I must say I’m intrigued and will definitely get me one! Cos I love the designs……
*update as at 1300hrs* Yay my order just arrived in the letterbox! Look towards the end of this post…Oh and try not to laugh too loud eh!
The Maori & Their Bone Artwork
Bone carving is a traditional and often sacred craft practiced by some of the more warlike native tribes around the world. Bone carvings by the New Zealand Maori are some of the most beautiful wearable art works available today and come in a wide variety of styles from very traditional pieces to the more contemporary or modern styles.
The New Zealand Maori Tribes settled New Zealand nearly a thousand years before the white man (Pakeha) arrived in their tall ships. They had themselves also come by sea, paddling and sailing their long canoes from the far away Pacific islands. Those that survived the journey were a very fierce and warring group of tribes who quickly settled into their new home, living in large fortified villages called “Pa’s”. These, like medieval castles had lookout towers, high spiked wooden walls and lethal traps around the perimeter which could hold off even very formidable forces. The British troops later found out just how effective these fortifications were and also how fierce the Maori warriors were in battle.
New Zealand is known as “Aotearoa” to the Maori which means “Land of the long white cloud” and refers to the clouds hanging over the mountain peaks which the ancient Pacific island settlers in their canoes first noticed as they approached the land.
The pre-European Maori had no written language so tribal history was kept using many forms of fine arts and crafts ranging from basket and cloth weaving to complex wood, bone and jade carving. These artifact were then handed down through generations of tribal elders and became sacred objects, telling the history of a tribe and taking on the spirits of past great leaders and warriors who had worn them.
Pendants, jewellery and various tools such as needles, spear tips and fish hooks made from bone developed into a fine art form with great importance being placed on every piece, many of which took years to make using stone tools. Some have inlays of precious stones or colourful shell and all have a story or meaning behind their design.
Hei-Matau Bone Carvings:
These very stylised fish hook bone carvings or pendants represent prosperity,abundance, fertility and strength. They are also seen as good luck charms, particularly for those traveling over water. Hei-Matau are symbols of power and authority which are held in great reverence by the Maori people. Some also incorporate inlays of beautiful rainbow coloured Paua shell.
Manaia Bone Carvings:
The Manaia is an ancient mythical being with a birds head and a human form. It is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits. The Manaia is a holder of great spiritual energy and is a guardian against evil. It can be seen blended into many Maori designs with subtle differences between tribes. This section also includes many other beings from Maori mythology.
Koru Bone Carvings:
The Koru, represents the fern frond as it opens bringing new life and purity to the world. It also represents peace, tranquility and spirituality, along with a strong sense of regrowth or new beginnings.
The Koru is also often associated with nurturing so when interlocked with others is frequently used to represent the strength and purity of a loving relationship or family.
The Koru is often intertwined with other forms such as twists and matau to tell a very special and powerful story.
Twist Bone Carvings:
The twist with its crisscross form represents the many paths of life and love and as such is regarded as the original eternity symbol. The single twist in particular shows the joining together of two people for eternity. Even though they sometimes move away from each other on their own journeys, they will always come together again sharing their lives and blending to become one. It tells how the strength of bond of friendship, loyalty and love will last forever.
*Drum Rolls* Presenting………………….
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