Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes
If you are looking for your special Maori tattoos designs, it is most recommended to be aware of the following facts related to the Maori heritage and culture, in order to avoid the most critical mistakes people tend to make when approaching these unique and full-of-meaning designs.
A lot of people are getting tattoos these days. It is quite noticeable that Maori tattoos designs are often the choice made by people looking for tribal tattoos. Maori tattoos designs seem to be at the forefront of tattoos, when it comes to choosing a tattoo, and it certainly makes since, once you closely look at these remarkable and rich designs.
A lot of tattoo customers and tattoo artists tend to imitate different cultures and tattoo designs to try come up with their own special design. Although the result may seem very artistic, it is definitely not the case when approaching traditional Maori tattoos designs.
Getting To Understand The Maori Heritage and Culture
First thing, in approaching this unique culture, would be to understand their terminology. All walks of life use their own terms, which are unique to a particular culture or tribe, and so it is with the people from New Zealand, from which the Maoris originate. For example: The 'Ta Moko' is the name of the family identification of Maoris that form part of the group known as 'Whakapapa'.
One of the main reasons these designs formed a solid and important role within the Maori culture was the ability of the Maoris to trace their ancestry over the centuries. Their tattoos also served them while fighting on the battlefield; by identifying who they were fighting against, as their lives literally depended on these particular works of art inked on their bodies.
Some Maoris can still trace their families using these tattoos. There are chiefs that can observe a Maori tattoos designs and fully interpret it easily. They are able to do so by feeling the texture, looking at the design and the precision that went into inking that tattoo and by that, will be able to trace back some of these Maori family trees.
Today, as well, there are some Maoris living in New Zealand that have Maori tribal tattoos that date back 2,000 years! One more interesting fact, that most tattoo enthusiast are unaware of when they look at Maori tattoos designs is, that each tattoo entails a unique story, and each story tells the tale of a certain tribe origins, their beliefs, their spiritual world and a lot more.
By now, we have addressed the 'Ta' form, but the other part or missing word is 'Moko', and the 'Moko' part of any Maori tattoo is the actual carving out of the skin.
By tradition, the Maori made use of the bones of albatrosses and various cutting tools to etch their tattoos. These tools cut deep grooves into the skin. The coloring is used to represent the family history and the story is told by the actual patterns on the skin. That way, a tribe elder would be able to tell the history by looking at the design of the Moko and of course the patterning of the skin. Traditionally, Maori tattoos designs were done on the face, however, in ancient times, they were also etched on peoples' bodies. One thing to note is that people who had these designs done on their faces were highly-regarded figures within their tribe. That is how they were distinguished from the rest within the tribe.
One Culture, Many Fans & One Huge Mistake To Avoid
It is very common for westerners to have these designs; this may be regarded as a tribute the Maori culture; when in fact, the Maoris regard it is a form of stealing Maori tradition and heritage.
One should never just grab words, images or symbols from Mauritania or the Maori culture completely oblivious of the fact of what they represent. In the eyes of the Maoris, doing so is nothing but a plain insult. Can you imagine walking around with some Maoris family history on your arm or back? The only way you might find yourself in such a situation is if you go and start copying any Maori tattoos designs that comes across your way.
Here is what the Maoris think of white people and other cultures that steal their Maori tattoos designs?
Between the Maoris, white people are called 'Pakeha' and are known for never asking but just taking (in terms of land and culture) they also see most westerns as narrow minded, capable of seeing only themselves, let alone other cultures. Strange as it may seem, the Native Americans as well, claimed the same about the whites in America.
The Maoris claim that Maori tattoos designs that are not done properly weaken their culture and spirituality. They also see the westerners as thieves for not having their own uniqueness when getting their Maori tattoos designs.
So, how is this going to affect your decision when getting this ancient form of Polynesian art?
To start, you can avoid the common mistake just by simply not copying the first Maori tattoos designs that you see on a Maori in New Zealand. You would be shocked to know how many people have done that!
The fastest way to get a unique and traditional Maori tattoos designs would be to contact someone in New Zealand who is in charge of a tribe, or a tribal tattoo artist.
Email them the design you would like to get and ask what are the chances of that design has already been applied. Though this may seem a bit odd to you, as mentioned before, the least we can contribute is to show some sensitivity to a culture that has been slowly disappearing during the last 200 years. Using the advantages of the internet, this could be accomplished in a matter of days.
It is only when Maori tattoos designs are copied from someone else within a Maori tribe, that makes them feel that their spirituality is being stolen.