Friday, November 4, 2011
MAU MOKO: The World of Maori Tattoo, written by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
In the traditional Maori world the moko, or facial or body tattoo, was part of everyday life; everyone had some patterning on their skin. Men wore elaborate designs on their faces; women's were usually less complex but elegant, and both sexes had extensive body work. After almost dying out in the twentieth century, Maori skin art is now experiencing a powerful revival, with many young urban Maori displaying the moko as a spectacular gesture of ethnic pride and identity. This hugely popular and magnificently illustrated book, compiled by a group of Maori scholars from the University of Waikato, is the closest there has ever been to a 'complete' book on moko. Mau Moko examines the use of moko by traditional Maori, notes historical material including manuscripts and unpublished, aural sources, and links the art to the present day. It explores the cultural and spiritual issues surrounding moko and relates dozens of stories, many of them powerful and heart-warming, from wearers and artists. Mau Moko is superbly enhanced by images from early European encounters, traditional Maori representations, and new colour photography commissioned for the book by Becky Nunes.