Polynesian Style Tiki Masks

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Terrifying Tikis

tiki headTiki mask are wild and ferocious in appearance with piercing eyes and menacing grins. It is believed the first stone tikis were carved in the Marquesas Islands around the year 1400. Tikis are large wood or stone carvings created by people of the Central Eastern Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean. In Ma-ori stories and legends, the Tiki represents "the first man", as created by the deity Tu-matauenga or Ta-ne, who also found the first woman, Marikoriko, in a waterpond. The word "Tiki" is a Ma-ori name given these human shaped wooden carvings. These large carvings were also constructed to mark boundaries of sacred places of activity.

The word tiki is used by New Zealand Ma-ori, Cook Islands Ma-ori, Tuamotuan, and Marquesan. Tahiti uses term ti'i and in Hawaii the word is pronounced ki'i.

There is a huge difference between true tiki carvings for spiritual and boundary reasons and the statues, mugs beach towels and other products sold in department stores and the glasses holding the umbrella drinks at the beach club.

Modern Polynesian Kitsch Pop culture or Tiki culture essentially began around World War II. Returning American soldiers entertained family and friends with stories and souvenirs from their visits to areas in the South Pacific.


Modern kitzy products are extremely popular and can be seen in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and Disney's Polynesian Resort just to name a few examples. Tiki drinking mugs are summer splash favorites for parties, and who doesn't own at least one beach towel fancifully festooned with grimacing little monsters under palm trees. Some people collect wooden carved tiki statues to greet guests and protect their homes, but these printable tiki gods are just for fun. Print and trace the designs onto multi-color fun craft foam sheets to create colorful soft face masks. Use the left over trimmings of foam pieces to cut and paste designs and shapes onto the mask.