History of a Tattoo ~ Maori Style

Every time I start to think about getting another tattoo, I get the urge to do a post on another style. To continue my History of a Tattoo Series I chose Maori style tattooing or Ta Moko (to strike or tap). Ta Moko is the process of marking the body permanently with certain designs by using phi (chisels) to carve the skin rather than puncture it. Ouch!

Maoris are the original inhabitants of New Zealand. Maori is one of my all time favourites because of the cultural significance behind each design. Each design is worn for its personal significance being either; tribal history, eligibility to marry, rank, genealogy, identification and marks of beauty or ferocity. The traditional Maoris take offence to non Maori individuals imitating their culture for the sake body art. Ta Moko is the tapu (sacred) form of family and personal identification. If you absolutely love the Maori style designs they suggest you chose a Kirituhi, which is a form of pattern art that looks like Ta Moko but doesn’t make any reference to Maori symbolism. It literally means ‘skin art’.

Traditionally it took months of planning and approval from the elders and other family members in order to be worthy of getting a moko in the first place. Usually those with high ranks such as Chiefs were the only ones who could afford or be worthy of adorning them. Women traditionally only had their lips, around the chin and sometimes their nostrils tattooed which was seen as the epitome of Maori female beauty, whereas men were allowed full facial moko. Now many men decide to do other parts of their bodies excluding their face, you have to be pretty brave to sport a full facial tattoo these days! I couldn’t decide which video to include so I have included two which I though were very interesting and worth watching! Enjoy ~

More on Maori Style Tattoos…


History of a Tattoo…The Celts ~

I’ve been seriously thinking about getting another tattoo. I love symbols because they have personal meaning depending on what lesson we have learned or path we are on in our life. In continuing with my ‘History of a Tattoo’, I have chosen ‘The Celts’ this time because I have always been drawn to symbols and love celtic artwork. I have a celtic spinning ring which I absolutely love. A few years ago I considered having the celtic knot tattooed on my ring finger but haven’t yet seen one that wore well. (and it’s supposed to be very painful in that area)

The Celts were tribal people who lived and moved around Western Europe around 1200 and 700 B.C. They reached the British Isles around 400 B.C. and most of what had survived from their culture is in the area now known as Ireland, Wales and Scotland. I traveled around Europe when I was 10 with my family and loved the beautiful country side. It feels very romantic in these areas to me, and I love the accents! Wales was where I felt butterflies for the first time when I caught eyes with a boy who drove by on a bus. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. Funny what you choose to remember when your grown up.

My Mom’s side of the family is Scotish so maybe that is also a reason I am drawn to symbols of the Celts. Celtic culture is full of body art which was done using something called woad, (a blue dye from the flowering plant) which left a blue design on the skin.

The Celtic knot is one of the most easily recognized forms of Celtic art, with the use of spirals, single, double and triple complex braids that weave in and out symbolizing the connection of all life. I love the history behind a simple woven band! The Celtic designs are symbolic of the way various paths that life’s journey can take, with sometimes a very complex maze. I can relate to that right now. Life is ever changing we never really know our path until we are on it, most important is to just keep going’ ~ Tracy.

Here is a short video to show some of the beautiful Celtic designs, tattoo style!