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Maori Tattoo Meanings

There has been a recent explosion in the number of people that are enthralled with the black ink, geometric and richly patterned tattoo in the Maori style, but many people wonder what, aside from design beauty, the meanings of Maori tattoos are. Most people that are not native Maori find that the meaning of a Maori tattoo is encapsulated in their sheer beauty and emphasis on design. Those who want to communicate a sense of boldness and strength often choose Maori tattoos that are of the very thick, strong solid black tribal variety.

Maori Style Tattoos Ideas

Maori Style Tattoo Maori Style Tattoo Maori Style Tattoo Maori Style Tattoo

Others find that the meaning of a Maori tattoo outside of the original tribal context is best kept in the detailed, very intricate patterns that are not bold in rich, stark color—but in depth and complexity. This reflects their inner complexity and sense of pattern. For native Maori people, there are many meanings embedded in the symbols that make up any Maori tattoo. For instance, many of these beautiful, complex works of art relate directly to the wearer’s family history and tribal distinction while others relate to identification of one’s traditional role or other place in the Maori culture.

Maori Face Tattoo Ideas

Maori Face Tattoo Maori Face Tattoo Maori Face Tattoo Maori Face Tattoo

What this means is that the meaning of a Maori tattoo is far different for a Maori native than the meaning of a Maori tattoo for a Westerner who has never been to New Zealand or a Mairo tribe dwelling. This also means that you should carefully think about the meaning of your Maori tattoo idea before you etch these symbols into your skin.

While the patterns differ and are not reflective of objects, but rather abstract concepts, the meaning of Maori tattoos can be hard to discern given simple shape, design and pattern without context. In fact, the meanings of most Maori tattoos in the West have been lost on the wearer since they rarely relate to detailed family history and lineage meanings.

Maori Tattoos

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Some non-natives find the sophisticated, detailed patterns of these tattoos to be appealing and others find meaning in Maori tattoos related to what they represent about tattoo art in general. After all, the Maori tattoo tradition goes back many centuries in the form of native art called “Ta Moko.” This ancient tattoo form required chisels to carve out chunks of the skin versus needles, which caused a grooved appearance that some tattoo artists can recreate with clever color work. As one might imagine, the native Maori people are somewhat bothered that non-Maori people are choosing Maori inspired tattoos when they feel that the meaning of the Maori tattoo could not exist without intimate understand of the culture. This is why many individuals that decide to get a Maori tattoo should research and understand Maori tattoo meanings so that they can have a better grasp on the symbolism behind their choice—and so they can answer the question, “what is the meaning of a Maori tattoo?” After all, as with any tattoo, someone is bound to ask about meaning—now you can be prepared.

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Believe it or not, for many native Maori, the meaning of a Maori tattoo within the culture is best expressed by tattooing the Maori pattern of choice on the face. If you are taking the native route, you absolutely want to make sure you have no doubts about the true meaning of your Maori tattoo!

Maori Lower Back Tattoos

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