Early History of Maori Tattooing

    Major-General [Horatio Gordon] Robley. Moko; or Maori Tattooing. London: Chapman and Hall, 1896.

    First edition. Quarto. 216 pages.

    Publisher's brown cloth. Tattoo designs stamped in black on front and rear, and with gilt stamped titles. Lightly rubbed cloth with some faint darkening along backstrip and edges. One-inch split at top edge of front joint. Pages uncut. Bookplate. Mild toning to page edges with some light soiling to preliminary pages. Moderately cracked internally; rear hinge cracked. Generally, very good.

    Robley, a professional soldier, served in New Zealand during the Land Wars. While there, he encountered the native Maori people and became interested in their vocabulary and culture. Their custom of facial tattooing fascinated him and he made detailed studies of the work along with accurate sketches of the designs. Included in the research ultimately published in this title, Robley also writes of Mokomokai, the mummified tattooed heads created by the natives through a process of drying and preserving. Robley acquired a large collection of these Mokomokai and Maori antiquities, some of which where ultimately purchased by the American Museum of Natural History. From the Estate of John McLaughlin.

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