Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Maori Tattooing

"Moko" the art of Maori Tattoos

-According to archaeological evidence, tattooing came to New Zealand from eastern Polynesian culture.
-The head was considered the most sacred part of the body.
-All high ranking Maori were tattooed, and those who went without tattoos were seen as persons of no social status.
-Tattooing commenced at puberty, accompanied by many rites & rituals.
-The tattoos made the warriors more attractive to women as well as marking important events in a persons life.
-The full faced tattoo was very time consuming and a good tattoo craftsman would carefully study the persons bone structure before commencing his art. 
-The tattoo instrument was a bone chisel, either with a serrated or an extremely sharp straight edge.
-The first stage was commenced with graving of deep cuts into the skin, next a chisel was dipped into a sooty type pigment such as burnt Kaura gum or burnt vegetable caterpillars and then tapped into the skin.
-It was extremely long and painful.
-Often leaves from the native Karaka trees were placed over the swollen tattoo cuts to hasten the healing process.
-During the tattooing process , flute music & chant poems were performed to help soothe the pain.

-Although the tattoos were mainly facial, the north Auckland worriers included swirling double spirals on both buttocks, often leading down their legs until the knee.
-The women were not as extensively tattooed as the men.
-Their upper lips were outlined, usually dark blue.
-The nostrils were also very finely incised  & the chin Moko was always the most popular and continued to be practised even in the 1970's.

-The Moko is similar to an identity card.
-For men it showed their status and their ferocity or vertility.

The male facial tattoo - Moko - is generally divided into eight sections :
Ngakaipikirau (rank). The center forehead area
Ngunga (position). Around the brows
Uirere (hapu rank). The eyes and nose area
Uma (first or second marriage). The temples
Raurau (signature). The area under the nose
Taiohou (work). The cheek area
Wairua (mana). The chin
Taitoto (birth status). The jaw
Ancestry is indicated on each side of the face. The left side is generally (but not always, depending on the tribe) the father's side, while the right hand side indicates the mother's ancestry. Descent was a foremost requirement before a Moko could be undertaken.
If one side of a person's ancestry was not of rank, that side of the face would have no Moko design. Likewise if, in the centre forehead area there is no Moko design, this means the wearer either has no rank, or has not inherited rank.

Evolution of the Surfboard

Early days
In the early days of surfing in Hawaii there were two kinds of surfboards, an ‘ola’ (rode by chiefs or the noblemen) and the ‘alaia’ (rode by the commoners). They were wooden boards made from the Ula & Koa trees and ranged from 10-12ft for commoners & 14-16ft for the nobleman & chiefs.

Late 18th century
George Freeth, who through his surfing, experimented with board design, and cut his 16 foot Hawaiian board in half. Making the typical solid redwood Hawaiian board of the time to around 6 to 10 foot long

The next major change in surfboard design was when one of the most famous names in surf history; Tom Blake designed the first hollow surfboard. The board was constructed of redwood, it had hundreds of holes drilled in it and was encased with a thin board of wood on top and bellow the board. The board was 15 foot long, 19" wide, 4" thick and weighed 100 lbs.

Inspired by Blake's design, a group of surfers in Hawaii began experimenting with the tail size of the surfboard, shaving off parts of the tail and rail of the boards to get rid of the square tail. This gave the surfboard more maneuverability, allowing more radical surf maneuvers. These new boards were called 'hot curl' boards, named because the boards allowed the surfer to maneuver into the 'curl' of the wave and ride in the pipe.

In 1934 Balsa wood from South America became a popular material for building surfboards. The new balsa wood boards only weighed around 30 to 40 pounds apposed to the 90 to 100 pound redwood boards. The boards had several coats of varnish applied to waterproof them. Such a reduction in weight was a major step forward in board design, and became more and more in demand.

The end of World War Two opened up new possibilities in surfboard design. Many new materials had become available through advances in technology during the war. Fiberglass was the most significant of these, also there was plastics and styrofoam. The first fibreglass board was built by a man named Pete Peterson in 1946, this surfboard was a hollow plastic mould, with a redwood stringer (a piece of wood running down the centre of the surfboard) and sealed with fibreglass tape.


Hawaii had become very popular for its big waves. Many Californian's rushed to the islands to surf these giant waves, including famous names like Greg Noll, Miki Dora and George Downing (to name but a few). George Downing was one of the men responsible for developing the modern 'gun' surfboard. It was named a 'gun' as it is the surfers' means of hunting down the big waves. The gun board was long and narrow making them easier to paddle out to the bigger waves and easier to control on the steep face of the wave.

Late 60’s-70’s
the shortboard came onto the surf scene. The average length of the surfboard went from 10 to 6 foot, with an obvious reduction in weight. These new boards allowed surfers to ride in the pocket of the wave and so were named the 'pocket rocket' board

to the future
From the 80's onwards surfboards haven't changed too fundamentally. Board artwork has become popular; the art of airbrushing and painting surfboards, one of the pioneers of which being COTW featured surf artist Drew Brophy. Surfboards have become a lot thinner and lighter, allowing more radical surf and aerial maneouvre's. And in the mid-90's the almost forgotten longboard came back onto the scene and is still a popular choice amongst surfers today, particularly with the learners and the older surfers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

post 3 candice adams - ~SCARIFICATION~owweeowwee


Think your scared of sharp instruments? - think again!!

Scarification, the process of deliberately cutting the skin in order to produce scars, is performed both for aesthetic and social reasons.

In Ethiopia's Karo tribe, men scar their chests to represent
killing enemies from other tribes. Women with scarred torsos
and chests are considered particularly sensual and attractive.

This kaleri women of nigeria has received various sets of scarification marks on her belly. A process that begins when a girl reaches menarche. 

A young kaleri woman with her first set first scarifications. As she is not a mother yet, her markings are different from the women above.

The Ga’anda of northern Nigeria also use scarification, known as hleeta, to make girls marriageable. The process begins at 5 or 6 , with the final phase ending at 15 or 16 just before marriage, at which time the girl will also have her ears pierced for earrings and her lip pierced to insert a labret.

Elderly women perform the procedure, which os done, like many other tribes, with a fishhook to raise the skin and a razor to slice the skin, leaving a raised welt. Girls are scarred on their forehead, shoulders, arms, belly legs, back of neck, back and buttocks, with an elaborate pattern of dots which form lines ,curves, and diamonds.

So scarification is beautification overseas, and is widespread to westerners in these times.
Its just a shame that some people don't know how to do it right.


The Ukok Plateau:  
Where four countries merge in remote Asia, the Ukok Plateau, on the Golden Mountains of Altai, have now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the important finding of ancient grave sites containing frozen mummies, displaying dramatic tattoos.
The tattoo imagery are animals , both those found in the surrounding environment, and mythological creatures, (showing features of several animals simultaneously).
The placement of the designs is notable. A number are wrapped around the shoulder and torso, an effective use of the 3-dimensional surface, resulting in imposing images, full of life.

Such as :  
a chest transformed into a Tiger with a spiraling tail;
a right leg from the kneecap to the ankle, covered with a large Fish;
a Feline animal on the shoulder;
a Deer with a beak & whose antlers extend to either bird heads or leaves and flowers., is my favourite.    Deer tattoo on shoulder of "Ice Maiden"

These, as well as Griffin (eagle/lion), Ram, Fish, Mountain Goat, Wolves, Leopard, Elk and Deer, make up the menagerie of Ancient Siberian tattoo.

The significance of these tattoo was no doubt spiritual, either as ancestors (lineage is traced to animals), or as assitants on the Shaman’s journey into the spirit world.
Tattooing may have been an important Initiation Rite, intending to transform the wearer. It is believed those with tattoos were leaders politically, spiritually or both.
As leaders in their communities, their tattoos may have been not only their special privilege but also their duty in terms of carrying forth a shared belief system, knowledge, and tribal wisdom”;  from Tattoo Symbol. 
(transcript of interview with archaeological team who unearthed the "Ice Maiden", from NOVA Science TV).



Monday, March 23, 2009

MIRANDA: Japanese Tattoo History

There is a long history of tattooing with the Japanese, or as they call it ‘irezumi’. Some believe that the first tattoos appeared in Japan around 10,000 BCE. The earliest evidence of tattooing in Japan was discovered in the form of clay figurines which have faces painted or engraved to represent tattoo marks.

Then after hundreds of years of the purposes for tattoos in Japan developing and changing, going through fads including tattoos for decorated lovers’ where only after the couple were married could there tattoos be completed.

The horis were the Japanese tattoo artists their use of colours, perspective, and imaginative designs gave the practice a whole new angle.

What prompted the rise and culmination of irezumi was the development of the art of woodblock printing, as well as the publication of the very popular illustrated Chinese novel, Suikoden, which illuminated tales of rebel bravery and manly courage with illustrated woodblock prints of men in heroic scenes. These men were displayed with their bodies covered in decorated images, including dragons and other mythical beasts, flowers, ravenous tigers as well as religious imagery. Because of the novel's popularity, people all over the country demanded the same type of tattoos found in the pages of the book to be put on their own bodies.

Some Japanese tattoo sybols and meanings...


In the Far East, the dragon represents the Four Elements - Earth, Wind, Fire and Water - and the four points of the compass - East, West, North and South - and dragons are simultaneously a symbol of Water, Earth, Underworld and Sky. The dragon is a culturally far-ranging character whose apparent bad temper should be interpreted as simply amoral, neither good nor evil. The forces of nature are not human-hearted, representing as they do the cycle of life and death, followed again by birth and renewal. Nature nurtures and nature destroys. So too, does the dragon.

As Dragons were said to represent the Four Elements, so the stories and myths of dragons who had dominion over Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Each of these elemental dragons had unique characteristics that had to be taken into consideration.

In Japanese lore are stories of creatures, which through their special quests, at the end of their journeys, were transformed into dragons. In Japan, these were often the stories of Carp/Koi who through their perseverance, journeys and struggles, in the end were transformed into dragons.


Koi fish, or Carp, are a fixture of Japanese tattooing and play an important role in Japanese myths, legends, fables and stories. In many of those stories, Koi are transformed through their efforts and perseverance, able to climb waterfalls or become dragons. The Koi as a symbol represents perseverance in the face of adversity and strength of character or purpose. The Carp can also represent wisdom, knowledge, longevity, and loyalty.

In tattoo imagery, especially in combination with flowing water, the koi symbolizes courage, achievement, and overcoming life’s obstacles.

In Japan the koi has long been a symbol of masculinity and strength. Legends tell of it leaping up the falls at Dragon Gate. In the process it transformed into a dragon, proof of its successful struggle against the long odds. If caught, the koi is said to await the cutting knife without a quiver, in the manner of the Samurai warrior facing the sword. A popular fish like the koi has spawned many legends and myths over the centuries.

The beauty and charm of the koi has made it a popular symbol for the family, especially in Japan where tubular flags designed as koi are raised on Children’s Day -- black koi for father, flame red koi for mother, blue and white for boy, and pink and red for girl. On Boys’ Day Festival in Japan, each son in the family is honoured by a koi flag as an inspiration to the young that they might grow strong and resilient like this exceptional fish.

It’s no surprise that koi tattoos are popular where masculinity is valued. In Japan, the koi would appear on a young man’s fore-arm or leg. As he continued his life’s journey he might eventually earn a dragon for his final back piece, echoing the legend of the leaping koi transforming into a dragon at Dragon Gate. Colouring, whiskers, scaling and special marks represent a range of qualities a young man might wish for in his life. For personal greatness and national pride, a white koi with a single red spot on the head would be the chosen design.


The samurai warrior is the penultimate symbol and epitome of masculine courage, honour and justice within Japanese tattooing, and the samurai represents the highest masculine ideals within Japanese culture. The samurai adhered to a strict code of conduct called ‘Bushido’, meaning 'the way of the warrior'. Bushido was based on the Zen Buddhist principles of Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Trust, Honour and Loyalty until death. Other ideals to which the samurai aspired were self-discipline, frugality, self-sacrifice and nobility.

Symbols of the sun, moon, and stars were used by the samurai and appeared on their helmets and flags. Their celestial powers were believed to aid the warrior in battle.

As a tattoo design, the samurai symbolizes all the highest ideals of Bushido, honour, loyalty and duty. It expresses the wearer's understanding and appreciation of the importance of living in the moment, of taking not one second of existence for granted.


The more popular demons come complete with horns, fangs, claws, and open mouths, scary enough to keep evil spirits at a distance.

According to Japanese folklore, there’s nothing worse than a demon who doesn’t like you! Considered a worse threat than war, famine, or disease, demons had to be taken seriously. The general belief in demons and their supernatural powers spawned a culture of heroes whose job it was to confront them, and to protect the land from their mischief.

Unlike demons in Western culture, the Japanese varieties -- depending on their mood -- might be sweet-natured and helpful to humans, lavishing their protection and guidance on those they take a fancy to. The Japanese typically decorated their homes with protective talismans, including images of demons.

Traditional and modern Japanese tattooing draws much of its imagery from the wood-block art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, much of which is devoted to demon figures and art.

Some favourite Japanese demons are Inuyasha the dog-demon, and the fox and raccoon demons who are shape-shifters and tricksters. There is the wolf-demon who, according to legend, has a romantic streak. And there’s the weasel, the toad, and centipedes. The ‘Oni’, or ogre-monster, is known to Japanese children even today, for its reputation for eating humans. It’s a tattoo-bearing creature with wild hair and long nails. Its job is to hunt down evil-doers and send them to the hell-realms. Perhaps because of the horns on its forehead, it’s reminiscent of the typical demon found in Christian cultures -- like the gargoyle.

Cherry Blossom

In Japan, cherry blossoms (sakura) are a metaphor for life. A brief, brilliant blooming, followed by the inevitable fall. Cherry blossom is a symbol of female beauty and sexuality.

Bushido, the samurai’s code, takes the cherry blossom as its emblem. The blooming of the cherry tree is the purest manifestation of beauty in Japanese culture, but then the blossom swiftly fades and is scattered by the wind. This is the perfect death for a true warrior, who has lived with constant awareness and acceptance of the precariousness and transitory nature of existence. The essence of Bushido, or the Way of the Warrior, is that the true Samurai lives every day knowing it may well be his last. A samurai's motto is, "This is a good day to die". The cherry blossom as a tattoo design is a powerful reminder that life is fleeting and we must live in the present and cherish every waking moment, for it may well be our last.

The Spring equinox is the time of cherry blossoms, a season of religious celebrations that feature invocations for a plentiful harvest. In this respect, the cherry blossom is seen as a symbol of prosperity and good luck. While the cherry fruit was a dominant symbol on a samurai’s sword sheath

Yin – Yang

The Yin-Yang symbol or Taijitu, with black representing yin and white representing yang. It is a symbol that reflects the inescapably intertwined duality of all things in nature, a common theme in Taoism. No quality is independent of its opposite, nor so pure that it does not contain its opposite in a diminished form: these concepts are depicted by the vague division between black and white, the flowing boundary between the two, and the smaller circles within the large regions.

Everything can be described as both yin and yang.

1. Yin and yang are opposites.
Everything has its opposite—although this is never absolute, only relative. No one thing is completely yin or completely yang. Each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter can turn into summer; "what goes up must come down".

2. Yin and yang are interdependent.
One cannot exist without the other. For example, day cannot exist without night. Light cannot exist without darkness.

3. Yin and yang can be further subdivided into yin and yang. Any yin or yang aspect can be further subdivided into yin and yang. For example, temperature can be seen as either hot or cold. However, hot can be further divided into warm or burning; cold into cool or icy. Within each spectrum, there is a smaller spectrum; every beginning is a moment in time, and has a beginning and end, just as every hour has a beginning and end.

4. Yin and yang consume and support each other.
Yin and yang are usually held in balance—as one increases, the other decreases. However, imbalances can occur. There are four possible imbalances: Excess yin, excess yang, yin deficiency, and yang deficiency. During the switch to Daylight saving time, for example, there is more 'yin' than 'yang'. They can again be seen as a pair: by excess of yin there is a yang deficiency and vice versa. The imbalance is also a relative factor: the excess of yang "forces" yin to be more "concentrated".

5. Yin and yang can transform into one another.
At a particular stage, yin can transform into yang and vice versa. For example, night changes into day; warmth cools; life changes to death. However this transformation is relative too. Night and day coexist on Earth at the same time when shown from space.

6. Part of yin is in yang and part of yang is in yin.
The dots in each serve:

as a reminder that there are always traces of one in the other. For example, there is always light within the dark (e.g., the stars at night) these qualities are never completely one or the other.

as a reminder that absolute extreme side transforms instantly into the opposite, or that the labels yin and yang are conditioned by an observer's point of view. For example, the hardest stone is easiest to break. This can show that absolute discrimination between the two is artificial.


In traditional Japanese tattooing, certain design elements are often paired together, dragons, lions and demons with various flowers - in effect a delicate balancing of power with beauty. Peonies, or "botan" are a flower symbol that is traditionally paired with a Japanese lion, or "Shishi". This pairing is called Karajishi, and the ferocity of the lion is tempered by the beauty of the peony. But rather than merely being a simple symbolic example of Yin and Yang at work, the peony is a powerful tattoo design element in its own right.

The Peony is a flower with a history of cultivation and veneration that goes back thousands of years. In Japan, the peony is a floral symbol with meaning on par with the Chrysanthemum, the Lotus and the Cherry Blossom. The Peony is regarded as a symbol of wealth, and remember Japan, stone lions are used to guard palaces and homes, temples and sacred places, so the pairing of the peony with the lion in tattooing is no accident.

As a tattoo design, the peony symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. According to Japanese tattooing tradition, peonies also symbolize daring, risk taking and the gambler's or Samurai's devil-may-care approach to life. A gambler's next bet may be his last, a true Samurai according to the Code of Bushido, or The Way of the Warrior, lives each day as if it may be his last.

The peony is a potent symbol of beauty, of the fragility and fleeting nature of existence and the knowledge that acquiring great rewards comes only by taking great risks.


Covers an entire genre of tattoo designs, but Japanese kanji account for nearly twenty percent of tattoo design searches. Kanji is one of the three common Japanese alphabets (the other two are Katakana and Hiragana). Kanji is a set of ideographic symbols (symbols that represent ideas) developed in China, and is extremely difficult to learn. This is mostly because there are well over a thousand Kanji symbols in everyday use in Japan, plus around another thousand that are used more occasionally! Not only this but the context they are used in can change the pronunciation of each symbol quite considerably.

Hannya Mask

The most well-known of the Oni demon masks in Japanese theatre, the Hannya mask has two sharp horns protruding from the temples, and bulging eyes staring from beneath a glowering forehead. The mouth is a gaping hole with grotesquely exaggerated canine teeth protruding from the mouth like the fangs of a wild animal. With its range of fierce emotions and expressions, the Hannya mask is a favourite tattoo image with enthusiasts of traditional Japanese tattooing.

The Hannya mask represents a woman who has been betrayed by love and is filled with rage, jealousy and hatred. She has become a demon. In fact, she bears little resemblance to a woman at all.
The social rank of the demon-woman is indicated by the colours of the mask. The lighter tones identify her as a member of the aristocracy, while a red lower half places her in the lower classes, and a completely red visage declares her a true demon. The darker the tones of the complexion, the more violent the portrayal of the emotions of the character who wears the mask.

Although the woman depicted by the Hannya Mask is a woman so hideously jealous that she has become a monster, the suffering and passion of this ‘victim of unrequited love’ is revealed in the details of the mask decoration, especially around the eyes. An artful tattooist will pay attention to this human aspect of the demon-woman.

In Japan, the Hannya mask is a popular good luck motif, and, like other terrifying icons, is believed to ward off evil spirits from the home.

The Hannya mask as a tattoo is often incorporated into a larger, more elaborate Japanese tattoo design, as just one in many elements that make up the story being related.


For mischievous designs in art and tattoo, there’s plenty to choose from amongst this trickster’s portfolio. And as a martial arts motif, the Tengu lends itself to many more interpretations. As a tattoo symbol, the Tengu may be seen as a reminder to the wearer to adhere to the samurai's code of Bushido and virtues of honour, duty, courage and loyalty and to guard against personal weaknesses and vices.

The Tengu’s magical powers allowed them to shape-shift, appear in people’s dreams, and to speak to humans without moving their mouths. They could also transport themselves short distances without moving their wings. Early legends tell of the demon shape-shifting into a woman, and sometimes into the Buddha, in order to lead priests astray. But over time, the Tengu came to be hailed as protectors of the Dharma. When a corrupt or pretentious monk died, it is said that he was sent to the realm of the Tengu where he was punished by being given a long-nose. These monk-ghosts became symbol of fallen monks (and warriors).

Oni Mask

In Japanese folk lore, the Oni is the demon associated with all kinds of evil and distressful emotions. These demons are said to lurk around the dying, rushing in to pull souls down to hell. In demon hierarchy, they are worse than the Tengu (the crow-like or long-nosed goblin mischief-maker), wreaking serious damage to humans and devastation to the land.

With its ferocious expression, bulging eyes, snarling mouth, and horns sprouting from either side of its forehead, the Oni strongly resembles the devil as portrayed in western religious and folk art. As tattoos, they are often sported on the backs of hands and snarling up the sides of torsos.

Devil images and masks were used to terrify humans and also to frighten away other evil spirits. Plagues, famine and earthquakes were attributed to the Oni.


Phoenix as a symbol of rebirth and the resurrection, leaving the old world for the new world of the spirit, dying and rising again, reborn. It symbolized the victory of life over death, immortality, and Christ’s resurrection. Jewish legend describes the phoenix as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendary longevity is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the 'first man'. On Roman coins, the phoenix represented an undying empire.
In Japan, the phoenix is found carved into sword hilts, and the image of the bird seen as embroidery on kimonos. Along with the sun, the phoenix is one of the emblems of the Japanese Empire. In Japanese tattooing the phoenix is often twinned with the the dragon, symbolizing yin and yang, the harmonious combining of the best of the feminine and masculine virtues.

The phoenix as a tattoo symbol is often associated with feminine qualities, each part of its body representing a specific virtue. Duty, goodness, kindness and reliability are some of the lesser known aspects of the phoenix. The flame images represent purification and transformation through fire and adversity.


Tigers are associated with power, ferocity, passion and sensuality, beauty and speed, cruelty and wrath. The appearance of a tiger in a dream may signal that new power or passion may awaken within you


Friday, March 20, 2009

Hayley: Post 2-The History of Chinese Tattoo

  • For a long time, tattooing in mainstream China was regarded as a bad thing. It was a practice that was seen as a defamation of the body, something undesirable.The literal translation of the Chinese word for tattooing, "Ci Shen", is," To Puncture the Body".
  • At some points in Chinese history, tattoos were used to mark criminals.Those found guilty of serious crimes would have tattoos etched on their faces before being banished to a distant land. This meant that, even if they made it back into society, everyone would still recognize them as being bad. This practice was called "Ci Pei" which means " Tattoo Banishment".
  • Many of the workers on the Great Wall of China, built over 2,000 years ago, were prisoners. All of them were tattooed on their faces with the wall character.
Tattooing was viewed differently in the minority groups in China:
  • In the Drung ethnic minority, female children were tattooed on their faces at 12 or 13 years of age as a sign of sexual maturity. An elderly lady would use a bamboo stick in water and ground charcoal to first mark the design. She would then use thorns to etch the design into the girls' skin as a series of dots. Charcoal was then rubbed into the wounds to provide pigment. This technique resulted in a dark blue tattoo between the brows and around the mouth.It was common to see a diamond or a butterfly design around the mouth. These tattoos were seen as a protection as during the Ming Dynasty The Drung group often came under attack. The tattoos aimed to make the women less attractive to their enemies and, when taken prisoner, decreased the risk of being sexually attacked.
  • In the Dai ethnic minority group in China, the men were tattooed on their muscles. This was seen as a sign of virility and strength. The tattoos were designed to accentuate and draw attention to their muscles. Dai women were tattooed on the backs of their hands, their arms or between the eyebrows. Dai children had designs pricked on their bodies when they were 5 or 6. The designs were marked at this age but not actually tattooed until they were14 or 15. This was a sign of reaching adulthood and marking the end of childhood. The Dai were free to design tattoos to suit themselves. Tigers, dragons and Chinese characters were popular choices. They were done in black and white, created with plant sap. These people used to live near the river and often came under attack by "monsters" aka crocodiles. It was believed that black and white tattoos kept the monsters at bay and this was the most sensible way of avoiding death and injury by these creatures.
  • Men from the Li group would tattoo three blue rings on their wrists for medicinal purposes. Li girls, at the age of 11, were first tattooed on the nape of the neck, the throat and the face. This was necessary as they would not be allowed to be married later if they were not tattooed. Over the next 3 years the girls would have their arms and legs tattooed. Hands were not tattooed until they were married.
Probably the most famous ancient Chinese tattoo is that of the legendary military leader Yue Fei. He led armies during the South Song Dynasty. During a battle with Northern China, his second in command deserted him and defected to the enemies side. This brought him great shame and forced him to quit the army and return home to his mother. His mother was annoyed and shamed by this event, and, never wanting him to forget, tattooed four characters on his back. One translation of these characters is "Serve China and be Loyal even in the face of Death". Another translation of these characters is "Absolute Loyalty and Devotion to the Mother Land". It is thought that his mother chose these words to both inspire and admonish him.
Traditional Chinese tattoos were bold and colorful. The designs were often based on an animal, creature, warrior or god. For example, those living in the jungle that were impressed by the leopard's speed or the tiger's power may have decorated themselves with the patterns and the colors to enhance their own body's appearance with the aesthetic values of the animal. The hope was that they would assume the animals' natural abilities for themselves.

History of Chinese Tattoos | Historical Chinese Tattoos
Tattoo in Chinese Minorities
Tattoos in Chinese Tribes | Chinese Tribal Tattoos
Yue Fei - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Google Image Result for http://www.perfectchinesetattoos.com/images/knowledge/luzhishen.jpg

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maori Tattoo Julz Post 2

Designs Accessed from: www.deviant.com

Left: Tribal Circle by Cyberduality

Left: Maori taonga by Cyberduality

Left: Tortue by Gotyss

Body by Bern Z Maori Male

Body by Bern Z Maori Fe-Male

The Tattoo (Ta Moko)


Maori Moko, scanned from John Rutherford: The White Chief (pre-1923)

Click here to enlarge this image (48k)

Maori moko

This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide. (Wikipedia)

The designs above show that the Maori culture and their love for Tattoo designs is still very much current and alive today. Although the Maori People have a long history of Tattooing within their culture.

The word 'Tattoo' comes from the Tahitian word "Tatau" and Captain James Cook documented his witnessing of tattooing for the first time in Tahti in 1769.

According to Maori mythology a love affair between a young man by the name of
Mataora ('Face of Vitality') and a young princess of the underworld named Niwareka, was the beginning of their Tattoo History.

Niwareka left Mataora after he beat her and ran back to her father's realm (Uetonga).
Mataora followed her, facing many obstacles but eventually arrived at Uetonga
with messy face paint and dirty. Niwareka's family taunted and mocked
Mataora and in his humbled state he begged for Niwareka to forgive him. Eventually she did. Niwareka's father offered to teach Mataora the art of Tattooing and also the art of Taniko the plaiting of cloak borders in many colours.

Mataora and Miwareka returned together to the human world, bringing with them the Arts of Ta Moko and Taniko.

Tattooing came to New Zealand from Eastern Polynesian culture, according to archaeological evidence.
Bone Chisels were used for tattooing and have been found in archaeological sites of various ages in New Zealand, as well as in many Eastern Polynesian sites. Even though the Maori people did practice the Art of Tattooing there's no evidence that the Moriori people did.

The wider chisel blades show that rectilinear tattoo patterns were preferred in the earlier days.
'head' was considered the most sacred part of the body. All the high ranking Maori chiefs were tattooed and those who weren't had no social status.
Because of the blood letting the
tattooist or 'tohunga-ta-oko' were considered 'Tapu' in a way 'untouchable'.