Posts Tagged ‘maori’

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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!

roger_chest rogerbd

This chest tattoo was conceived as an aesthetic piece rather than a specific representational piece reflecting family, protection, or any other personal intent. I enjoy creating these pieces because there is less emphasis on retaining and conveying meaning in individual parts. More effort can be put into making the overall piece shine as a whole, rather than attempting to bring cohesion to a collection of pieces.
The motifs that are used are a mix of modern Marquesan and Maori. The chest plate and subsequent paka comprised of a-g, is a mata hoata, or brilliant eyes. This is to provide another set of eyes that look out for danger and protect the person. Above the mata hoata is a lei of ani ata, representing the horizon, clouds, heaven and ancestors. I placed a mata komoe, or death’s head motif in the center to refer to this person’s warrior spirit and ‘dark side’.
I chose to use koru throughout to match the piece on his left arm that was a poorly executed Maori piece and also because I felt that this tattoo was a new beginning of sorts, for this person. The difficulty, I thought, would be to blend the Western tribal on his right side (that I did not do) with the Polynesian style on his left (out of view in this shot, did not do, either), but in the end, it didn’t look all that disparate and actually flows well, in my opinion.
What you see in the top shot (before) are the stencils applied to the area. All other work was done free hand. There is more to this piece than is shown as he wanted to fill in gaps at the back of his arms. Eventually, this will include a full back plate.
This was done over two sessions; five hours each. I used Stigma V3 and Centri machines, and Fusion Ink as always.

Breakdown of motifs:

a) hope vehine/kea= creation, protection
b) ihu=  nose: breath, life (nose of mata hoata)
c) niho= teeth: courage, to protect from pain/harm
d) koru= breath, life, new beginnings (some contain open, curved lines called pakura, representing bird foot prints)
e) kai, tai= ocean
f) niho peata/ mano= shark teeth, warrior spirit, to devour, to drive out (mouth of the mata hoata)
g) mata= eyes (eyes of the mata hoata)
h) any ata= clouds, horizon where the sea meets the sky, heaven, ancestors watching over
i) mata komoe= death’s head: warrior spirit
j) ama kopeka= flame, dancing flame: fire that keeps death at bay
k) kohati= fold, crease: mark of authority
l) unaunahi= fish scales: love of the sea, fisherman
m) hinenao= love, to love passionately (representing his wife)
n) ka’ake= upraised arm: strength, power, rainbow, to lift, fly, generosity
o) pohu= Marquesan folk hero; bravery, courage

Peace! R

This piece is a combination of two aspects of living on the Big Island that this person wanted immortalized on her body as a way to remember her time spent here as she moves forward in her journey.
The honu was a sacred animal to her, perhaps even aumakua to some degree, that she felt a connection with. The honu is done with Maori elements; the koru and kape. There are water elements as well that surround the turtle giving it a sense of movement.
Pele is done with Marquesan elements, particularly ama kopeka (billowing flame) of which there are 5 that frame Pele’s head. Inset to each flame are kea, (in this case turtle divinities), that speak of the divine power of Pele and fire as well as offering another analog to the protective qualities of the turtle shell (kea).
The entire piece is meant to convey movement, such as the turtle swimming through water, and the billowing of fire that is Pele.
I did not use any black in this piece although I may add some at a later date.
The lighter blue is a custom color, made for me by Adam E. He made two colors for me for which I am very humbled and grateful. 🙂

inx naomibd


a) koru: eternal life. I placed two koru, one filled and the other open to represent balance and give some sort of depth to the turtle as if it were swimming up through the water.
b) honu: turtle. The turtle shell is comprised of kape in Maori tradition and I also used the double spiral koru as well to break up the shell.
c) via: ocean. Ocean elements placed on trailing edges of each fin to represent water.
d) Pele, goddess of fire and ama kopeka, billowing flame. Pele is comprised of 5 billowing flames, each flame represents a mountain range found on the Big Island. Each flame is also inset with divine kea motifs that fortify the protective nature of the turtle shell and the overall tattoo.

Interestingly enough, the client also pointed out that the honu and Pele are meeting at their third eye which I did not intend to do, but works out well for the statement of the piece.

Aloha! Roland

Saturday’s tat. Finished this part of his chest piece on Saturday. The finished tattoo will eventually encompass his shoulder and continue down around the nipple. When all is said and done, I will post a link with the breakdown. This tattoo
is heavily based on the Maori pounamu, or greenstone carving. This particular design incorporates three koru; each serving to represent mother, father and child, respectively. Along the outer edge of each specific node are Ana’ole motifs that correlate with the traits of those individuals. For example, mother> ohia lehua blossoms, father> kanaloa, child> hulu pueo. The center motif is Tibetan calligraphy and is the sound essence of primordial wisdom’s male embodiment.
This was done with modern tattoo machines and sealed with the ta and ku’au.
Because this tattoo was started a week before, the outer edge is still healing. Woot!maori/ana'ole chest

I did this tattoo on Friday. We will eventually add more to this piece, expanding it to include her family na ‘aumakua (ancestor’s spirits), which will likely be a paka (or two) that runs along the top of her shoulder and end somewhere on the upper part of her back.
Breakdown: right paka, closest to hairline- 2 poka’a (strength), mata hoata (protection, all seeing-eye), hope vehine (saimese twin goddesses of tattoo, also used as protection; a divine symbol), and lastly, aniata (clouds or heaven, this motif represents either or both and is also a symbol of defiance). left paka is a koru (a maori symbol, that is an unfurling fern head, equating the cycle of life). peace!