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Maori Body Ornaments And Jewelry Essay

1427 words - 6 pages

Maori Body Ornaments and Jewelry

New Zealand is an island located in the Pacific Ocean. This island consists of a very interesting group of people called the Maori. The Maori people are Polynesian decent. People who are Polynesian are usually people who come from the islands and have the same morals, values, beliefs and also the same language. The Maori people consist of just that. The Maori believe in many different origins and they have many traditional attributions that flow deeply into their cultural beliefs. One of the Maori’s cultural and traditional activities is creating body ornaments and jewelry. If not some but all of the Maori body ornaments and jewelry have ...view middle of the document...

The jewelry was honored for its beauty and historic background(pp.1).
The Maori people not only made their body ornaments and jewelry to represent their historic tales or symbolic meanings. The jewelry was also made to represent their social status. The jewelry represented their social status when it came to going to certain events and to represent their ancestors(pp.3). According to the shape of Maori jewelry(2009) one could tell what exactly it symbolized. There are many tales and legends that are represented by the handcrafted jewelry. Decorations and patterns have everything to do with spiritual perspectives towards the jewelry. The Maori believed in a spiritual force called mana (pp.4). The characteristics put forth towards making the jewelry are what are believed to be the creation of mana.
The Maori people have made their body ornaments and jewelry out of many different materials. The main materials they have been known to use to make their jewelry are bone and greenstone. The material bone had come from items that consisted from abandoned whales, sea creatures, and even humans. The other material used to make the jewelry was called greenstone(pp.8). Greenstone is a hard type of magical power. The Maori believed that this stone was to have some type of magical power. The term the Maori used for this was called pounamu (Deluxe Templates,2009). The Maori also have term used towards their jewelry. This term is called Taonga which means treasure(pp.9). The Maori’s spiritual beliefs and cultural habits can also be referred to as taonga (Deluxe Templates,2009). Another material used towards the Maori jewelry is called Jade. The Maori usually collected this material around from their island. In addition to the Maori jewelry there comes symbolic symbols. These symbols represent what that piece of jewelry or specific body ornaments represents and what story lies behind it(Bone Art Place,2008).
In order for someone to tell the story that lies behind the jewelry handcraft. One has to be able to recognize the symbol or shape and form of the body ornament and jewelry. The Maori people have created many different but yet fascinating symbols for their jewelry handcraft. The Maori symbols most commonly used for their jewelry handcraft are the Hei-Matau, the Manaia, the Koru, the twist, the modern, whales, dolphins, the mixed, the spiral, and also human-like figures such as the tiki and tekoteko(Global Planet Jewelry,2007). These symbols all have a very specific meaning and all contribute to the Maori lifestyle.
The Symbols
The Hei-Matau which can be made out from either whale bone or the greenstone material is carved in the shapes of a stylish fish hook. This symbol represents good luck, strength and safe travel across water. Hei-Matau also symbolizes power and authority which is greatly held by the Maori people(Bone Art Place,2008). The story or legend behind the Hei-Matau was the once a large fish caught by Maui using only a woven line and a...

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