The Maori community living in New Zealand has a tradition of collecting the heads of people who have died. These collected skulls of the dead were called ‘mokomokai’.
A skull collected by the Maori community
Different types of tribal tribes live in different parts of the world. From tribes living in the dense forests and deserts of Africa to communities living on the islands of the Pacific. Every tribal community has different traditions and customs. There are some traditions of these tribals, knowing which common people are surprised. One such tribal community is ‘Maori’, which is settled in New Zealand. This community has a unique tradition, under which the heads of those who died are collected. However, now this tradition has stopped.
These collected skulls of the dead were called ‘mokomokai’. The Maori tribe living in New Zealand has been living here for the last seven hundred years. People coming from this community get a special kind of tattoo made on their face. Just as there is a tradition in Egypt to preserve the body of the pharaohs as a mummy when they die. The Maori community had a similar tradition as well. In the death of a person of high rank in the Maori community, his head was beheaded. After this, organs such as the eyes and brain present within the skull were taken out.
Skulls stored in this way were prepared
The people of the Maori community used to clean the person’s head by boiling it in water. Then a special type of substance was put in it. After this, it was boiled again or cooked on the flame of the furnace. At the same time, after the completion of this process, the skulls were kept in the sun to dry for several days. Once the skull was dry, then the same type of tattoo was made on the face of the deceased, the same tattoo was made again on the skull. After this, shark oil was applied on it. The family members of the deceased used to store this skull and take it out on special occasions.
A ban was imposed on the sale of skulls in the year 1831.
These skulls, which were collected by the Māori community, began to be sold in the markets of Europe. The reason behind this was the community humiliating its rival. The demand for these skulls increased during the Muscat War. After this, in 1831, the Governor of South Wales banned the sale of these skulls. Major General Horatio Gordon Roble of England’s army also had a collection of these skulls. Tattoo art lover Roble had 35 such heads. At the same time, nowadays Mokomokai i.e. these unique skulls are present in many museums and are increasing their pride.
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