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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.
When Mataora, a young warrior, fell in love with Niwareka, the princess of the underworld, she agreed to come aboveground to marry him.
Eventually, sick with guilt and with his face paint smudged, Mataora made his way down to the underworld to try to win her back.
Instead of needles, the Maori people used knives and chisels (uhi), either smooth or serrated, and the ink was applied by means of incisions. 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.
We are starting a new snake tattoo pictures section on the site feel free to link to your favorite snake tattoo pictures in the comment section this page is dedicated to snake tattoos. The cherry blossom is a beautiful flower that grows on cherry trees and that is closely related to the rose (cherry fruit comes from another kind of tree).
Cherry blossom tattoos are often inked in the style of vines that wrap around the body or as the entire tree with blooming flowers.
The Samurai class, which is defined by those belonging to the upper tiers of the warrior class. Because of this symbolism, tattoos inspired by the cherry blossom have become popular designs that acknowledge womanly power. The most common cherry blossom tattoo style has bold colors, defined edges and is almost cartoonesque. Both men and women (a lot more women than men though) have incorporated cherry blossom flowers into their tattoo designs, but usually the design combinations are a bit different. Most cherry blossom tattoos include a branch, but complete cherry tree tattoos are popular as well.
The only celebrity I can think of with a cherry blossom tattoo is Aubrey Fisher from LA Ink. 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. Cherry blossoms, which are most commonly found in Western Asia and Eastern Europe, have become popular cultural and social symbols in China and Japan, across different forms of art, including tattoo art. The most common places to get a cherry blossom tattoo are the shoulders, lower back, arms, ankle, feet and legs.
The tattoo gives comfort in times of hardship or grief, or reminds the wearer to appreciate the good things around him. This power is due to a woman's beauty, and ability to use this beauty as a way of maintaining dominance over a man. A cherry blossom tattoo may be perfect for a woman who wants to celebrate and declare her independence. Another style is a softer approach: delicate colors and tones, gentle bends, and realistic design can make the blossoms seem to have the translucent quality of a watercolor painting. Old school bird tattoos represented a variety of moods or stages of life, and can represent various stages of human emotion depending on the wing span of the tattoo and other factors incorporated into the bird such as the color and feathers. Many people choose words such as love, purity or passion to go along with cherry blossom designs. This is because in ancient Japan, nobles were invited to private parties thrown to view and appreciate the cherry tree once it had bloomed. Cherry tree tattoos are often chosen to represent the Chinese interpretations of the tree, and are also said to work as a sort of good luck charm.
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. The combination of flowers looks elegant against the sharp, significant black lettering of Japanese symbols. These parties were highly exclusive and only the highest ranking members of society were invited to such events.
The Chinese believe that the blossoms of the cherry tree can bestow good luck onto a person, helping them to find happiness and love.



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