Maori Tattoo Traditions
10:51 AM
Earlier today, Total Tattoo magazine shared a link on Facebook to an interesting BBC article, which I wanted to pass along to you as well.

"The rise of the Maori tribal tattoo" written by Dr. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku begins with somewhat of a primer on Maori tattoo traditions, briefly discussing the history of Moko, its practice and symbolism. She then discusses her own experience as a Maori woman taking on the facial Moko in commemoration of the life of Te Arikinui Dame te Atairangikaahu, "the Maori Queen," who died in 2006.

As in a lot of discussions on indigenous tattooing, she briefly addresses the issue of cultural appropriation of Moko. Here's a bit of that:

[...] Moko, most of all, is about life. It is about beauty and glamour, and its appearance on the bodies of musicians such as Robbie Williams and Ben Harper is not unusual. Although it is often contentious, raising issues of cultural appropriation, and ignorant use of traditional art as fashion.
However we must also acknowledge that Maori artists are sharing this art - they are marking the foreign bodies.

The important reality remains - it is ours. It is about beauty, and desire, about identity and belonging. It is about us, the Maori people.

Read the rest on BBC online. Dr. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is the author of Mau Moko: The World of Maori Tattoo (which includes the image below).

mau moko.jpg

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