The Maori Use Fungus For Tattoos

Samuel Reason | July 14th, 2019

As we are sure you have seen the pacific islanders have an intensive cultural and ancestry of face and body tattoos. And this is something that has been an integral part of their culture for generations, of course, you may ask how in the world did they create ink for the use of tattoos. Well, one thing that the Maori people have mastered is the knowledge of fungi.

They use fungi for medicine, for food and also for creating tattoos. One of the most important colors when it comes to tattoos in the Maori culture is black. And one of the ways the blank ink was produced was by using fungus. The special fungus is actually more of a light brown color than black, which is not really seen that often today. But the ancestors of Maori tribes would have used it intensively, in fact, they would learn where the fungus grew and collect lots of it.

Then to make the light brown color black, it would be burnt. The fungus was known as awheto, and unlike wood that would become grey when burnt this fungus would turn black. Once burnt it was trivial to grind it up into a black powder. The final ingredient would be to mix the black powder with bird fat to produce the black color you need for tattooing.

Once you have the black ink, then a tattoo export who would have been known as a moko would use his chisel and blade to create beautiful tattoos with the pigments.

Awheto is very different when it comes to fungus, it is not like a mushroom, you see to grow it needs an insect. But not just any type of insect, awheto requires caterpillars. This means awheto only grows if it gets lucky enough with a caterpillar to stumble upon it. You see the tiny spores are hopefully eaten by the caterpillar, and once that happens it actually starts to grow from inside the insect.

These caterpillar carcasses would become hard, and this is what the Maori tribes would collect to produce their tattoo ink and also could be eaten as food. An amazing use and knowledge of local nature to survive.

Next Article
  • A Fetus Can Save A Mother’s Damaged Organs

    In what can only be described as a miracle worker, it is possible that a pregnant mother can be saved by her baby from the womb. In reports where a mother’s organs were critically damaged, doctors have seen fetus send stem cells to repair them. It shows how amazing the human body is, the miracle...

    Read More
  • Top 20 Coolest Movie Cars

    Over the years, film has churned out some of the most famous and legendary cars ever. Cars have been used not only as staples in movies, but sometimes even as characters. And in some films like “The Fast and The Furious”, the cars are just as important as the characters; kind of like extensions of...

    Read More
  • The Tragic Story Of How Smallpox Claimed Its Last Victim

    Smallpox was thought to have been eradicated across the whole world, yet in 1978 the last known case of smallpox was reported, and it led to the death of 40-year-old photographer Janet Parker. So how in the world did this disease turn up in Britain’s second-biggest city? Janet Parker was...

    Read More
  • The Creator Of The Sims Lost His Own House To Fire

    There is a certain panic when all your The Sims characters start to run around like ducks, scared of the impending doom of fire. Some players can react and call the fire brigade, or grab an extinguisher - yet others just panic along with their virtual gamer counterparts and well that means losing everything you...

    Read More
  • The Scientist Who Used A Nuclear Bomb To Light A Cigarette

    Forgot your lighter? Then you would probably ask your colleagues or someone you saw smoking on the street, well that was too easy for the American scientist Ted Taylor who in 1952 decided a better option would be to light his cigarette with a nuclear bomb. That's right, a nuclear explosion was used to light...

    Read More
  • The Secret Atlantic U-Boat Attacks Of World War II

    On January 13, 1942, German U-boats began their campaign on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, targeting merchant ships and oil tankers. And for the next seven months, they dominated the waters off the East Coast. German U-boat captains loved to be assigned to this region as it was an easy place to rack up...

    Read More
  • Humans Are Not The Only Species That Likes To Get Drunk

    Veterinary doctors around Northern Australia are used to the giant influx of parrots found on the streets being brought in for check-ups periodically throughout the year. They have dubbed it the drunken parrot season. A period of the year when the Red-collared lorikeets decide to get completely intoxicated and tipsy off natural brews. [caption id="attachment_9734"...

    Read More
  • Broccoli Is A Man-Made Plant And Is Never Found In The Wild

    Ever walked through nature and said wow that's beautiful broccoli growing over there. No, you never have, and never will do. That is because you will simply never find broccoli growing out in the wild. Never has anyone walked through a forest and gazed upon rows of wild broccoli. And the answer lies in its...

    Read More