||Maori Carving Design Meanings - Brief research
Joined: Sep 20, 2007
|Posted: 2007-09-21 09:00 am  Permalink|
Kia Ora Tiki Whanau!
First I want to say that all this information is a humble contribution to the forum,, is not absolute, and with it I don´t mean to hurt anyone´s feelings about the Maori culture.
As a unique "Maori" identity is almost recently formed, sometimes the meaning of a design varies depending on some factors such as tribal, sub-tribal, familiar and different elders´ tradition. (Hope I am expressing myself correctly) The Maori people respect tradition, this is the greatest value that they have, their identity is tied to their tradition directly. That is why they are so respectfull with the meanings of the designs, for instance the three fingered (Haohao) figures and the meaning of it varies from tribe to tribe:
- A representation of the three baskets of knowledge (that can be linked to the life cycle of man)
- Pere-tu had three fingered hands as sign of his reptile god ancestors, that is why the ancestors (that are not among us anymore) are carved with three fingers.
- The first Maori man, Nuku-wai-teko or Mutu-wai-teko, that came from Hawaiki (Maori´s Homeland - sort of Eden), had three fingers and carved all figures keeping that sign.
- A Maori elder stated that when held correctly the Hika (sacred rubbing-stick to make fire) is controlled only by three fingers. (Here I don`t need to explain the importance of fire generation among ancestral cultures...)
- In the east coast tradition Hingangaroa had three sons: Taua, Mahaki and Hauiti. As they settled and formed other tribes this explanation was born.
- To represent the a complete carved human figure is Tapu (a complex concept of forbbiden, taboo, not propper, etc...) so instead fo five fingers they carved only three.
Sometimes the figures have a fourth finger that can represent, linked to lyfe cycle, the afterlife concept or an ancestor of the European era, when carved in wood in a Marae or meeting house.
Anyway, you can have short explanations about the figures represented in bone carving, here is a short list of what I think is important to have in mind when carving a Maori´s tradition bone:
Hei-Matau ( hei - neck; matau - hook) Fish-hook:
- Provision and prosperity ( because is a tool used to get food )
- Protection when travelling over waters, friendship, support in hard times (that is what a Maori can read about the carrier)
Koru - Fern: "The unfolding fern frond"
- The continuity of life, for it represents a bud (is that right?! "brote" in spanish)
- Unfolding, spyral and with it all that a spiral represents
Hei-Toki - Adze - Chisel:
- Authority, high value in the tribe
- As a mother tool (carvers use it, carpenters use it, etc...) used to create another tools, to wear a Toki is to be usefull to your tribe, you can do an important thing for others
- The Guardian of our family spirit
- Our Guardian Angel
- With the head of a bird, the three fingers of birth, life and death (sometimes with the fourth) is a representation of the spiritual Maori cosmogony
- The first man on earth
- Our ancestors
- To have strength in character, to be perceptive (for the wearer)
And there are a lot more of desing with a their meanings and functions...
All the carvings are "charged" with the Mana (life energy, vitality, spirituallity...) of the wearer making it worthy for the generations to come, our children, our family... Not in vain IWI in Maori is the same word for bone and nation.
Please any correction will be greatfully received.
To the Administrator:
I don't know if this is the right place to send this kind of mail.
Joined: Jan 09, 2004
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
|Posted: 2007-09-21 09:57 am  Permalink|
Sebastian, Yes I believe this is the correct forum for your post. WELCOME to Tiki Central (or "TC" as we lovingly call it), glad to have you. The meanings of carvings and styles and All that stuff is very important to all the Artists here I believe and any knowledge is always welcome. I carve a lot of Maori inspired pieces and usually portray a piece with my own ideas and I never try to copy old treasures as I am aware how protective the Maori are of these old designs. So I for one really appreciate your input about the meanings involving anything tiki.
Joined: Sep 20, 2007
|Posted: 2007-09-21 10:17 am  Permalink|
Man, that was a fast reply!
Thanks for the kind welcome, right now I was watching your Patu carving, excellent by the way. I´m happy to contribute just a little with this, I´m thinking on other carving themes to start and see what happens, of course everything related to Polynesian carving and their tools and designs!
Joined: Sep 26, 2006
From: BA Arg
|Posted: 2007-09-21 11:05 am  Permalink|
Hola sebastian Bienvenido! Que bueno ver un compatriota, Saludos!
I've been thru your site
Very nice carvings!! congrats!
[ This Message was edited by: Clarita 2007-09-21 13:29 ]
Joined: Sep 20, 2007
|Posted: 2007-09-21 6:14 pm  Permalink|
La verdad que sabía que no era el único con esta pasión por la Polinésia! Che, tu laburo es de primerísima calidad, creo que las chicas de Utilisima tiemblan al ver tus velas.
Soy de Capital pero vivo en Rosario con mi mujer y dos hijos hermosos! (perezco una mi vieja... )
Thanks for visiting my site and for the compliments!
Great place we have here, huh?
Here are some pictures of my works, a small Toki and my fisrt attempt in wood (Cocobolo from Costa Rica)
Hope you like them.
[ This Message was edited by: Sebastian Urresti 2007-09-21 18:17 ]