The Maori Tattoo Tarot has 78 cards themed around spirituality of the Maori people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The illustrations set Maori symbolism and imagery into a tarot structure. Self-published and available from the artist.
The Maori Tattoo Tarot deck, created by Roxana Paul and published by the Rising Sun Publishing House has two remarkable features: its theme is about an ancient civilization with clear mythological focus, and its brilliant digital performance with the big eye illustrations and vibrant colors looks quite contemporary. There is one more important side of the deck: for the first time I hold in my hand the whole Tarot deck where all cards pictures are tattoos on the human skin background. It is all colorful, saturated tattoos on fine and smooth skin. Plus, I found a free license to use all tattoo designs of the deck for personal purposes. Yassss, I love it.
The trumps numbering is traditional (exactly, according to Marseille Tarot, so the Fool is 0, Justice is 8, and Strength is 11), but three cards have special names: the Empress in the Maori Tattoo Tarot deck is called Ariki-Tapairu, The Hierophant Tohunga, and the Emperor Ariki. To add more exotic, all court cards are renamed: Apprentice instead Page, Warrior instead Knight, Chieftainess instead Queen, and Chief instead King. Suits are Swords, Wands, Discs, and Gourds instead Cups.
As a collector, buying a new deck I keep in mind three preferences. First, I'm looking for something special, even unique in style and design of the cards (mass-produced decks are out of my interest). As for Maori Tattoo Tarot, I can't even. It is special indeed. Second, I'd like decks with a real historical or cultural connection. I call it inner meaning. I was provided with a free companion ebook to download, thinking its basic but discover a lot of information of the decks esoteric background there. No doubt, its a historically (or better say culturally) significant deck. Third, the art of the deck has to be not lower than a certain level. The Maori Tattoo Tarot cards are definitely above an average level of the modern Tarot art. The cards images are well-balanced, the faces and bodies of people and sea creatures are depicted on the cards with excellent details.
The decks were delivered shrink-wrapped
in tuck boxes with a 50 pages black and white LWBs
inside (no point to discuss LWB, for I also received the
comprehensive companion ebook with a new spread and some
practical things well explained). The cards are borderless,
and I prefer it this way. Due to the symmetrical
backside design, the cards are able to be used reversed (I
think it is an important quality for practical reading).
The paper is good, so the cards are beautiful to touch
and easy to shuffle. The size of cards is just so that
convenient to handle them. I usually buy a couple of decks,
and what a pleasant surprise: the seller sent me the
second deck for free as a Christmas