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Maori Tattoos and their Complex Meanings

When you see the Maori tattoos for the first time, you will never forget them. Even though there are hundreds if not thousands of unique ways to get inked with this style design, there are some underlying similarities that help to keep true to this art form. These tattoo designs have been around for thousands of years, but the weaving of simple shapes and solid lines into one creates a stunning design that has been growing in popularity in the tattoo world recently.

Here are some facts and information that should help you to better understand all the complexities of the Maori tattoos.

The History of the Maori tattoos

While on the surface it might appear that these Maori tattoos are nothing more than simple shapes and solid lines intertwined together, there is so much more than initially meets the eyes.

By combining these shapes together, you wind up with a whole body design that is awe-inspiring. Every tiny shape in these Maori tattoos has a very unique and specific meaning, so combining them together helped the Maori people to tell a story.

It was that storytelling that appeals to ink lovers today who get inked and keep the true meaning close to the vest although it is out there for all to see. These tattoos were considered to be a rite of passage for the Maori courageous.

The Attention is in the Details

One of the things you must be aware of when getting your own Maori tattoos is that the combination of those tiny symbols tells a specific story, you don’t want to randomly choose symbols because you think they look cool together.

The underlying theme in most Maori tattoos is the connection with spirituality and strength. Once you get these symbols inked on your body, it has been believed through the centuries that the person begins to possess the power of the symbols.

So if you want to portray strength, you choose certain symbols. If you want to be a leader, you choose others.

The Symbols Associated with Maori Tattoos

So now that you know all about how important the symbols are with the Maori tattoos, we need to pull back the curtain and look at each very closely. If you find you appeal to more than one of the symbols, then you develop your own story and have them combined in your own creative way.

The Sun

The sun is a very powerful symbol when represented in these tattoos. It represents leadership, wealth, and boldness.

When you get inked with the sun symbol in Maori tattoos, it says you have more than enough resources to provide for your family.

The Turtle

The turtles represent family, health, eternity, and harmony.

The Gecko

This is considered God’s incarnate, something that can ward off illness and blocks bad luck.

The Ocean

Ocean symbols in the Maori tattoos are representative of a force that needs to be reckoned with. This symbol can mean mystery, power, death, and the unknown.

The Teeth

Teeth in the tattoo design symbolize wisdom, courage, and strength.

The Spear

The true sign of any warrior, the spear is symbolic of strength, courage, power, and dominance.

As you can see, incorporating more than one symbol enhances the meaning and the appeal of your overall tattoo.

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