Ta moko and the sad story of Maori head trafficking

Ta Moko

Surely the ta moko, the art of tattooing of the maori in which intricate designs were made especially in the head.

However, you may not be familiar with the story of the ta moko that we want to tell you. Did you know that this kind of tattoos were they related to the trafficking of human heads in the XNUMXth century?

The sacred art of ta moko

Ta Moko Maori

The Maori loved tattoos, which they called “ta moko”. The fact that much of the designs focused on the head has an explanation: these people believed that this was the most sacred part of the body, so it was the preferred when tattooing.

Moreover, each design was unique to each individual, who was recognized by his tattoo pattern. In men it was common to tattoo the entire face, while in women the chin and lip area was reserved.

A tasteless souvenir

Ta Moko Lord

Unfortunately, at the end of the XNUMXth century, and during one of the first expeditions to New Zealand, an Englishman named Joseph Bank bought a pair of tattooed human heads. Thus, a disturbing fashion began that filled the walls of the salons of Europe with hundreds of tattooed heads.

In fact, there was such a demand for heads that there were cases of scoundrels tattooing the faces of their slaves to sell their heads or even tattooing the heads of people who had already died. Thus, the ancient custom of ta moko it was lost. Nobody wanted to end up with their head hanging on a European wall. Fortunately, little by little (and especially thanks to the prohibitions of this horrible head trade in the XNUMXth century) the tradition of the ta moko he is returning to his community.

We hope you liked this article on tattoo curiosities. Tell us, did you know this story? And this Maori technique? Remember that you can tell us what you want, you just have to leave us a comment!

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