Matau, matau, koru...hook, hook, spiral

I found a scanner that did a better job with my watercolors.  I know you were all holding your breath and hoping, but you can breath easy because here they are:

"Matau 1" watercolor postcard

This is a series that I started while I was living in New Zealand based on the various sacred symbols of the Maori.

The Maoris are the natives of New Zealand, believed to be of Polynesian decent.  They were fierce warriors and have an intricate series of symbols that you will find throughout their art, tattoos, etc.  The males would tattoo their whole faces and each swirl and point would tell the story of their lineage.  The women would tattoo their lips and chin.  Many young Maoris still embrace these traditions.  I don't know that I'll be tattooing my face anytime soon, partially because my parents would kill me, but they are really interesting and beautiful to see.  This series is based, more specifically, on carvings.  Throughout the islands you will see people wearing Pounamu (greenstone or jade) necklaces carved in the shape of a fishhook, a spiral, a paddle covered with carvings, etc.
"Matau 1" and "Matau 2" are an abstraction of a hook.  One of the Maori's demi gods was said to have pulled the north island from the ocean with a fishhook.  My friend Anna gave me a hook carved from bone when I was returning to the States because it is said to bring luck and protection when traveling, especially over water.
"Matau 2" watercolor postcard
I'm sure I'll come up with some good Anna stories to share.  She is such a sweetheart and hysterical!  But for now we'll get back to the postcards.
"Koru 1" watercolor postcard
"Koru 1" is based on the spiral.  Remember in the Happy New Years and Dryopterises post I told you that the spiral was said to be based on the unfurling fern frond and that it symbolizes new life.  It also means a new beginning and peace.

To learn more about the history of the Maoris you can go to The Maori History page of New Zealand Exposed.  And for more about Maori symbols New Zealand Exposed has a Maori Symbols page too.

*The originals for "Matau 1," "Matau 2," and "Koru 1" are not for sale, but for your own custom watercolor please visit Diggin' It or contact me.

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