Fishing Hook Tattoo

Fishing Hook Tattoo

The fish hook is closely associated with fishing, and through the years it has come to be symbolic of many positive attributes for different people. The great thing about the fish hook tattoos is that once you connect with a design, you can choose any of the associations that best represents you at your core. Even those who have never fished or are not lovers of fishing can find a connection with the fish hook tattoos that is too irresistible to pass on.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

Since the Maori people consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body, the most popular kind of Maori tattoo was the facial tattoo, which was composed of curved shapes and spiral like patterns. Often this tattoo covered the whole face and was a symbol of rank, social status, power and prestige.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

The Maori symbols or meaning or hei matau, more commonly known as the fish hook symbolises prosperity. Maori use fish in many of their traditional food dishes. Fish were so plentiful to the Maori that the simple ownership of a fish hook meant prosperity. The fish hook also represents strength, determination and good health, as well as providing safe journey over water.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

The fish hook tattoos can run the gamete of meanings today with body ink lovers. On one hand, the pointed jagged edge means steer clear of this person, they have their hook in someone else. Others see the fish hook and a connection of love, a bond with another person that will stand the test of time.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

A less historical explanation of the origin of Maori tattoo can be found in the local legend which suggests that ta moko, the Maori tattoo, came from the underworld, called Uetonga. The legend states that there was a young warrior called Mataora, who fell in love with the princess of the underworld, called Niwareka. Niwareka came above ground to marry Mataora.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

Only people of rank or status were allowed to have, and could afford to have, tattoos. A person who did not have any high-ranking social status, such as a slave, could not have a face tattoo. Those who had the means to get a tattoo but did not were seen as people of lower social status.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

The Maori facial tattoo was not only seen as a sign of rank though, but was also used as a kind of identification card. For men, their face tattoo showed their accomplishments, status, position, ancestry and marital status. It is considered highly insulting to be unable to recognise a person’s power and position by his moko.
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Fishing Hook Tattoo

If you are a non-Maori who admires Maori artwork and tattooing and wants to have one done it is advisable to seek out a Maori tattoo artist with sufficient knowledge of ta moko. We have extensively experienced Maori artists here at Zealand Tattoo who are able to design you a custom, yet traditional, Maori design that is respectful and in honour of traditional Maori.
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Despite the little amount of information that we have on the origins of the Maori tattoo, it has a rich recorded history. Several books have been published about the subject of Maori tattoos since the first time European’s saw it. The books, such as those my the aforementioned Major General Robley as well as Michael King and John Rutherford have helped in preserving the significance and interest in Maori tattoos. The lack of definite origins seems to add more mystique to this already captivating form of early art. Perhaps it is that mystery which has made the Maori tattoo endure.
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Desperate to obtain as many weapons as possible, the Maori would behead slaves and commoners who were captured in battle and tattoo their heads post mortem. Often, even heads of poor quality or those with unfinished tattoos were still offered for sale.
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One of the most noted collectors of tattooed heads was Major General Horatio Robley, who in his lifetime acquired some 35 tattooed heads. Today, 30 out of the 35 heads in his collection can be found in the Natural History Museum of New York. Major General Robley also published a book; entitled Moko which gave extensive details on the process and meaning of Maori tattoo designs.
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Mataora apologized before Niwareka’s family, and this act won Niwareka back. Before returning above ground, it was said that Niwareka’s father, the king of the underworld taught Mataora the art of ta moko. Mataora brought back these skills to his people and that was how the Maori came to have their distinct type of tattoo.
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Maori tattoo traditionally does not involve the use of needles; rather the Maori used knives and chisels made from shark teeth, sharpened bone or sharp stones. The chisel, also called the uhi, was made from albatross bon although some were said to be made of iron. Knives and chisels were either plain and smooth or serrated, and these were used interchangeably depending on the intended pattern or design in the skin.
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Due to the sacred nature of the Maori tattoo, those who were undergoing the process, and those involved in the process, could not eat with their hands or talk to anyone aside from the other people being tattooed. Those who were receiving tattoos made it a point to not cry out in pain, because to do so was a sign of weakness. Being able to withstand the pain was very important in terms of pride for Maori people.

The focal point of Maori tattooing was generally the face. Men had full facial tattoos, while women only had their chin, lips and nostrils tattooed. Some Maori also had other parts of the body tattooed, such as their back, buttocks and legs. Women were more often known to tattoo their arms, neck and thighs.
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Since tribal-patterns of tattoo grew in popularity in the late 1990s, early 2000s, more and more non-Maori are copying designs and incorporating in their own art. Since then, more traditional Maori art has made a comeback and people are inserting their own meanings and themes into the more traditional art work.
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This appealing tac on the foot demonstrates the heart, which is made of two fish hooks, on the right side of it there is an inscription: “Love”. The signification of this tattoo is a purposeful person, who has searched for love, has found it and will never let his beloved go.
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The Maori tattoo artist is called the tohunga ta moko which means moko specialist. These tattooists are highly respected, and considered tapu which means inviolable or holy. Tohunga ta moko were mostly men, but there are a few women who take up the practice.
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The tribal ink discloses Maori traditions, as they had a ritual cannibalism, warriors ate their victims and took their powers, as a sign of the ritual, they applied fish hook tattoos. So this tight ornament may indicate an unscrupulous and even cruel man.
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While it provides a bounty for the tribe, it also is symbolic of safe travels and good luck too. Some Hawaiian tribes see the fish hook as meaning prosperity, while others see it as a sign of endurance and strength.

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