Friday Fictioneers – Moko

Photo Prompt © CEAyr

This was my great-grandfather’s head. The intricate spiral patterns are moko, chiselled by skilled artists into living flesh and coloured with soot. Your museums prized them as curios. So men with moko were captured, decapitated, and sold to the whites. The supply of tattooed heads began to dwindle. For a while the market shortfall was eased by killing and posthumously tattooing slaves.

Nowadays, the heads are coming home as toi moko, tattoo art. But it’s really their mana we repatriate. There’s no precise translation of mana in your language. You might call it status, but it also means spiritual force.


Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.

Fancy sharpening your skill with writing exercises? The Scrivener’s Forge offers a new exercise every month to hone one aspect of your craft. Take a look at this month’s exercise on plot and endings.

72 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Moko

  1. Humans can be truly barbaric at times. Your story was well told.
    I also saw a face in the rock. I’ve been reading a bit about the Green Man whose face appears surrounded by leaves and sometimes with vines coming out of his mouth and/0r nnose. Very interesting.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Intriguing writing, so many cultures have taken heads as trophys. No doubt there could be a theme here


  3. There is so much to be said about white colonisation and this is hardly the platform for it. True story brilliantly captured Neil. On the other hand, the Maori haka does say among its lines that eyes will be gouged etc. 🙂 In short, mankind loves violence, else there would have been peace on the planet long ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There are times we are a a loss for words. This is one of them. Although certainly not on the same scale as human sacrafice, this reminds me of how savageness still is a current reality – such as the African poachers killing elephants strictly for their tusks to sell to China to do Ivory art carvings.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s