Posts Tagged ‘maori tattoo’

This client wanted a piece that reflected his faith and spirituality, his desire to become a pilot in the military and his love of family and of the sea, with the overall intention of balance. I chose to convey it all in symmetry (for balance) and again, utilized the nesting of a tattoo within the body of a tattoo.

The focal point is the large manu (bird) symbol that splits the piece in half but also acts as the crown of the head of the mata hoata that comprises a majority of the upper portion of the piece. On each wing I placed a row of ani ata which symbolize his ancestors protecting him as he moves forward. The circular mata shapes upper part feature four eyes; one set looking up, the other down. There are eyes on each cheek as well. This is a highly aware, protective piece.

This entire upper part is nested into a lower half that is itself another mata, albeit only the eyes are present. This is because the upper part is a tattoo on the head of the lower entity, speaking of divine connection and spirituality as it is, being born of mindfulness.

The lower portion shows family and protection, with the niho that form its upper mouth and growth and strength in its lower jaw, with the koru and ka’ake. There are also twin fish hooks on either side of the tiki that show his love of the sea and visually, act as ears.

I had a ton of fun constructing this piece and I hope that you enjoyed the read!

Breakdown below:

a) koru- unfurling fern head: growth, breath, life.
b) ka’ake- upraised arm: strength, also supports the growth of the koru.
c) niho- tooth: this line of niho represents family and is protective to keep danger at bay.
d) mata- eye: these are the eyes of the entire entity, looking out for danger.
e) mata- eye: these are the eye of the upper portion, which is a tattoo worn by the entity to protect the entire tattoo.
f) manu- bird: this speaks of this faith, his desire to be a pilot and acts a symbol of guidance as he moves forward in life.
g) ani ata- the horizon: these symbols represent his ancestors as the help to guide him in life.
h) matau- fish hook: this speaks of his love of the sea.

This modern Marquesan and Maori piece is an overall protective piece, but like the shoulder piece that I did a few tattoos back, is contained in the profile of a mata hoata. It speaks about the bond that he has with his daughter and the imagery used shows is meant to protect and preserve their relationship as they move forward. This piece also has a tattoo to protect the overall intent, which is a warriors head/helmet that sits above the brow of the eyes.

a) siamutu – binding, using niho at the opposite ends of this paka and connecting them with a line, symbolizes his connection with his daughter.

b) niho – tooth, the three niho near the ankle protects the intention of the tattoo, while the row of niho running diagonally upwards forms the mouth of the mata hoata and is meant to protect from sin and also represent family.

c) ihu – nose, this is the nose of the mata hoata and symbolizes breath and life.

d)  mata – eye, this is the eye of the piece and is meant to look out for danger and to protect.

e) tiki koa – warrior image, this image is set atop the head of the mata hoata and is a tattoo for the overall tattoo, meant to protect.

f) koru – unfurling fern head, this symbolizes growth and life as she moves forward.

g) ama kopeka – dancing flame, this is meant to illuminate the path forward and adds to the efficacy of the tattoo by protecting it from breaking down.

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There’s a first time for everything! I was asked to do a Polynesian leg piece in water color style, something that I had never even considered before and this is how it turned out. The piece is in memory of her grandmother and is an homage to when she paddled out and spread her grandmothers ashes in the sea. The overall piece repeats the story twice: on a somewhat gloomy day she and her family paddled out into the bay as the sun was setting and it began to rain. When they stopped to spread her ashes the rain ceased and the sun broke through the clouds. Then a whale breached right next to them as the last of her grandmothers ashes fell into the sea. The symbols in the tattoo represent her grandmother, protection, life, family and the whale. I wanted the colors to mimic the sun setting on the darkened ocean. Done in modern Marquesan/Tahitian, Maori style. Some of the stencil is still visible on the top part. Super stoked with how it all turned out. Symbols also follow the Fibonacci sequence in terms of usage.

Breakdown:

a) koru – unfurling fern head, this symbolizes growth and life as she moves forward.

b) kohola – whale, this symbolizes a venerated ancestor as well as the spirit of the sea.

c) etua – venerated ancestor, this symbolizes her grandmother.

d) lauhala – pandanus weave, this woven symbol represents her ties to her grandmother and overall family unity.

e) niho – tooth, this protects the intention of the tattoo itself.

f) u’uhe – piece of turtle shell, this is to protect the wearer.

g) mata – eye, this is the eye of the piece and is meant to look out for danger and to protect.

I rarely do walk-ins but managed to fit this gentleman in and we had a blast. Mata hoata or brilliant eyes, are meant to protect from dangers both physical and mental. This is a profile rendering complete with teeth and koru at the top towards his chest for growth and prosperity in life.

Breakdown:

a) hope vehine (single) – this single image of the hope vehine is meant to symbolize the twin goddesses of tattoo, give protection and act as an interface for any subsequent piece that is added below it.

b) niho – tooth, the two niho at the bottom of this piece are there to protect the entire tattoo. Moving diagonally upwards from left to right, the larger niho with a dark band on the outside is meant to symbolize strength. The final set of niho form the mouth of the mata hoata and act to protect from sin and to also symbolize family.

c) ka’ake – upward raised arm, this symbol is meant to symbolize courage and strength.

d) puaika – ear, this is the ear of the mata hoata.

e) ihu – nose, this is the nose of the mata hoata and symbolizes breath and life.

f) mata – eye, this is the eye of the piece and is meant to look out for danger and to protect.

g) kape – eyebrow, this is the eyebrow of the piece and is meant to convey, intelligence, beauty and attention.

h) koru – unfurling fern head, this symbolizes growth and life as he moves forward.

 

I did this chest piece a few months back and have been so busy lately that I’m finally getting around to posting the breakdown. He wanted to incorporate the old tattoo (I did not do) into the new piece. When he comes back I will fix the color in it. Anyway, this chest plate is meant to signify his love for his birthplace as well as to commemorate his new journey in life, moving forward. I really enjoy how this all came together and can’t wait to give it another pass when he comes home to visit.

Here is the breakdown:

a) Lau niu (coconut fronds)= this is used to signify noble intentions, peace and to also indicate that he is ‘of’ the land (aina)

b) Niho (tooth)= this symbol represents himself and it is pointing at the area on the Big Island where he lives

c) Koru (unfurling fern head)=  this is to symbolize life and growth; the back side of this image also points toward the area of the island that he lived

d) Mata (eye)= this is meant to protect as it watches over him

e) Lei niho (garland of teeth)= 8 teeth symbolize the state, one for each island in the chain

f) Kofati (crease)= this textile inspired image symbolizes unity, family and connectedness to the land

g) Koru (unfurling fern head)=  this is to symbolize life and growth

h) Po’o kohe (bamboo section)= this symbolizes the plant; resilient, strong and abundant. It also drives away evil spirits

i) Lau hala (pandanus weave)= this textile pattern represents family and island roots

j) Pakiei (crab)= this symbol is often misread as a cross or star, but it is intact a crab analog. This symbol represents his astrological sign but it also represents change, love and rebirth

k) Kai (ocean)= this represents the ocean as this element is important to him. There are 5 waves (nalu) keeping numerical consistency with the Fibonacci sequence

l) Ipu (bowl)= this symbol is a container for mana, or spiritual energy and is placed on the shoulder

m) Mano (bird)= this paka which also contains “p” and “r” symbolizes his new journey moving forward

n) Lau niu (coconut fronds)= this is used to signify noble intentions, peace and to also indicate that he is ‘of’ the land (aina)

o) Ka’ake (upraised arms)= these two arms, essentially opposing one another, symbolizes strength and the warrior spirit

p) Hui niho (teeth union)= this is to fortify the journey that he is on and connects his past with his future

q) Ihe (spear)= this analog is of the weapon and symbolizes a warrior spirit

r) Miti vao (bird foot prints)= the entirety of “m” “p” and “r” signify his current path; his journey. “R” would be the past that he is leaving behind as he moves forward into the future

s) Hena (hand)= this hand analog holds the tattoo fast to the body

t) Lau hala (pandanus weave)= this modified textile pattern represents family and island roots

Thank you for looking!

Aloha!

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Aloha! Here are some tattoos that I have done over the past few weeks and am finally getting around to posting. I won’t get into too much detail with each one but will give an overview instead, since this is mainly for the tattoo collector to understand the symbols being used.

Here is the breakdown:

IMG_2061 nate

This tattoo was his first and the intention behind it was to mark his life at this point, to pay tribute to his family and to give him strength as he goes forth in life and joins the military. (His skin was barely recovered from a sunburn). He will eventually get a sleeve with this shoulder cap acting as the basis.

a) matavau = harpoon: hunter of fish, love of fishing.

b) hulu pu’eo = owl feathers (x2): this is for his family aumakua, the owl.

c) nalu = wave: love of the sea.

d) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

e) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

f) niho, see d.

g) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

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This tattoo of a honu, or turtle was meant to be an overall protective piece, as is the nature of the honu. It is populated with motifs specific to his time and place in life, at the moment. It is symmetrical and so the meaning on one side is reflected on the other. it was finished off with traditional tap tatau.

a) pepehipu = pounded, armor: this is an analog to tapa cloth that was used as armor in battle. Here it protects the turtle from attack.

b) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

d) kofati = fold/crease: this symbol is a mark of authority.

e) mata = eye: to look out for danger, to protect.

f) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward. This motif augments ‘g’, as well.

g) manu = bird: freedom, flight, direction, home.

h) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, is also the face of the honu in this case.

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This chest plate is a continuation of the Polynesian theme that he has going on on the right side of his body. I did not do any of the other work, nor did I do the Borneo rose that this tattoo surrounds.
The upper portion was done several weeks before and had not finished healing completely when I went back over some of the areas. This is why some of it appears puffy.

a) kofati = crease/fold: symbolizing nobility and connectedness with the earth.

b) (twin) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) unaunahi = fish scales: symbolizes his love and respect of the sea.

d) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers. In this instance, done in profile with the row of niho acting as the mouth; the upper portion near the rose is the eye.

e) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward.

f) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

g) hoka = rafter: this rafter motif symbolizes bravery and courage and is populated with etua in Fibonacchi sequence.

h) creator etua = gosling: this represents the wearer as a father.

i) peka ou mei = protective spirit: protection from evil.

j) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

IMG_2049ingo

This shoulder cap was his first tattoo and is a unique tiki that overall, displays the image of a star gazing fisherman. This person is an amateur astronomer and came here with the intent to visit Mauna Kea to see the stars. He wanted something to commemorate this, as well as show his love of the sea and fishing in particular. Because the ancient Polynesians utilized the stars to navigate, this all made perfect sense! This is another mirrored image with the symbols on both sides having the same meaning and intent.

a) nutu kaha = mouth: power and protection given by ancestors.

b) mekau = fish hook: these two hooks, back to back, make up the jawline of the tiki and represent his love of fishing.

c) hinenao/pahoe = cherished daughter/ wife: love for the female members of his family.

d) hikuhiku tau = bonito (tuna) tails: warrior, speed, to run quickly.

e) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body. It is also the ears of the tiki.

f) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, and is also the upward looking eyes of the star gazer.

g) ani ata = the sky, the heavens: the heavens, the place where angels dwell, promise, success.

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This lower shoulder cap is meant to create symmetry from the piece above it (shark aumakua, not done by me) so that we can begin to create a sleeve. The entire piece is family-centric.

a) pepehipu = pounded tapa cloth: this area is meant as armor and protects the entire tattoo. It is also inset with niho for added strength.

b) lauhala = woven mat analog; family unity; binds the elements in this tattoo.

c) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

black d) hiki a tama = cherished child: there are 6 simplified hiki a tama motifs that adorn the koru, each one symbolizing a grandchild.

white d) niho = tooth: This motif is an extension of koru/hiki a tama and represents his children.

e) niho = tooth: This ties in with the entire ‘g’ motif and represent the years that he and his wife were married (34).

f) niho = tooth: This trio of niho represent the holy trinity.

g) itiiti’i/niho = alliance/ teeth: This binding motif represents his marriage to his wife. There are 2 niho; one on each side of the binding that represent him and his wife, respectively.

Thank you all for looking and aloha!

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This client wanted a piece that could be added to at a latter date, one that reflected his new direction in life while combining elements of his family lineage, past occupation and love of music. I included a protection motif, as such things are an intrinsic aspect of Polynesian tattoo to a greater or lesser degree.

The breakdown of the piece is as follows:

a) Koru with kape and pakura elements- The koru is a Maori motif and has several meanings but are generally meant to convey life, breath or new beginnings. In this case it represents this person’s new direction in life.
The line elements in the tattoo represent a non-curved variation of pakura, or footprints of the swamp hen. They are simply meant to connect the tattoo and are also placed on the outside of koru.
The circular motifs  on the outside of the koru are called, kape and represent eyebrows/lashes. This symbol represents beauty, attention, and intelligence.

b) Mata hoata- All seeing eye motif is done in profile in this tattoo. The nose can be seen at the bottom of this motif, moving upward we can see the eye as the principle element. At the bottom there are a row of niho. The entire motif is to look out for danger; to protect him from threats when his attention may be elsewhere.

c) Koru with pakura

d) Ipu- Container of mana, the universe. Ipu are containers that store mana (power) but also represent the female uterus vis a vis creation. It is used to show the creation of all things and therefore is synonymous with the universe. The ipu in this sense represents his creation of music.

e) Ama kopeka- Fire. This speaks of his past as a firefighter. The flame also represents illumination and is also a symbol of defiance when used with vai meama.

f) Niho- Teeth. These symbols are spread throughout this piece and all are done in Fibonacci sequence to represent the mana inherent in everything in nature. They are a protective as well as warrior motif.

g) Unaunahi- Fish scales. This Maori symbol was used a lot in woodcarving and represents fish scales which themselves represent abundance (of food) or bounty. In this tattoo there are 4 scales, each representing a member of his family that are healers (nurses, doctors, etc.).

h) Koru with pakura.

Looking forward to adding to this beast!

I hope you enjoyed the breakdown. Peace and aloha!

IMG_1027I did this female Polynesian piece yesterday. It is comprised of traditional and modern Marquesan, with Maori overtones. Had a lot of fun with it and look forward to working more with this client.
When composing Poly tattoos for female clients, I like to work with the flow of the body and believe that the overall piece should not overpower the femininity inherent in the female body. I also believe that less is more in this case and prefer a light and airy coverage that is extensive instead of packing a ton of motifs into a small space. I like to long, flowing paka that aren’t necessarily touching or attached, such as in male tattoo.

This piece was meant as a decorative with familial and protective elements.

Anyway, here is the breakdown. Peace!

a) tai: the sea, this speaks for her love of the ocean
b) lau niu: coconut fronds, this represents someone of high regard
c) maka: eye(s), placed on various parts of a tattoo the eyes are meant to warn of danger as well as give a human element to the tattoo itself
d) poka’a: opening/uterus, this symbolizes her role as a mother and giver of life and when used in mirror image conveys balance
e) hope vehine: twin goddesses of tattoo, this motif represents beauty, life, creation and protection
f) piko: belly button, representing her two children
g) this client had high regard for the number four, so inset along various parts of the tattoo are four niho (teeth)
h) koru: unfurling fern head, this Maori symbol is used here to represent new beginnings
i) hena/i’ima: hand, this motif acts to attach the tattoo to the body
j) u’uhe: piece of turtle shell, this motif is a feminine protective motif
k) ani ata: sky and heavens, this motif represents her deceased relatives
l) pa’aoa: whale, this motif represents trust, protection and unwavering friendship
m) tai: the sea
n) kaka’a: lizard, this represents tenacity but also her love of lizards!
o) maka: eye
p) hena/i’ima: hand
q) koru: the overall shape of the upper piece is that of a koru

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Did this shoulder piece the other day. It contains Ana’ole as well as traditional and modern Marquesan and Maori motifs. This was a walk-in client and the overall piece was conceived as an aggressive, warrior-oriented design. The overall pauku was meant to resemble armor to some degree, that would be placed on the shoulder area.

Here is the breakdown of the paka:

a) ana’ole style, niho or teeth. This is meant to protect the tattoo and gives an aggressive appearance.

b) niho. For the same reasons as stated above and additionally, this traditional motif also forms the mouth of the mata hoata above it.

c) mata hoata. The brilliant eyes are meant to watch for any danger or threat to the individual.

d) niho peata, or shark teeth. These represent courage and power as well as protection in this piece.

e) koru. This Maori symbol represents the cycle of life and growth.

f) lauhala/a’aka hala. This weave pattern of leaves from the hala tree symbolize protection and unity.

g) hope vehine. This rendition of the symbol for the twin goddesses of tattoo represents protection.

note: f,g are fit into the overall shape, ka’ake, or uplifted arm, symbolizing strength that fortifies the overall piece.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more. Aloha and Peace! R

tryston_sleeve_web tryston_sleeve_webbdThis sleeve reflects this person’s mother, father and self, with emphasis to each individual’s qualities and characteristics that has made him the person that he is today. Because much of this is personal to him I will not elaborate on why certain motifs were chosen but rather will focus on the overall composition.

This sleeve took three sessions (17+ hours) and will require a final pass to finish making all black solid because he has sensitive skin. I prefer to do it this way instead of causing unnecessary scarring.

There is a central theme that starts at the top of his shoulder and runs the length of his arm to his wrist. The Mata hoata is a combination of his mother and father that impart to him their respective characteristics. The entirety of the piece is tied together with ipu (gourd, container of mana, creation, the universe) and tiki o’oka (mulberry/tapa, binding, to gather). This is meant to convey a sense of unity between himself and his parents.

The one Hawaiian motif (g) is a rendition of a tattoo from his father, itself a series of niho (teeth).

Breakdown is as follows:

a) Ipu oto- Vessel, container of mana, the universe, creation
b) Tiki o’oka- to gather, binding, tapa
c) Poka’a- life, family, unity
d) Manu- bird, the top of this Mata hoata reflects his mother (freedom,love,guidance)
e) Ka’ake- upraised arms, the mouth of this Mata hoata reflects his father (force,power,generosity)
f) Koru- cycle of life, birth; the only Maori symbol used
g) Niho- this pattern is from a tattoo that his father has
h) Ani ata- sky, heaven, ancestors looking down upon him, heaven
i) Hope vehine (derivative)- life giving, beauty, creation, protection
j) Niho mano-shark teeth, courage, strength, power, to protect
k) Lau niu- coconut fronds, prestige; the only Ana’ole element used
l) Niho and Kofati lei, symbolizing his struggles as he has journeyed through life
m) Kea/Po’o kohe- turtle variant blended with bamboo section to symbolize protection, sacred ancestors and protection from evil spirits
n) Ama kopeka- fire, illumination
o) Kotipi/La- the sun, divine power, giver of life, light

Cheers!