15 Art with Bones – Maori Designs

Art with Bones- Maori Designs
Art with Bones- Maori Designs

Do you love travelling and adventure? Have you heard of Art with Bones Maori Designs? Going on excursions or travelling to beautiful places, hilly areas, beaches, dunes, mountains, lakes, and beaches in different countries makes us more experienced, healthy, and a wonderful treasure of memories.

Often, such as travelling to exotic places, we shop and buy the local goodies that we cherish and boost later.

Such things as souvenirs and mementos make up a good collection and remembrance of the place and culture we visit. Here you will find Art with Bones – Maori Designs.

While travelling to New Zealand, you will see one of the most beautiful places with lots of adventure, sightseeing, road tripping, camping, diving, rich beaches, thick glaciers, and the fun with entertainment and heritage of cultural festivals.

The Maori culture of New Zealand is rich and diverse, forming an integral part of Kiwi life and adding a unique, dynamic experience for visitors.

Though the present culture of the Maori has been strongly influenced by Western European culture, remnants of the old culture have been retained and revived, though often in a modified modern form.

One of the beautiful things you will find is the art of Maori greenstone and bone carvings. You can see them easily in shops in New Zealand, and top Maori artisans carve these art pieces of ornaments.

Whether you are looking for Maori greenstone (pounamu) carvings, bone carvings,  shell carvings, or authentic Maori wood carvings paintings on greenstone, you can find these jewellery items and artworks with the authenticity tag of their culture.

Let us see what this artwork of Maori Culture symbolizes and the legend that it speaks of.

1. Bone Carvings – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Bone Carvings
Bone Carvings


Bone carvings and artwork have an exceptional feel unlike anything else you will ever experience. Their milky white appearance and soft flowing lines are just the start.

They are smooth and warm to the touch, yet the finish is like polished glass; they seem to blend with your body and become a part of you, especially when worn as a pendant against your skin.

Over time, bone carvings absorb oils from your skin and change colour to light honey gold. The Maori believe this to be the carving taking on some of your spirituality or essence and thus truly becoming a part of the wearer.

Ornaments, as well as being decorative, also had symbolic and ceremonial significance and were connected to Maori mythology.

The uses of reel and tooth elements in the earliest personal adornment show their creators’ broad Pacific heritage.

This is one of the Art with Bones Maori Designs. The discovery of distinctive New Zealand rock types such as bowenite and nephrite or pounamu (greenstone or jade) led to the development of unique art forms carved with stone tools. Other forms of embellishment came from mammal and bird sources.

2. Neck pendants – reel and tooth ornaments

Neck pendants – reel and tooth ornaments
Neck pendants – reel and tooth ornaments

Necklaces left by the people known as moa hunters show they could equally have been called the ‘whale-tooth people’. Pendants made of sperm whale teeth have been found throughout the country.

The teeth of orcas were also favoured. Long hours were spent carving painstaking replicas in stone or bone when actual whale teeth were unavailable.

This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs. Their special significance is no longer known, but meticulous artistry signifies their importance. They may have conferred the mane of the whale on the wearer or indicated some spiritual connection. They provide a link between Maori and other Pacific cultures.

Some such pendants hung from necklaces with grooved or ridged reels carved from bone or stone. Elegant tongue-shaped and chevroned (V-shaped) pendants were carved from whalebone.

Often, these had intricate stylized carvings along the edges. Sometimes, such chevrons were paired. By the 18th century, the reputation had evolved – this was a single whale tooth, often with a stylized face and eyes engraved at the end, worn by men of high status.

Other forms of the necklace were also worn. Some were made of drilled shark teeth, reels of whalebone, shell or stone, or tubes of bird bone.

Some were pendants reminiscent of fish and fishhooks, eels, bird figures, and seals. Others had humanoid elements, such as bird-headed men.

3. Hei tiki – Art with Bones – Maori Designs

Hei tiki
Hei tiki

Hei tiki are carved neck pendants with a human-like form, of which the origins are lost. Some think they relate to Tiki, the first man created by the god Tane, or to other ancestors.

Others believe they link to the human embryo or Hineteiwaiwa, the spiritual guardian of childbirth. They were the most highly valued greenstone ornaments, although some were made of whalebone and other materials. This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs.

There are some variations in form, but hei tiki retains its prestige today. Like all critical taonga, hei tiki was sometimes buried on the death of their owner but could be uplifted and ritually cleansed so that successive generations could wear them.

4. Perfumed pendants – Art with Bones – Maori Designs

Perfumed pendants
Perfumed pendants

Māori blended barks and mosses in aromatic gums and hot oils to create pleasing perfumes. Pieces of bird skin were dipped into these blends to create perfumed pendants worn around the neck.

5. Ear pendants – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Ear-pendants
Ear-pendants

Maori had a wide assortment of earpendants. Long polished drops of pounamu might be replaced with pieces of white aute (paper mulberry).

Shark teeth and even human teeth of departed loved ones were worn. Other items to adorn the earlobes were birds’ tails or even live birds.

Puhoi were white balls of gannet or albatross down or pieces of rolled white bird skin. This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs. The meaning of Maori Bone and Greenstone Pendant Designs.

Maori Bone and Greenstone Pendants carved in traditional designs also carry a spiritual meaning.

6. Koru (looks like a curl) – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Koru (looks like a curl)
Koru (looks like a curl)

The Maori Koru design is inspired by the New Zealand fern frond unfurling as it grows. It represents peace, tranquillity, personal growth, positive change, and awakening.

It is associated with new life and harmony, so it makes a beautiful gift for a new parent or child, newlyweds, or anyone starting on a new phase of their life.

7. Single Twist – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Single Twist
Single Twist

A Maori twist symbolizes the path of life. It is believed to have been based on Maori kete basket weaving. The path of life takes many twists and turns but carries on regardless.

In the case of the Single Twist, the design means the path of life and can be called the Maori Eternity Symbol.

8. Double or Triple Twist – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Double or Triple Twist
Double or Triple Twist

The Double and Triple Twist depict two new shoots growing together – it represents the joining of cultures and the bonding of friendship for life.

The design shows the joining of two people in love or friendship for eternity, making a beautiful wedding or friendship gift. The Twist can also relate to the joining of two peoples or cultures.

9. Hei Matau (Fish Hook) – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Hei Matau (Fish Hook)
Hei Matau (Fish Hook)

The fish hook was an essential resource for the Maori, as the sea provided a rich food source. In Maori mythology, New Zealand was fished up out of the sea by Maui. The fish hook signifies abundance, plenty, strength, and determination.

It is believed to bring peace, prosperity, and good health. It is a device for catching good luck and energy and is thought to provide a safe journey over water. It is, therefore, considered a good luck charm by travellers, boatmen, fishermen, and surfers.

10. Tiki – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Tiki
Tiki

The Tiki depicts the first mortal born to the Gods. It is also a potent fertility symbol, with the hands-on loins symbolizing fertility.

The Tiki is a good luck charm and is believed to give the wearer clarity of thought and inner knowledge.

11. Manaia – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Manaia
Manaia

The Manaia is a spiritual guardian, a guardian angel, to ward off danger and protect against intruders. It acts as a provider and protector over the sky, earth, and sea. This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs.

The Manaia has a bird-like head, symbolizing the flight of the spirit. Its three fingers are believed to represent birth, life, and death, symbolizing the life cycle of man, or the Three Baskets of Knowledge, which is the knowledge humanity needs from the gods to live successfully on earth.

12. Circles – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Circles
Circles

The closed circle represents the circle of life and the belief it has no beginning or end.

13. Whales and Dolphins – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Whales and Dolphins
Whales and Dolphins

Whales, dolphins, and all sea creatures and birds were very important to the Maori as a food and utensil source.

Sea creatures were particularly revered. This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs. The whale is a symbol of great size and intelligence, and carvings of whales appear on some Maori meeting houses or food storehouses.

Whales and dolphins were believed to help some Maori navigate their way across the South Pacific during the Great Migration.

Thus, Whales and Dolphins are symbols of protection, and today, this includes protection for travellers on all modes of transport.

The dolphin is also a symbol of friendship, harmony, and playfulness, as seen in how they playfully interact with humans swimming or boating in New Zealand waters.

14. Toki (Adze) – Art with Bones Maori Designs

Toki (Adze)
Toki (Adze)

The Toki (adze) was a critical Maori implement. In bone or greenstone, it was traditionally worn by Maori elders, representing power, wisdom, and authority. This is one of the art with bones Maori Designs.

15. Kowhaiwhai – Art with Bones – Maori Designs

Seamless Maori Kowhaiwhai pattern designs in color.
Seamless Maori Kowhaiwhai pattern designs in colour.

Kowhaiwhai is the beautiful scroll-like pattern seen on Maori meeting house ridge poles (Tahu or Otahuhu) and on the rafters (heke). They are usually painted red, white, and black. These rafter paintings usually depict tribal lineage and thus represent authority by descent.

Kowhaiwhai was also seen on gourd water vessels, paddles, and the underside of canoe prows. Nowadays, its incorporation into Maori carvings or art represents the importance and significance of a loving family.

About the author

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur has been an integral voice in the New Zealand gaming landscape for years.

As a senior writer for PokiesMobile NZ, Kamal brings rich experiences from her diverse background.

Born in India and later migrating to New Zealand, she effortlessly blends her cultural insights with a deep love for gaming.

Kamal is renowned for her in-depth game analysis, player strategies, and knack for spotting industry trends.