About the Maori

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Taylor Schuck

Maori Mask Culture

About the Maori:

•The Maori are the native people of New Zealand.

•It is believed that the Maori arrived to New Zealand in about 800 A.D.

•Maori art includes wooden masks, woven flax panels, and symbolic paintings.


aori mask 1aori mask 2http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/maori-mask-michelle-wilmot.jpg
Maori Masks

A defining characteristic of the Maori culture is the striking tattoos that adorn their faces. Full faced tattoos or "moko", amongst the Maori tribes was predominantly a male activity. Female forms of moko were restricted to the chin area, the upper lip, and the nostrils. These tattoos inspired the Maori mask culture. The Maori carve masks out of wood to resemble moko. Each mask is designed to tell a story or history connecting to Maori culture and Identity.

The masks are carved from wood, however some of the lines are often filled with ink. While not being highly abstract, the patterns are quite intricate and usually focus on strong color to draw the viewer in. Each line that is carved into the wood represents some element of the story being told.
Test Questions:

  1. What materials do the Maori use to make masks?

  2. What characteristic of Maori culture inspired the masks?

  3. What do the different patterns on each mask mean? (In general)


  1. About the maori. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://productsfromnz.com/maoripeople

  2. Maori culture. In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Māori_culture

  3. Best, E., Buck, P., Firth, R., Tawney, R. H., Hanson, F., Hawthorn, H. B., & ... Sullivan, A. (2009). Maori [electronic resource] : OZ04. New Haven, Conn. : Human Relations Area Files, 2009-.

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