Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Similar...Yet Very Different: Ta Moko

Tattoos have been an incredible beauty trademarks in hundreds of cultures for thousands of years.  Even in U.S culture, some people believe that tattoos increase the beauty of both men and women. Though body tattoos are popular in today's culture and society, face tattoos are not look upon in the same manner. 

Ta Moko, is a specific design of tattoos used by the Indigenous Maori People of New Zealand. However, traditionally it is distinctive between the normal tattoo. Tautau (as the procedure is called) consists of the skin being carved by chisels, which leaves the skin with grooves of ink, rather than a smooth surface. Today, both Maori men and women still have the procedure done, as a sign of cultural identity and a reflection of the general revival of their language. However, as the technique of the tattooing is the same, the placement of the tattoos differ between gender. 

 Men receive the tattoos all over their face and different parts of their bodies (if they choose to), as it is tradition. The women, on the other hand, despite the traditional aspect, the main reason for the procedures is the sense its look and beauty.  They are tattooed on their lips and chins and the more fuller their lips, the more beautiful they are considered in their community.

Lips tattoos got me thinking... in our society having a tattoo isn't uncommon, however if someone has lip tattoos they are labeled as strange or bizarre. This only goes to show, how different cultures clash.  One part of the culture's beauty may be similar to another, though another part maybe be extremely different. Even if lip tattoos are frown upon in the U.S society, I can say I can consider them beautiful.


  1. I find the whole idea of a tattoo to be weird. In other cultures it makes more sense because it is a link to tradition and an expression of a cultural difference. In America people just scare up their face and body for no reason and I do not understand it or find it appealing.

  2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.