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Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) ratherthan punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.
Captain Cook wrote in 1769:

The marks in general are spirals drawn with great nicety and even elegance. One sidecorresponds with the other. The marks on the body resemble foliage in old chased ornaments, convolutions of filigree work, but in these they have such a luxury of forms that of a hundred which at firstappeared exactly the same no two were formed alike on close examination.[1][2]
The tattooists were considered tapu, or exceptionally inviolable and sacred.[3]

Contents [hide]
1 Background
2Instruments used
3 Changes
4 Tā moko today
4.1 Use by non-Māori
5 Notes
6 See also
7 References
8 External links

[edit] BackgroundTattoo arts are common in the Eastern Polynesian homeland ofMāori, and the traditional implements and methods employed were similar to those used in other parts of Polynesia (see Buck 1974:296, cited in References below). In pre-European Māori culture, many ifnot most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status. Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood andadulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex.Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (called raperape) and thighs (called puhoro). Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauae) and chins. Other parts of the body known to have mokoinclude women's foreheads, buttocks, thighs, necks and backs and men's backs, stomachs, and calves.

[edit] Instruments usedOriginally tohunga-tā-moko (moko specialists) used a range of uhi...
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