Carved Moko

Evildustin‘s face brand by Johnkid at The Piercing Lounge in Madison, WI looks like it’s healing nicely so far… If I remember right, in Maori culture there were two ways of doing a facial tattoo. One was similar to normal tattooing, and the other is more like a combination of wood carving and ink rubbing, and left a three dimensional “tattoo”, rather than just the image. This hyfrecator branding reminded me of that…

Oh, and for the record, I have never heard Dustin call this a moko or make similar references, so please don’t post a message claiming he’s being disrespectful or committing some other cultural appropriation sin. That said (and I mention this because I saw a Maori reader on Tanya’s body modification blog), maybe someone can post with more information.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

One thought on “Carved Moko

  1. The following comments were imported from our old comment system:

    Posted on 03-29-2006 05:32:50 by original_sly
    Traditionally a ‘comb’ made from bone was secured with harakeke (flax) to a length of wood which was tapped into the skin. Once the incision was made, a pigment (made from ashes, or burnt dog shit, or some other charred material mixed with saliva or another liquid) was rubbed into the wounds. The face would swell quite a bit and it was said that if the pigment held, then the appropriate rituals and karakia (chants) had been performed correctly. Moko was not done lightly, it was a commitment to your whanau, hapu and iwi and your hapu (wider family unit/sub-tribe) had to consent before you could take moko. Its said that every line, every koru (spiral), had a significant meaning in the old days, so much so that anyone who could read moko could tell where you originated and what iwi (tribe) you belonged to. These days moko aren’t read like that, but they’re still immensely important, showing that you live the culture and reo (language) and are dedicated to its survival 100%. But don’t take any of what i just said as gospel, thats just what I’ve read or been told…

    Posted on 03-29-2006 12:00:18 by LostSally000
    That HAD to be painful!!!!! I can’t imagine how he felt while that process was going on. I would’nt do it. It looks really good but on my face…….No way!!!!!!

    Posted on 03-29-2006 12:33:56 by *MissM*
    thats just hermoso

    Posted on 03-31-2006 20:35:08 by lovelife
    The two forms of moko are the smooth skin (more popular in northland) & the ‘chiseled’ methods, the smooth skin is more like other polynesian tatau styles, whereas the ‘chiseled’ form was much more like carving of the skin, like Jon has explained up the top.

    I’m actually half Maori & half Pakeha (euro), that was me posting on Tanya’s blog by the way!

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