The Significance of Rihanna’s New Maori Tattoo (Must Read)

admin  | Tuesday, 29 October 2013 | 6688 Total Views


Controversial singer Rihanna has added another tattoo to her growing collection of body art as a reminder of her “Diamonds” world tour. The ink-mad starhas over 20 tattoos on her body, including a Sanskrit prayer down her thigh, the goddess Isis on her chest, music notes on her ankle, stars on her back, a gun on her rib cage and the word love on the middle finger of her left hand.

She claims they all have spiritual meanings and has said in the past: "My tattoos are all spiritual and show how I feel about religion. I have a falcon which is an Egyptian falcon and is supposed to stand for God."

Rihanna opted to get the traditional style Maori tattoo, which is native to New Zealand where she recently played three concerts.

While the rest of her tattoos have been done with the modern tattoo machine that is customary in most studios now, the traditional Ta Moko tattoos are done using more primitive methods involving a chisel, ink pigment and a mallet.

Never one to follow the norm, choosing to get a Maori tattoo done in the old-style method is a lot more painful than regular tattoos, which aren’t pain-free to start off with! In the two-minute video which shows her getting the tattoo done on her right hand, you can see at points she is struggling with the pain even through smiles and forced laughter.

Towards the end of the tattoo where the artists are working on her knuckles you can see her grimacing at the pain as the hammer hits directly on the jointed bones, despite managing to maintain her composure through the main part of the design.

At one point, Inia is even seen asking the singer to wipe away the blood from her swollen hand so that he can see what he is doing to continue the design.

The elaborate designs of lines and symbols run from her fingernails down to the middle of her forearm. It was performed by tattooist Inia Taylor at the Moko Ink studio in West Auckland, with the help of local musician Tiki Taane.

The tattoo artist explained the designs Rihanna chose illustrate her desire to explore deeper meaning in life. "The symbols involved are of dreams, hope, aspirations and navigation with Polynesian stars on her fingers," he said.

A description for the studio on the Moko Ink website reads: 'Moko Ink is the world’s first Maori Tattoo Studio specialising in the contemporary use and creation of traditional Maori and Polynesian Tatu.

We make one off body art keeping alive the language and traditions that are unique to the art form. All our art is custom designed for each person on a consultation basis. The language of Ta Moko is used to design a unique piece of body art expressing aspects that relate to the wearer.'

The history of Maori tattoos dates back hundreds of years. Maori tattoo did not involve the use of needles. Rather, the Maori used knives and chisels made from shark’s teeth, sharpened bone, or sharp stones.

The chisel, also called the uhi, is made from albatross bone, although some chisels are said to be made of iron. Knives and chisels were either plain and smooth, or serrated, and these were used interchangeably depending on the intended pattern.

The inks that were employed to do a Maori tattoo were made from natural products. Burnt wood was used to create black pigments, while lighter pigments were derived from caterpillars infested with a certain type of fungus, or from burnt Kauri gum mixed with animal fat.

The pigment was stored in ornate containers called oko, which became family heirlooms.

Tattoo artist Taylor described the emotional process that comes as part of getting the tattoo. "It's not about getting a tattoo, it's a ceremony. Tattoos aren't fashion. They are a way to get rid of pain in your life. You have to create pain to get over pain," He also commented that the star confided in him about her own pain throughout the process. "I didn't realise she had such a hard time. Apparently, she had such an asshole of a boyfriend, she said. The tattoo is just a reminder of the things in the past. Lord knows, she overcame a lot of that s***."

Author: Sian Morgan