Maori tattoo art is some of the most famous in the world. In the traditional Maori culture, it is common for not only the body, but for the face to be inked as well.
It is believed that this practice grew out of marking the face and body with war paint made of charcoal and red ochre. Eventually, the warriors began to make their designs permanent.
The style of Maori tattoo was noted by Captain James Cook when he encountered their culture in 1769:
"The marks in general are spirals drawn with great nicety and even elegance. One side corresponds with the other. The marks on the body resemble foliage in old chased ornaments, convolutions of filigree work, but in these they have such a luxury of forms that of a hundred which at first appeared exactly the same no two were formed alike on close examination."