Maori Tattoos

Maori tattooing is one of the most ancient tattooing practices that has been done in a traditional manner since before Captain Cook stumbled upon the Polynesian islands in the late 1700’s. Most Polynesian tattoos are based off of straight line geometric patterns but Maori tattoos incorporated curvilinear designs and based most of their designs off of the spiral. Their tattoos are distinguished by the use of repetitive design motifs that are called Moko. There are two main types of designs in Maori tattoos. The first is based on a pigmented line and the other is based on darkening a certain area leaving the unpigmented skin with the pattern. Most of the Moko had special rules and taboos especially for facial tattoos. Tattoos were specific to clans, tribes, and rank depending on the village one lived in. Today authentic Maori tattooing is still practiced and can be acquired in the original method of single stroke tattooing with the use of a bone needle.