By Sangl, HarryCommentaries by Penfold, MerimeriCommentaries by Simmons, David
Te Kuia Moko is a taonga recording 34 Maori women, all bearing moko kauae(chin tattoos). First published in 1980 as The Blue Privilege, this new printing evidences the book's ongoing importance as a record of moko art. Arriving in New Zealand in 1969, Harry Sangl believed that ku...ia with moko kauae were of a bygone era. But in March 1972 he saw a photograph of a centenarian Maori woman with a moko and set out to find her, reaching her in Ruatoki, near the Urewera ranges. From there he embarked on a three-and-a-half-year journey around New Zealand to paint the last remaining kuia with moko, many of whom were of Ngai Tuhoe descent. Most of Sangl's subjects were born in the nineteenth century, the oldest around 1850. The period of tattooing was approximately from 1885-1940. Biographies of the women are printed substantially as they spoke them, supplemented by essays by Merimeri Penfold and D.R. Simmons. The records are accompanied by black-and-white sketches of the kuia's moko - complementing the beautiful, full colour paintings.Read more
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Born in 1922 in Prague to German-speaking parents, Harry Sangl established a career as a professional painter before marrying a New Zealander and emigrating to her homeland in 1969. Chance circumstances led him to meeting his first 'kuia with moko' in Ruatoki, Bay of Plenty in 1972, beginning a pilgrimage around the country to locate the 34 moko kauae bearers and seek their consent to be portraited. Now resident in Auckland, Harry Sangl has continued an illustrious painting career into his nineties. An exhibition of prints of his kuia moko works took place at the Depot Artspace in Devonport, Auckland, in March 2019.
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