Coffee Culture 6: Coffee with a dash of difference…

Copied from another blogger who is fascinated by coffee… here are a couple of ideas to brighten your potent drink.

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You might be like me. Someone who cannot leave what’s good enough alone. Coffee is one of those things for me. Rarely can I drink it plain black and rarely plain warm. Want to teach your coffee to jump through hoops? Here are some ideas:

  • Salt your coffee. Either as you are grinding it, or the dairy that accompanies it. Salt enhances sweetness and cloys bitter flavors.
  • Rethink the sweet. When you take your coffee sweet, consider an alternative to standard white sugar. This can be as simple as using brown sugar, a raw sugar, agave nectar, or honey instead. Or as complex as adding maple syrup, bitter caramel sauce, Nước Màu or fruit jam.
  • Give the beans some friends. Next time you grind up coffee beans, consider tossing in one or all of these flavor additions: half a vanilla bean pod, some cocoa nibs, a small sliver of whole nutmeg, orange zest, a cardamom pod, a couple black peppercorns or a nub of cinnamon stick.
  • Steep when you heat. Steeping aromatics in either your pre-brew coffee water or your dairy is a way to get a touch of flavor that is different from grinding flavors with the beans. This could be as simple as making your coffee with peppermint tea or lemon water, or warming your milk with sticks of cinnamon and whole cloves. Who says you have to use plain water to brew your coffee?
  • Bloom your coffee grounds. As one blooms dry gelatin before use, moisten your coffee grounds to help prep them for brewing. How to: Shake out your freshly ground coffee into a mixing bowl and stir in 1-3 Tbs of water. Let sit for ~5 minutes and then scrape into your brewing apparatus. It is thought that premoistening coffee grounds results in a stronger or more flavored brew. Have you wondered about using brandy or bourbon instead of water for this step yet?
  • Take your time. How about a 12 hour brew? Do those words give you caffeine withdrawal? If you add time and subtract the heat, you will have a new coffee experience in your cup.
  • Keep it simple. Sometimes you owe it to your taste buds to take a vacation from your habits and resort to the easiest path: straight black coffee. With the amazing amount of coffee bean varieties and roasts we have access too, there is no excuse for calling straight black coffee boring.

Perubahan tak dapat dielakkan

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Kompas.com: 28 Agustus 2009

Oleh Agnes Rita Sulistyawati & M. Hernowo

Bai Salasa Kerei, warga Desa Muntei, Kecamatan Siberut Selatan, Kepulauan Mentawai, Sumatera Barat, tidak ingat persis tahun berapa tato digambar di tubuhnya. Yang diingatnya, dia tidak punya banyak pilihan selain menuruti kehendak kakaknya agar badannya dirajah.

Bai hanya ingat ketika tato digambarkan di sekujur tubuhnya, dia masih berumur belasan tahun dan belum menikah dengan Aman Salasa Kerei.

Saat itu, Bai tidak dapat menolak tubuhnya ditato karena— bagi orang Mentawai—tato menyimbolkan pemiliknya berasal dari keluarga berada. Sebab, penatoan didahului dengan upacara adat atau punen enegat, yang diikuti masyarakat satu kesukuan. Tuan rumah bertanggung jawab menyediakan makanan bagi para tamu punen. Saat punen, seekor babi—ternak yang menjadi ukuran kekayaan masyarakat Mentawai—dipotong dan dimakan bersama. Sipatiti—orang yang menato—berhak membawa pulang seekor babi seusai mengerjakan tugasnya.

Bagi sikerei atau dukun di Mentawai yang bertugas mengobati orang sakit, tato juga menyimbolkan keabadian. ”Kalau saya meninggal, seluruh hiasan sikerei ini harus ditanggalkan. Tinggallah tato di tubuh yang dibawa ke liang kubur. Tato inilah pakaian abadi kami,” ucap Teuk Kerei, seorang sikerei asal Tinambu, Kecamatan Siberut Selatan.

Namun, penatoan yang dilakukan dengan menusukkan jarum kayu ke kulit dan kemudian diikuti dengan memasukkan campuran arang dan sari pati tebu ini menimbulkan rasa sakit yang amat sangat. Rasa sakit ini membuat Bai Salasa Kerei tidak melanjutkan penatoan hingga ke kaki.

Kekhawatiran terhadap rasa sakit itu pula yang membuat Aman Jazali, sikerei dari Butui, Desa Madobag, Siberut Selatan, memutuskan tidak menato tubuhnya. ”Lagi pula, sekarang juga tidak ada keharusan bagi sikerei untuk menato tubuhnya,” kata sikerei yang masih berumur sekitar 35 tahun ini.

Mulai ditinggalkan

Aman Jazali tidak sendirian. Generasi muda Mentawai pada umumnya sekarang memang enggan menato tubuhnya. Selain tidak kuat menahan sakit, tidak adanya biaya untuk pesta juga sering disebut sebagai alasan tidak lagi ditato.

Kurangnya peminat tato ini berdampak makin sedikitnya sipatiti. Bahkan, lantaran tidak ada lagi sipatiti yang bisa memahatkan garis-garis tato, Bajak Kamid, sikerei dari suku Sakoddobat di Tinambu, Siberut Selatan, terpaksa membiarkan tubuhnya polos tanpa tato.

Sebenarnya, tato mulai ditinggalkan warga Mentawai sekitar tahun 1955, ketika negara mencabut dukungan atas kepercayaan asli masyarakat Mentawai, yaitu Arat Sabulungan. Negara selanjutnya meminta pemeluk Arat Sabulungan memilih satu dari lima agama ”resmi”. Dampaknya, semua peralatan yang digunakan untuk ritual Arat Sabulungan, termasuk tato, dimusnahkan.

Peneliti tato Mentawai dari Universitas Negeri Padang, Ady Rosa, melihat, pencitraan tato juga sempat terpuruk ketika masyarakat umum mengidentikkan pemakai tato sebagai preman. Selain mulai enggan menato tubuhnya, generasi muda Mentawai kini juga jarang yang memakai kabbit, cawat dari kulit kayu baikko. Kabbit memiliki makna tertentu, seperti yang dipakai sikerei harus diwarnai dengan memakai getah kulit bakao agar berwarna merah.

Alasan ”kepraktisan” juga membuat sejumlah warga Mentawai mengubah beberapa tradisi dalam uma mereka. Misalnya, banyak dinding uma sekarang dibuat dari papan, bukan dari kulit kayu meranti.

Darmanto, peneliti tentang Mentawai, melihat lunturnya berbagai tradisi di Mentawai diakui menggerus Mentawai yang sekian lama ”menarik” di mata wisatawan. Tradisi, pantai yang indah, ombak besarnya, dan keragaman hayatinya adalah daya tarik itu.

Namun, perubahan adalah keniscayaan bagi Mentawai. Termasuk pengaruh televisi untuk sebagian wilayah yang berlistrik di sana. Perubahan sulit dicegah karena warga Mentawai bukan komunitas yang sengaja membentengi diri dari dunia luar, seperti warga Badui di Banten atau suku Naga di Tasikmalaya, Jawa Barat.

Menurut Darmanto, memaksa warga Mentawai setia kepada kebiasaan mereka, seperti memakai kabbit dan menato tubuh, apalagi demi eksotisme, adalah kurang tepat. Orang Mentawai harus merdeka menentukan hidupnya sendiri, termasuk memilih kemajuan yang mereka inginkan.

Kewajiban negara menjaga agar warga Mentawai tetap memiliki hak atas miliknya, seperti tanah, hutan, dan kearifan adatnya. Susahnya, ancaman terhadap warga Mentawai sebagian besar justru datang dari kebijakan negara, seperti keputusan pemerintah memberikan hak pengusahaan hutan (HPH) di Mentawai kepada sejumlah perusahaan.

Lokasi HPH sering bertabrakan dengan lahan adat suku Mentawai dan pengelolaan HPH sering pula tak sesuai dengan kearifan lokal orang Mentawai. Misalnya, pengelola HPH mengambil semua kayu, padahal tradisi Mentawai hanya mengizinkan pengambilan kayu yang sudah besar dan keras serta tidak dengan dibakar.

Padahal, seperti disampaikan Selester Sageruwjuw, warga Dusun Rogdog, Siberut Selatan, yang mereka butuhkan di tengah perubahan saat ini adalah adanya kesempatan menanamkan nilai kearifan adat dan budaya Mentawai kepada kawula mudanya. Jika keleluasaan ini tetap dimiliki, orang Mentawai tetap dapat merasakan kemerdekaan dari Indonesia yang sudah berumur 64 tahun ini….

Let me be sky

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Let the earth of my body, Be mixed with the earth you walk on

Let the fire of my body, Be the brightness shining in your eyes

Let me be sky and moving through me, That cloud-like one

Let me be sky and moving through me, That dark one, My love

Let the water of my body, Be the sweet pool that you bathe in

And let the breath of my body, Be the gentle wind caressing your soft soft skin

Let me be sky and moving through me, That cloud-like one

Let me be sky and moving through me, That dark dark one, My love

Let me be sky let me be sky, I see the heavens when look in your eyes

Let me be sky let me be sky, Just take my hand know we can fly.

 

Image of Sri Radharani

Lyrics from Let me be Sky by Jai Uttal from his album Thunder Love.

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Jai Uttal and his magical kirtan

Deep in pranayama, I can hear the soothing melody sung by Jai Uttal, world’s renown kirtan singer.  The deeper I go in my inhalation and for every exhalation, the melodious kirtan followed naturally, giving a sense of tranquility, spiraling in the heart with such incredible passion, tenderness, surrender that one is left transformed and sanctified.

kirtan001[1]Jai has been leading kirtans worldwide for over thirty years.  ‘These ancient chants,’ writes Jai, ‘contain a transformative power and healing energy.  By singing these prayers we join a stream of consciousness and devotion that has been flowing for centuries.

What is kirtan?

Kirtan is food for the spirit, a life raft of song.

Kirtan is the calling, the crying, the reaching across infinite space – digging into the heart’s deepest well to touch and be touched by the Divine Presence.

Kirtan is singing over and over the many names of God and the Goddess, the multi-colored rainbow manifestations of the One.  It is said that there is no difference between the name and that which is being named, and as the words roll off our lips in song, the Infinite is invoked, invited, made manifest in our hearts.

Kirtan is part of an ancient form of Yoga known as Bhakti, or the Yoga of Devotion.  But in Bhakti we redefine ‘devotion’ we expand the meaning to include every shade of color in the palette of human emotion, turned towards God through song, dance and worship.  These chants have been sung for millenium by sages, sinners, devotees, and the great primordial yogi alchemists of old.  And, as we sing, we touch the spirits of the millions of people across the centuries who have sung the same songs and cried the same tears.  As we sing, we immerse ourselve in an endless river of prayer that has been flowing since the birth of the first human beings, longing to know their creator.

Kirtan is for all people.  The practice itself is the teacher, guiding us to ourselves.  Kirtan teaches itself by allowing us to enter into a mystery world, and we allow ourselves to expand into the mystery.

Some of Jai’s albums full of joyful Kirtan to celebrate your life with:

Shiva Station

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Nectar

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Treating indigestion from the ground up

Sometimes it is that second cup of coffee, other times it is too much of hot and spicy green curry, and more often than not, is is just plain-old stress.  When tension is to blame for your indigestion, the cure is only a couple of feet away.  Anxiety can block the body from breaking food down into fuel.  Learning to release that anxiety at its base, in the feet, will ease the pressure your body is under, while processing nutrients. 

There are points in the feet that go directly to the organs that aid digestion.  Two variations of thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana) will help to soothe stress and settle your stomach (not to mention pamper your paws).  As a warning, foot positions of these poses can be and should be painful for first-timers.  Stay with it for as many breaths as you can.

Deep toe bend

This pose realeases blocked energy in the feet, improving energy flow and balance throughout the body.  Rid your feet of knots and the ones in your stomach will stimulateously dissipate.

Sit on your knees.  Then bend your toes underneath you and sit back on your heels.  Only the bottom of your toes should touch the floor.  Begin to raise your knees off the floor and shift your body weight forward, applying wegiht to the pads of the toes. You may feel some discomfort in the toes.  High-heel wearers, consider yourself warned that this will not be a picnic for you.  Notice where the tenderness is and try to apply more body weight to that spot.  Stay in that position as long as possible.

Foot cross

The pose opens up the energy pathways that begin at the sole of the foot.

Sitting on your knees, with the tops of your feet on the floor, rise up slightly of your ankles so you can cross your right foot over the middle of your left foot.  Find the boniest part of the top of your right foot and place it in the very middle of the outer edge of your left foot.  Part of your right foot will hang-over your left.  When the right foot bone rests there and you sit back on your heel, you will feel a radiating sensation throughout the left foot and maybe even up the back of the body.  Use your body weight to apply pressure gently to the right heel, sending your body weight toward the floor while releasing the tensions in the feet that connect to the gut.  Feel free to experiment with the amount of pressure.  As long as you feel you are pressing on the left acupressure point, stay for as long as possible.  Switch sides.

Afterward sit in cross-legged seated position (Sukhasana) and notice where you feel the difference in your body.

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Tattoos in Paintings: Natalia Fabia in Focus

Browsing through Juxtapoz’ August 2009 edition, I came across an interesting LA-based artist by the name of Natalia Fabia.  Her artwork infuses all of the artist’s favorite influences into painting after painting, each more vibrant and inspired than the next.  Her work is different and stands out.. the eyes need some getting used to, to differentiate whether it is a portrait or a painting or an oil painting portrait.  Here is an excerpt from the article in the magazine as written by Katie Zuppann.

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Take a handful of gems, a wealth of tattoos, mix in some ruffled lingerie and encrust with glitter, lots of glitter.  This tasty recipe is just a suggested serving, for the real magic lies in the viewer’s interpretation. Natalia Fabia takes an almost puerile, voyeuristic impulse, to an artistically sophisticated level.  Natalia’s work possessess a vibrancy, sexy and alluring, but maintains a delicate and feminine charm.

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Although Natalia may be best known for racy subject matter, her works are painstaking examinations of the fundamental language of paint:  light, color, space, composition, and surface.  Each canvas offers the artist an investigation into a series of formal problems.

One thing is indisputable:  Natalia’s mastery of oil paints has significantly improved in recent years, something the artist attributes to greater time and care spent on each piece. ‘I used to rush myself before,’ Natalia confirms… ‘I could always paint, I just paint smart now.’ Conscious painting or ‘painting smart’ is teh result of experience and just plain efficiency.

images[3]‘What exactly is the message you’re trying to convey?’ I question later on the phone.  ‘I’ve always been interested in environments, how people interact with their environments,’ she explains. ‘I think there is way more to paintings than just people see.  I do paint pretty things because that’s what I’m drawn to.  I’m super into clothing and fashion.  I love pretty women.  Even straight girls check each other out.’

A7C9GPWCAM2W76ZCARG34BOCAA9Y3C3CAU91MPPCAXHEZ0PCAXKILLWCAKA33MPCAPJVW9VCA0VOCXQCAX67HIVCAK01P8ICAQ4VO0ACADJK7M4CA8AQI1QCARW3XJ1CASYFY5RCA3NGD3TFor as long as Natalia can remember, she has been drawn to glitz and glamour, Punk rock, pinup dolls, tattoos, gems, chandeliers (as one of her body tattoo also implies as a back piece) – just about anything bright, loud and sparkly crept its way to Natalia’s heart and has never left.

 

 

Natalia Fabia’s work provides a visual feast, using traditional techniques to evoke the modern world through those favorite rose-colored glasses.  We may never get to cavort in a world habituated by playful stuffed animals and erotic women ourselves, but it’s inspiring and rejuvenating to visit every now and again.

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Coffee Culture 5: Kopi Penari Jawa

Baru mengenal Java Dancer Coffee kemarin petang dari Andri Gunawan, salah satu dari empunya/cupper, berikut adalah cuplikan dari publikasi yang telah memuatnya di Malang Raya beberapa saat yang lalu.  Kami dibawakan oleh-oleh kopi Wamena.  Dilain kesempatan kalau lewat atau menginap di Malang, sempatkan untuk mampir.  Pemiliknya memiliki passion terhadap kopi, lebih dari sekedar meraup keuntungan darinya. 

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JAVA DANCER COFFEE BIDIK WISATAWAN ASING – oleh Lailatul ROsida/MalangPost

Penggemar kopi di Malang Raya kini bisa menikmati sajian istimewa dari sebuah kafe yang menawarkan kesempurnaan rasa kopi yang disajikan.  Semuanya ada di Java Dancer Coffee.  Kafe yang baru menggelar soft launching pada 15 Desember 2008 alu, menawarkan berbagai jenis kopi yang khas.  Tidak saja karena penyajiannya yang menggunakan berbagai peralatan modern dari luar negeri, akan tetapi karena biji kopi yang disuguhkan adalah biji kopi dari berbagai daerah di Indonesia.  Mulai dari kopi Aceh Gayo hingga Papua Wamena tersaji disana.

Menurut Manager Java Dancer Coffee, Hendry, keberadaan coffee shop di kawasan Jalan Kahuripan kota Malang ini membidik para wisatawan asing yang banyak berada di kawasan Tugu Malang.  Terutatma tamu asing di Hotel Tugu yang tepat berada di depan kafe ini.

‘Kopi yang kami tawarkan diproduksi sendiri dan sebelumnya sudah kami ekspor ke Denmark.  Dan sekarang kami coba tawarkan di Kota Malang sebagai kota asal produksi kopi ini.’ ungkapnya.

Hendri menuturkan Java Dancer Coffee adalah merek produk kopi yang dibuatnya bersama dua rekannya yang lain, yaitu David selaku roast master, dan Andri yang menjadi taster/cupper andalan.  Pusat produksinya berada di kawasan Araya Kota Malang.  Masing-masing personil boleh dibilang ahli di bidang minuman kopi, karena mereka sudah menempuh pendidikan khusus untuk membuat secangkir kopi.  Andre misalnya pernah belajar khusus pada ahli pembuat kopi di Amerika.  Ilmuj yang mereka dapatkan itulah yang kemudian dipraktikkan dalam penyajian kopi di sana.  Karena itu, nikmatnya kopi yang dirasakan adalah hasil kesempurnaan mulai dari penggorengan, proses hingga penyajiannya.

‘Untuk menggoreng kopi, kami memiliki ukuran kematangan, suhu dan teknik yang menggoreng yang tepat.  Dalam penyajiannya yang juga diperlukan teknik-teknik khusus agar tercipta rasa kopi yang benar-benar nikmat,’ urainya. 

Disinggung soal target utama dibukanya kafe yang menusung nuansa etnik Jawa itu, Hendri mengaku sebenarnya target terbesar adalah mempromosikan merek Java Dancer yang sudah populer di Denmark.  Pecinta kopi yang datang ke kafe bisa merasakan bagiamna kopi kahas buatan mereka yang diolah dengan kesempurnaan teknik.  APalagi biji kopi pilihan yang disajikan adalah biji kopi dari kebun masyarakat Indonesia sendiri yang tersebut mulai Aceh hingga Papua.  Selain itu, sebenarnya ketiga pendiri kafe ini adalah para penikmat kopi yang biasa berpetualang hanya untuk mencari secangkir kopi dengan rasa yang paling sempurna.

Dalam waktu dekat, kata dia, pihaknya akan menggagas event Coffee journey.  Dimana pengunjung akan mendapatkan voucher untuk menghabiskan semua pilihan rasa yang bisa disuguhkan di sana.

Java Dancer Coffee

Jalan Kahuripan 12, Malang 65111 – INDONESIA

+62 341 8199899

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Tattoos for Women in the Middle East

Arabic tattos and tattooing in the middle east, in places such as Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Palestine, went back as far as the 19th century.  It was a way for arabic prostitutes to catch the eye of a man.  However, erotic tattoos such as breast tattoos are not quite as popular as they were once in the middle east.  Gypsies and nomadic people seem to influence most designs in tattoos in the middle east. The nomadic women were by far the most heavily tattooed, and were most likely tattoed by the gypsies.  The gypsies tended to tattoo people from Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq and Egypt up until the 20th century.

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In Iran, it was common for upper class women to have patterns tattoed on their chins.  The designs were sometimes very elaborate, and resembled that of a beared.  Along side the chin tattoos, it was common for women to tattoo their lips blue, as it iwas considered to embody beauty.  Beliefs attached to tattoos in the middle east often corresponded with thinking the wearer was imbued with magical power, these tattoos often times were dots or small crosses.  They usually adorned the hands, and feet, they believed that they either provided strength or protection.

Tattooing is nevertheless common among the Berbers of North Africa, where small designs with symbolic meaning are used (mainly by women).  Egyptian Christians ofthen have a cross tattooed on their hand or wrist.  These designs are very simple – often crudely done – and we are not aware of any Arab equivalent tot he elaborate tattos used, for example by the Maoris and Pacif islanders.

However, in this day and age, the demand for tattoos among Iranian, and other middle eastern women has exploded Iranian who are tattooed, however must keep them under wraps due to the authorities.

The art of tattoo in the middle east is forbidden by religious scriptures.  In despite of this restriction there are those who have a need or desire to get tattooed.  Some see it as a way to allow themselves to get closer to God while others use it as a way to remember some great event in their life.  Tattooing was also used as a rite of passage.

For a non-permanent skin decoration in the Arab world is practised mostly by women and takes the form of designs on hands and feet using henna, which fades away after a few weeks.  The complex patterns seen throughout the Middle East are normally achieved using stencils which can be bought cheaply in the souqs (markets).

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Religious sects use tattooing as a means to identify themselves to each other.  These specific tattoos hold some meaning within the religion itself.  The tattoos will generally consist of one or more symbols intertwined into one graphic pictorial. 

References about tattoos for women in the middle east can be looked up in the following books:

Mendhi by Carine Fabius and Michele M. Garcia; Arabic Tattoos by Jon Udelson.

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Ta Moko: More than just a Tattoo from New Zealand

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It is a permanent body and face marking by Maori, the indigeneous people of New Zealand.  It is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured.  This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.  It is mostly about family history story-telling pattern into the skin of a Maori descendant.  It is not limited to facial tattoos, as many mistakenly assume, although it certainly can include partial or full facial patterns.

Ta Moko is the tapu (sacred) form of family and personal identification among those of Maori whakapapa (genealogy).  Genealogy is so important to the Maori people that they know their family history back 2000 years. 

Brought by Maori from their Eastern Polynesian homeland, and the implements and methods employed were similar to those used in other parts of Polynesia.  In pre-European Maori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status.  Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals.  Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. 

Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (raperape) and thighs (puhoro).  Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauae) and chins.  Other parts of the body known to have moko on it include the foreheads, buttocks, thighs, neck and backs of women, and the backs, stomachs and calves of men.

In the making…

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Originally tohunga-ta-moko (moko specialists) used a range of uhi (chisels) made from albatross bone which were hafted onto a handle and struck with a mallet.  The pigments were made from the awheto for the body colour and ngarehu (burnt timbers) for the backer face color.

In the late 19th century, needles came to replace the uhi as the main tools.  This was a quicker method, less prone to possible health risks, but the feel of the moko changed to smooth.  Women continued receiving moko through 20th century, but moko on men stopped around 1860s in line with changing fashion and acceptance by Pakeha (white New Zealanders).  Women were traditionally only allowed to be tattoed on their lips, around the chin, and sometimes the nostrils. 

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During the last three decades tattooing has experienced a cultural renaissance throughout New Zealand society.  Artistically, the country’s tattooing is so influenced by the patterns and traditions of the Maori moko past that it constitutes its own genre.

Maori designs are also one of the primary sources of the tribal tattoing that has become so popular in the United States and other countries in the last twenty years.

More references on Ta Moko and its heritage can be found in the following books:

Maori Tattooing by H.G. Robley; Ta Moko by D.R. Simmons; Polynesian and Oceanian Designs by Gregory Mirow.

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Rumi: The Book of Love

Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?

Why would you refuse to give this love to anyone?

Fish don’t hold the sacred liquid in cups.

They swim the huge fluid freedom.

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