Thursday, September 6, 2012

Maori Bone Carving Project (without the bones)

DIY Maori "Bone" Necklace

As I mentioned in the post a few days ago, the Maori are very artistic and decorate everything.  Their canoes are beautifully carved, their homes and meeting houses are painted and carved, even their bodies have markings.  Most of this art serves a function.  It tells a story of a historical event or person, it serves a practical purpose (i.e. house post or canoe) or it is a decoration for the home or body.  The last function is where our next project idea came from - decoration!  The Maori do beautiful carvings in bone of different symbols.  They wear them as necklaces and each symbol is worn for a different reason or purpose.  Now, as much as they'd like to, I'm not about to give a 5 year old and a 3 year old carving tools!  So we used some modeling clay and some wooden skewers - our results were pretty amazing and we still have all our fingers :) If you'd like to see some real carved necklaces has many beautiful ones, as well as information about the symbols.  But, this is what the kids and I did...

This symbol is called Koru and represents an unfurling fern.  It is the symbol for growth, harmony and a new beginning.

This symbol, called Pikoura, represents eternity and friendship.  Also can symbolize two groups or people coming together as one. 

The fish hook symbol, or hei matau, is said to give its wearer safe passage over water and represents power and authority.

This little guy is called a hei tiki and is the symbol of great inner knowledge and strong character.  It is worn as a good luck charm and is usually made of greenstone.  Many families pass them down as heirlooms.

My little bone-carver had a great time making her hei tiki and we are anxiously waiting for it to dry! We can use all the good luck we can get (and a little strength of character never hurts either!)