I decided to share some historical facts about facial tattoos and as well as some modern day face tattoo pics. I find it really interesting that tattooing takes on many different meanings depending on culture and time in history. All opinions are welcome.
A bit of History: -The word "tattoo" comes from the Tahitian word "tatau". Captain James Cook used the word "tattow" when he witnessed tattooing for the first time in Tahiti, in 1769.
-According to archaeological evidence, tattooing came to New Zealand from Eastern Polynesian culture.
-The head was considered the most sacred part of the body, and because tattooing caused blood to run the tattoo craftsmen, or "tohunga-ta-oko", were very tapu persons. All high-ranking Māori were tattooed, and those who went without tattoos were seen as persons of no social status.
Tattooing commenced at puberty, accompanied by many rites and rituals. In addition to making a warrior attractive to women, the tattoo practice marked both rites of passage and important events in a person's life.
-Tattooing was a huge deal back then. There were certain prohibitions during the tattooing process, and for the facial tattoo in particular sexual intimacy and the eating of solid foods were prohibited. In order to overcome this, liquid food and water was drained into a wooden funnel, to ensure that no contaminating product came into contact with the swollen skin. This was also the only way the tattooed person could eat until his or her wounds healed.
The full faced tattoo was very time consuming, and a good tattoo craftsman would carefully study a person's bone structure before commencing his art.
The Moko is similar to an identity card, or passport. For men, the Moko showed their rank, their status and their ferocity, or virility. The wearer's position of power and authority could be instantly recognized in his Moko. Certain other outward signs, combined with a particular Moko, could instantly define the "identity card" of a person. For example, a chief with Moko and at the same time wearing a dog cloak could be identified as a person of authority, in charge of warriors.
These were undeniable signs of the "identity card". It would be considered a great insult if the person was not recognized as the chief he was, and this could lead to "utu" - vengeance. The male facial tattoo - Moko - is generally divided into eight sections :
Ngakaipikirau (rank). The center forehead area Ngunga (position). Around the brows Uirere (hapu rank). The eyes and nose area Uma (first or second marriage). The temples Raurau (signature). The area under the nose Taiohou (work). The cheek area Wairua (mana). The chin Taitoto (birth status). The jaw
Here are some modern face tattoos. Feel the difference?