Maori tattoos come from the polynesian culture and they were born many years ago in an indigenous town located in New Zealand. This type of body art is also known as “ta moko” and they are designs that are characterized by being very complex as they have a high degree of detail, where curved shapes and spiral patterns combined with other elements of these tribes prevail. Most of the drawings are large, but there are also different small Maori tattoos to choose from.
If you are thinking of using this type of design on your skin, in this oneHOWTO article we will explain the origin and meaning of maori tattoos, as well as the different elements that are used in each of them. Choose the one you like best!
Meaning of Maori tattoos: the lark
Ancient Polynesian culture is full of symbols. One of the most used in tattoos is the lizard. This animal, from the reptile family, is directly related to religion and spirituality. For them, the lizard represented God and it was believed that the person who had this tattoo on his skin was protected from any disease.
However, despite sometimes being drawn large, it is usually one of the most common small Maori tattoos.
Maori tattoo designs: the shell
Another of the most used symbols in Maori style tattoos is a kind of shell that, for the creators of these designs, represented a sea turtle. For the native New Zealand tribe this animal meant something special and, most of them, wore it on their skin out of admiration.
The sea turtle or shell symbolizes home and family protection. It also means patience and perseverance, values that allow us to endure all kinds of adversities that may appear in our way. Currently, this drawing is usually carried from one of our shoulders to the chest.
Another of the Maori symbols for tattoos: the marquise cross
The marquise cross is another very important image in Polynesian civilization. This drawing represented for the Maori harmony and balance of the four basic elements, that is to say: earth, water, fire and air. Therefore, whoever chose to get it tattooed, was looking for a certain stability in their life.
This is one of the designs, within this type of tattoos, most recorded throughout the world. In the case of a male body, the marquise cross is usually worn on the back or on the chest. In the case of women, it is located more in the area of the hips.
You may also be interested in this article on Back Tattoo Ideas and Tips.
Maori symbols for tattoos: the Sun
In almost all existing cultures, this great star has always had a great role. The Sun was described by this civilization as the father of the world, since it is the one that supplies food and other natural resources. Therefore, symbolizes light and wealthas well as strength and courage.
As for the place where we can locate the tattoo, there is no ideal area. It is a design that adapts very well to any part of our body.
Maori symbolism: the spear
This tattoo was a symbol of bravery for men who wore it on their body. The spear signifies strength and wisdom, two essential qualities for Maori warriors. Therefore, whoever gets a spear tattooed on his body is because, perhaps, he is a born fighter, especially in life matters, although it is a Maori design that can have thousands of meanings.
If you are not sure if you are going to like how the tattoo will look on you, at OneHOWTO we remind you that there are ways to try on a tattoo on the Internet.
Maori tattoo designs: flowers
Maori flowers is a tattoo that was normally carried by the women of this tribe, since it represents women and was a synonymous with beauty. It also contained other meanings, such as eternal life, just as it could be a tribute to a deceased loved one.
Generally, the Maori flower tattoo is done on the hips or shoulder blade, although it is also very common to see it on the nape or in other areas of the back.
Other Maori tattoos and their meaning
As we mentioned, there are thousands of Maori designs for tattoos. Others of the most common are:
- Koru or spiral design: This drawing usually represents a new beginning, as well as growth and inner harmony.
- Hei matau: It is a kind of hook that, for Maori culture, meant prosperity. Furthermore, it was also a sign of strength and determination.
- Double (or triple) twist: is the symbol of the eternal union of two people. Represents marriage and loyalty.
- Manaia: He was a spiritual guardian in Polynesian civilization. It had supernatural powers and its function was to protect the sky, the earth and the sea.
- Hei tiki: is the symbol of good luck and fertility. For this tribe, this drawing represented an embryo before birth.
- Ocean: This tattoo, meanwhile, represented death and the afterlife.
Now that you know the meaning of Maori tattoos, you may be interested in this article on How to choose the perfect tattoo.
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