into an armband tattoo design to make it your own.
If you liked our selection, perhaps these other posts will interest you too, Tribal Heart Tattoos, Hawaiian Tribal Tattoos, Hawaiian Flower Tattoos and Irish Tattoos.
This person has inked the tattoo on his the left side of his chest and his entire left hand.
Tattooing is a sacred art among the Maori people of New Zealand, and probably came to them from the islands of East Polynesia.
Distinctive for Maori tattoo designs is the fact that they are based on the spiral and that they are curvilinear. Maori women were usually tattooed on the lips and chin and in some cases on the neck and the back. He succeeded, and Niwareka’s father taught him the art of Maori tribe tattooing as well! The first tattoo marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and was done during a series of rites and rituals.
Both men and women were tattooed, though women substantially less (maybe because there was less of a need for them to show courage) and on other places (usually the lips and chin).


It is never ok for a non-maori to wear a Maori tattoo pattern, even if it is done with respect.
By copying their designs you steal a part of their identity, what the Maori see as an insult.
He can design a tattoo for you that has the looks of a moko without the Maori symbolic ties. Besides identification, decoration and social ranking, early tattoos definitely had a spiritual purpose.
Mexican and other Latin gangs have been using Christian symbols in their tattoo art for generations, believing in the protection that these images can give.
The crusaders had a small cross tattoo on their hand or arm to ensure they got a Christian burial when they died in some foreign country. In some tattoo designs Jesus is pictured on the cross, making the whole design considerably more complex. It is written in the Devanagari script, a very elegant script that lends itself very well to tattoo designs. Sak Yant tattoo designs came from India together with Buddhism and were tailored by the Khmer. It is the symbol of Islam and in a more political meaning also the symbol of the Middle East.
Religious tattoos are, in short, far more common and versatile than you might think, and for many people they are a powerful, personal way of expressing their faith.
It's also very popular as a tattoo design in all kinds of languages like Farsi, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese.
Mataora brought ta moko – Maori tattoos - as well as other skills he had picked up in the underworld, back with him, and the ideas caught on. Tattoo art was an important part of the Maori culture – in fact, people without tattoos were considered to be without status or worth. Many of us appreciate the bold statement that Maori tattoo designs make, and this style of tribal tattooing is growing in popularity. And it doesn't stop there – people use religious tattoos to express a great variety of religious views. Other Jesus tattoos are a close up of his face with or without a crown of thorns or a halo.
A tattoo of Buddha might be a bit contradictious because Buddha discouraged the use of images. Wiccans and other neo-pagans are great fans of tattoos, and many religious symbols can be found among their favored tattoo images.



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Comments Ancient polynesian tattoo designs meanings

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