Heidi Hay

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vintage everyday: Moko Kauae: 30 Incredible Portraits of Maori Women With Their Tradition Chin Tattoos from the Early 20th Century

vintage everyday: Moko Kauae: 30 Incredible Portraits of Maori Women With Their Tradition Chin Tattoos from the Early Century

NEW ZEALAND Harimate, a young Maori woman probably from the Whanganui region. She wears a fine cloak, white feather headdress and the moko kauae, or woman’s chin tattoo. Photo by Frank J. Denton

Maori practice of moko kauae - Maori woman c. Photo courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

According to the mythology of the Ainu people, tattooing was brought to earth by Okikurumi Turesh Machi, the ancestral mother of the Ainu and sister of the creator god Okikurumi. Ainu girls were given lip tattoos as they grew older, customarily by grandmothers or maternal aunts. Completed lip tattoos served to repel evil spirits from the body, indicate that the woman was ready for marriage, and assure her place among her ancestors in the afterlife.

According to the mythology of the Ainu people, tattooing was brought to earth by Okikurumi Turesh Machi, the ancestral mother of the Ainu and sister of the creator god Okikurumi. Ainu girls were given.