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Unraveling the Timeless Art of Taniko

A Tale of Intricate Bands and Patterns for Korowai

In the vibrant tapestry of Maori culture, Taniko stands as an art form that weaves together tradition, history, and beauty. Known for its intricate bands and patterns, Taniko plays a significant role in adorning the exquisite Korowai - the revered Maori cloak. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of Taniko, delving into its artistry, patterns, and its role in creating stunning Korowai masterpieces.


What Different Patterns Of Taniko Mean?

POUTAMA - This Maroon & Red 2.5 inches wide. This is available in 1 metre or a 5 metre roll. Poutama design symbolises the growth of man, striving ever upwards. The poutama (step-like pattern) has both religious and educational meanings. The steps symbolise levels of attainment and advancement.

This pattern represents the staircase that the god Tane climbed to heaven to get the three baskets of knowledge for the Maori people. Tane is the god who pushed father sky and mother earth apart, so that sunlight could come between them, and thus plants and animals could grow. After he had created food, Tane created man. Tane felt that man needed knowledge too so he set out to find this knowledge. Tane climbed the highest staircase to heaven and it was there that he found the three baskets (kete) of knowledge that he brought back for man.

The Three Baskets of Knowledge are: 1. Te Kete Uruuru Tau Aronui - containing wisdom, building, arts and agriculture. 2. Te Kete Uruuru Matua Tuauri - containing ancient rites and ceremonies 3. Te Kete Uruuru Rangi Tuatea - containing the knowledge of incantations, war, magic, and the tradition which includes the history of the Maori people.

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PATIKI - Patiki Taniko Band is 2 inches wide. This is available for 1 metre or a 5 metre roll. Patiki (flounder) designs are based on the diamond shape of the flounder fish. The flounder is a symbol of favourable times, prosperity and good luck.

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The Allure of Taniko Bands:

At the heart of Taniko lies its bands - meticulously woven patterns that form the foundation of this remarkable art form. These bands are skillfully crafted using a combination of colored threads, symbolizing stories of the Maori people and their connection to their ancestors, nature, and the spiritual realm. Each band is a testament to the weaver's mastery, creativity, and dedication to preserving cultural heritage.

Embracing Taniko Patterns:

Taniko patterns represent a visual narrative that reflects the traditions and beliefs of the Maori community. These intricate designs carry profound symbolism, with each element conveying a unique story. From the waves of the ocean symbolizing life's journey to the stars representing guidance and protection, the patterns hold layers of meaning that go beyond their aesthetic appeal. When incorporated into the Korowai, these patterns enhance the cloak's significance, making it a powerful embodiment of Maori culture and identity.

Taniko and the Korowai: A Timeless Fusion:

The Korowai, a symbol of prestige and honor, is traditionally adorned with Taniko bands and patterns. These delicate additions to the cloak elevate its beauty and cultural significance. The process of creating a Taniko-adorned Korowai requires immense skill and patience, with artisans dedicating countless hours to weaving each intricate thread. The end result is a masterpiece that not only captivates the eye but also carries the essence of the Maori people's rich heritage.

Preserving Maori Traditions:

As the world evolves, preserving cultural traditions becomes paramount in cherishing our collective history. Taniko remains an art form deeply revered by the Maori community and is passed down through generations. By continuing to incorporate Taniko patterns into the creation of Korowai and other cultural artifacts, the Maori people ensure that their ancestral stories and artistic brilliance endure, allowing future generations to connect with their roots.

The Contemporary Appeal of Taniko:

While Taniko has deep historical roots, it has also found a place in contemporary fashion and art. Modern designers and artisans draw inspiration from Taniko patterns, incorporating them into clothing, accessories, and home decor. This cultural fusion not only celebrates Maori traditions but also allows the world to appreciate the timeless beauty and significance of Taniko.

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Taniko - A Tapestry of Culture and Artistry.

In the intricate bands and patterns of Taniko, we uncover a rich tapestry of Maori culture and artistry. From its significance in adorning the majestic Korowai to its influence in modern design, Taniko continues to captivate hearts and minds. Each thread woven by skilled hands tells a story, connecting us to the essence of the Maori people and their profound connection to nature and spirituality. As we celebrate the art of Taniko, we also honor the timeless heritage of the Maori community, ensuring that this exquisite art form remains a cherished symbol of culture and identity for generations to come.

See our article on - Feathers in Maori Culture and how Taniko bands and feathers pair together to complete a Korowai cloak.

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