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Hello from down under.

Sebastián Urresti

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post-318-1156896039.jpgpost-318-1156896135.jpgHello everyone!

I´m Sebastián from Argentina. Although "down under" is Australia I feel that we are there too... I saw the page a few months ago and I decided to be part of it today. I´m learning all that I can about carving. All started when I first saw a Maori bone and tried to do one myself. Years later I heard about a book and bought it, Stephen Myhre´s Bone Carving book, a masterpiece for me. As english is not my "mother tongue" I´m having difficulties with the techincal part on doing the tools... I´m a student and this page is of a lot of help for me. Thank you for sharing all this information.

Sorry about my english (sometimes is hard to express our thoughts in another language...)

Thank you again.


Sebastián Urresti

From Rosario (City) - Santa Fé (State)

Here is a photo of a Koru (Fern) anda Koropepe (Eel) I hope I to do the attachment thing right... Any comment will be of great help

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Welcome to The Carving Path Forum and thank you for introducing yourself Sebastián! It is good to know that you are finding the forum helpful.


Long ago, I too, found Stephen Myhre's book very helpful with moving beyond the basic micro carving tools. I continue to be thankful for him and for his book as it helps more carvers on their carving path. Your English is very good, by the way, and thank you for the years of effort you have put into learning the language so well. The attachment thing was done very nicely, thanks for that as well.



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I was wondering if you, or others on the forum who carve bone in Maori traditional forms could provide a explanation of the typical themes- fern, eel, spiral, etc.

Is there a good Web reference I should consult?

I'm curious as to the histories, symbolic importance, and significant visual traits of these items.

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Hi Doug:

First I want to say that all this information is a humble contribution to the forum,, is not absolute, and with it I don´t mean to hurt anyone´s feelings about the Maori culture.

As a unique "Maori" identity is almost recently formed, sometimes the meaning of a design varies depending on some factors such as tribal, sub-tribal, familiar and different elders´ tradition. (Hope I am expressing myself correctly) The Maori people respect tradition, this is the greatest value that they have, their identity is tied to their tradition directly. That is why they are so respectfull with the meanings of the designs, for instance the three fingered (Haohao) figures and the meaning of it varies from tribe to tribe:

- A representation of the three baskets of knowledge (that can be linked to the life cycle of man)

- Pere-tu had three fingered hands as sign of his reptile god ancestors, that is why the ancestors (that are not among us anymore) are carved with three fingers.

- The first Maori man, Nuku-wai-teko or Mutu-wai-teko, that came from Hawaiki (Maori´s Homeland - sort of Eden), had three fingers and carved all figures keeping that sign.

- A Maori elder stated that when held correctly the Hika (sacred rubbing-stick to make fire) is controlled only by three fingers. (Here I don`t need to explain the importance of fire generation among ancestral cultures...)

- In the east coast tradition Hingangaroa had three sons: Taua, Mahaki and Hauiti. As they settled and formed other tribes this explanation was born.

- To represent the a complete carved human figure is Tapu (a complex concept of forbbiden, taboo, not propper, etc...) so instead fo five fingers they carved only three.

Sometimes the figures have a fourth finger that can represent, linked to lyfe cycle, the afterlife concept or an ancestor of the European era, when carved in wood in a Marae or meeting house.

Anyway, you can have short explanations about the figures represented in bone carving, here is a short list of what I think is important to have in mind when carving a Maori´s tradition bone:

Hei-Matau ( hei - neck; matau - hook) Fish-hook:

- Provision and prosperity ( because is a tool used to get food )

- Protection when travelling over waters, friendship, support in hard times (that is what a Maori can read about the carrier)

Koru - Fern: "The unfolding fern frond"

- The continuity of life, for it represents a bud (is that right?! "brote" in spanish)

- Unfolding, spyral and with it all that a spiral represents

Hei-Toki - Adze - Chisel:

- Authority, high value in the tribe

- As a mother tool (carvers use it, carpenters use it, etc...) used to create another tools, to wear a Toki is to be usefull to your tribe, you can do an important thing for others

Te Manaia

- The Guardian of our family spirit

- Our Guardian Angel

- With the head of a bird, the three fingers of birth, life and death (sometimes with the fourth) is a representation of the spiritual Maori cosmogony


- The first man on earth

- Our ancestors

- To have strength in character, to be perceptive (for the wearer)

And there are a lot more of desing with a their meanings and functions...

All the carvings are "charged" with the Mana (life energy, vitality, spirituallity...) of the wearer making it worthy for the generations to come, our children, our family... Not in vain IWI in Maori is the same word for bone and nation.

Please any correction will be greatfully received. Next time I send some IMAGES!!!




To the Administrator:

I don't know if this is the right place to send this kind of mail.



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