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Kunsten på Kroppen
The art of tattooing

Photos of tattoos,
and presentation of:
Kai Uwe Faust
Patricia Campos
Marcus Hammer

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The History of Tattooing
Polynesia
The Maoris -
Tahiti - Samoa - Marquesas

The Maoris of New Zealand are famous for their striking tattoos. What was special for the Maoris were their facial tattoos. Their facial tattoos were quite individual, though held within traditions, so the tattoo told who the person was - family ties, status in the society, etc. When the first Europeans came to New Zealand, and needed documents signed, the Maoris did not have a written language, but signed by drawing their mokos. The tattoo told exactly who they were. Thus one should be very careful not to simply copy the Maori designs. But to use them as inspiration - like anything else, is perfectly OK by me!


From a painting by  C.F.Goldie. A portrait of Chief Te Aho te Rangi Wharepu, and it was painted in 1905.
(From the book: Mark Blackburn: Tattoos from Paradise, Schiffer USA, 1999)

The Maori tattoo tradition was practically wiped out by the European missionaries, but today the tradition has seen a great flowering again, as the Maoris are rediscovering their history and cultural roots.

 

 

Kunsten på Kroppen
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