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Ta moko - traditional Māori tattooing, often on the face - is ataonga (treasure) to Māori for which the purpose and applications are sacred. Every moko contains ancestral / tribal messages specific to the wearer. These messages tell the story of the wearer's family and tribal affiliations, and their place in these social structures. A moko’s message would also contain the wearer’s ‘value’ by way of their genealogy, and their knowledge and standing in their social level. Traditional ta moko is distinct from tattoo because the skin is sculpt using chisels rather than punctured with needles, leaving the skin with grooves rather than a smooth surface. What does moko mean today? If the process is followed properly, moko continues to mean what it has always meant. It is a symbol of integrity, Māori identity and prestige, as well as a reflection of whakapapa and history. Is it only men that get moko? Women wear moko on the face too. A woman's moko is worn on the chin, as well as occasionally appearing on the forehead, upper lip, nostrils, and throat. Tattoo instruments Originally moko specialists used a range of uhi made from albatross bone which were grafted onto a handle, and struck with a mallet. Pigments were made from the awheto (vegetable caterpillar) for the body color, and ngarehu (burnt timbers) for the black face color. Soot from burnt kauri gum was mixed with fat to make pigment which was stored in ornate vessels named oko, often buried when not in use. Oko were handed on to successive generations. Changes evolved in the late 19th century when needles came to replace uhi as the main tools. This was a quicker less risky method, but changed the feel of the moko from traditional raised markings to smooth lines.

Traditionally tattooing was seen as a sign of barbarianism and only used as punishment. In the 17th century it was used exclusively to brand criminals and outcasts. It was outlawed in the 18th century and consequently taken up by the yakuza. It remained illegal in the 19th century amidst fears that it would seem barbaric to the West. In 1936 those who sported tattoos were rejected from the army, seen as exhibiting signs of ill-discipline. It was only after WWII that it finally became legal after General MacArthur liberalized the laws. This association no doubt came about as tattooing evolved from a method of identifying criminals and possibly even the lower classes hundres of years ago to becoming fashionable among those same people – the exact people from whom the modern Yakuza evolved. However, despite the negativity surrounding it body art is becoming increasingly more popular with the younger generation. Led by fashionable celebrities such as popular singer/model/actress Ayumi Hamasaki and ‘queen of Japanese pop music’ Amuro Namie.

More like the cones we use for writing something on a birthday cake. After the mehndi has dried completely after some hours. . traditional henna uses and application processes have gone contemporary. The technique. and when removed several hours later. and to protect against evil. henna was mostly used in the United States as a hair dye. It’s herbal. Although some will always prepare their own henna paste. can be purchased in many retail and online outlets (including this Web site). and to color wool. In fact. Instrument Using a needle attached to a wooden stick. A full-body tattoo. HENNA USE IN THE PAST Besides being the key ingredient in mehndi.Despite being traditionally associated with men. and in times of joyous celebration. but is much more laborious than electric machine tattooing. leaves beautiful markings on the skin that fade naturally over 1 to 3 weeks. as well as men's beards. This is also the cheapest and safest way to get a temporary tattoo. silk. many women are indulging in skin art. INSTRUMENTS mehndi is the safest temporary tattoo you can have. Once you apply it. dab some sugar water lightly on the mehndi once it done. used widely in Australia. where the henna plant is believed to bring love and good fortune. mehndi kits of varying quality. The only drawback is that it just has one color (reddish-brown). rhythmic jabs to insert ink about six millimeters deep in the skin. For strong color. Africa. There are no real tools. Mehndi is traditionally practiced for wedding ceremonies. and the Middle East. produces a more vibrant. you can wash it off with water. many of the top tattoo artists are female and they dominate as editors of the tattoo magazines. It will last for up to 2-4 weeks. could take more than 50 long sessions over a year. during important rites of passage. A paste made from the crushed leaves of the henna plant is applied to the skin. favored by the yakuza. Horihiro uses quick. There is absolutely no pain involved. henna has also been used to dye the manes and hooves of horses. which dates from the Eno period in 17th century Japan. mehndi — the art of henna painting on the body — has been practiced in India. with foolproof instructions and convenient stencils. longer-lasting colour. HENNA TODAY Until the art of mehndi became hot news in 1996. MEHNDI HISTORY For centuries. It just has a plastic cone in which the mehndi is stuffed. let it dry for 4-6 hours. Studies of mummies dating back to 1200 BC show that henna was used on the hair and nails of the pharaohs. and animal skins. Widely recognized now as a wonderful way to dye the skin and to achieve the look of a tattoo.