Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Zealand: Tikis by 7

or Tikis originated in the Central Eastern Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean and showed the exotic flare of these Islands. in New Zealand, the Tikis were symbolic carvings of the humanoid form and were a very dominant motif of Maori and New Zealand culture.

They were figures that marked the boundaries of sacred or important marked sites and also appeared as a sculptured shape representation of a god. Each Tiki represents a spirit such as a spirit god of rain, of fire, of the moon, or of war. Their know-it-all eyes and menacing grin are their stand out features.

According to Maori mythology, it is also believed that the Maori Tiki represents the unborn human embryo and a symbol of fertility. In this culture, it represents a powerful spirit for warding off bad luck, hence being a good luck charm around your neck.

The most valuable Tikis were hand carved from greenstone which looks a green and black duotone in appearance. They were handed down through the generations as treasured possessions. The Tikis today are of carved greenstone and beef bone through to timber. Tikis are most commonly seen in traditional forms as pendants, carved wood poles and masks.

It is apparent that Maori carving has developed greatly since the first Polynesians came to New Zealand with their basic set of geometrical patterned surface designs with predominantly straight lines. Maoris tried to made the Tiki face look very symmetrical in shape.

With the current Tiki Revival in the 21st century, it's sometimes easy to forget that there was a much earlier age of Polynesian and Maori Tikis. They have heavily influenced the 50’s sub culture and have grown into such an art form that the designs are repeatedly seen in, art, everywhere such as on bowling shirts, hot rods in tattoos and in computer games. Tikis are now a collectors item and there are people out there who even decorate their whole house with this style of furniture.












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