Polynesia is a part of the world where observance of traditions is the duty of every person. People there are proud to be who they are and try to protect their traditions and rituals from assimilation. Tattoos are the main point of their culture. All elements in the drawing have a deep context, and each pattern has its symbolism.
If you want to keep up to date with fascinating Polynesian tattoo styles and learn more about this culture, keep reading the article. Also, we have collected the latest Polynesian tattoo designs for your inspiration.
Types of Polynesian tattoos
Polynesia consists of several islands in Oceania. The geographical border of this region is New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island. The world learned about these islands in the 16th century. There live many tribes; the most famous are the Marquesas, Samoans, Niueans, Tongans, Cook Islands, Tahitians, and Maori. All of these tribes are genetically related to indigenous peoples from parts of Southeast Asia.
Each of them has its traditions of tattooing. Check out the most common Polynesian tattoo styles:
- 🌊 Maori tattoo has a recognizable round and spiral pattern. All lines are thin and intricate. They often use negative space as an element of the image. It means that some parts of the drawing are just skin without ink in some shape.
- 🌊 Samoan style is known for its geometrical and symmetric design. The lines are bolder and more repetitive. Men’s tattoos are deeply colored with ink, while the female version is brighter.
- 🌊 Marquesan tattoos combine small details and large black blocks and lines. It is the most asymmetrical tattoo style, and you can see parts with solid black ink.
- 🌊 Hawaiian style is one of the simplest Polynesian tattoos. The main features are flat lines and geometrical elements that are often repeated.
- 🌊 Tahitian tattoos are the most imaginative and have many round elements. This particular tattoo style easily fits into modern drawings because it has a natural and smooth look.
There are also Fijian and Tongan styles, which mix Samoan designs and floral patterns. They are less symmetrical and more creative.
The symbolism of images in Polynesian tattoos
All Polynesian tattoos are not just drawings; they represent something more prominent and significant. From ancient times tattoos tell the story of the owner.
- 🏹 Firstly, it means that the person is a full-grown adult ready to create a family, work, and participate in wars if needed.
- 🏹 Secondly, each tattoo represents the social status of the person belonging to a specific tribe.
- 🏹 Also, it was a way to show your gains, victories, and defeats. The tattoo depicted the whole of your life on the skin.
Besides, the tattoo for Polynesian tribes was one of the forms of protection. Each element has deep meaning and can help you in life. Check out the most famous examples:
- 🐢 The lizard is an amulet for good luck because of its agility.
- 🐢 The turtle is the mystical creature that was the protector of Samoans and the symbol of a long, calm, and happy life for Hawaiians.
- 🐢 The ocean is the primary source of life for tribes. Also, people pass through the ocean in their afterlife when they die. It symbolizes life and death, wisdom, and the world beyond.
- 🐢 Stingray symbolizes protection, friendship, positive energy, and freedom. If you have this animal on your skin, it means that you are a good person that creates personal borders and can protect yourself from injustice.
- 🐢 The shark and its teeth are symbols of bravery, strength, and courage. The teeth protect the owner from evil spirits. Warriors often put on this symbol on their skin.
- 🐢 Spearhead is one more sign for men that shows their power and solidary of body and character.
Great tribal Polynesian tattoo ideas
Although drawings on the skin were prevalent in many ancient cultures, the concept and culture of tattooing came from Polynesian countries. Over time, we have adapted each culture’s images, styles, and locations. But if you want to have a tattoo representing this art’s origin or emphasizing your roots, the Polynesian tattoo is an excellent option. Check out the best tattoo ideas for your skin; from classic Samoan tattoos to modern patterns, you’ll find something that will match your heart.
The ancient religion of Polynesians honored the demigod Tiki, representing ancestors, gods, and priests. In Christianity, he is an analog of Adam. Tiki symbolizes protection, fertility, and guardianship. The tattoo’s main detail is a round face with a tongue out. Most often, it is stuffed on the chest or shoulder.
Polynesian sea creatures
Sea creatures like sharks, turtles, stingrays, and fish are important, meaningful symbols as they can be the totem animals for the owners. Usually, you can see the tremendous detailed patterns in the shape of these animals. The main benefit of this Polynesian tattoo is that you can make it as small as possible.
Waves in Polynesian design
As a representative of the ocean, the wave is one of the common elements in Polynesian patterns. But you can make a tribal tattoo in its shape. It looks great in combination with the image of the wave. Also, you can add a little bit of blue color for the sake of clarity.
For Polynesians, there is no more significant symbol of hospitality than a flower garland around the neck. It consists of beautiful white Tiari flowers. You can incorporate this plant into your tribal design. It is an excellent idea for women to get a Polynesian tattoo. Also, you can make the flower with colored ink or make patterns in the shape of Tiari. Just turn on your imagination and find a tattoo artist who will make any custom design.
Matching tattoos in Polynesian style
The Polynesian tattoo is the perfect design to combine inks for several reasons.
- 👥 Firstly, it is the most original type of drawing.
- 👥 Secondly, it is a universal design. It means that it is suitable for couples, friends, and siblings.
Popular places for such tattoos are fingers, hands, forearms, wrists, and shins. It is better to choose a place that will be visible most of the time to show off your gorgeous Polynesian tattoo.
Hawaii islands tattoo pattern
If you want to add some modernity to Polynesian tattoos, the idea of getting the Hawaii Islands with the pattern is right for you. It looks unique and unexpected. Also, it is a good option if you want to have a tribal pattern in a small size. You can put it on the forearm, trunk, or scapula.
Colored tribal tattoos
Another way to add freshness to your Polynesian tattoo is to make it with several colors. You can mix red, blue, white, and green ink with black. Also, there are many options in watercolored style. Use unusual shapes and colors to combine them into one great drawing.
Polynesian band tattoos
Band tattoo is an effective form of skin art in Polynesia. People put it on their wrists, ankles, shoulders, and arms to protect themselves from evil eyes, lousy luck, spirits, and enemies. Also, it was the representation of connection with gods. There are many designs for these Polynesian tattoos – from small patterns around the wrist to large bands with bold black stripes and many elements. This design suits both men and women.
Sun in tribal design
Sun symbolizes wealth, abundance, leadership, and majesty in Polynesian culture. It is suitable for round designs as the main element. You can add rising sun or sunset, add long rays with patterns or combine it with bold lines. The excellent placement for this Polynesian tattoo is the shoulder, chest, or back.
Small minimalistic Polynesian tattoos
Despite the tradition of getting Polynesian tattoos from top to toe in modern life, you can choose small designs to hide them easily or if you love minimalism in tattooing. You can get tiny patterns on your feet or a little turtle on your leg. The excellent option is to put a lizard, usually tiny and elegant. But you can choose any drawing with patterns as all they are a combination of small meaningful details.
As you can see, a Polynesian tattoo is not just a pattern but a deep, meaningful design with many details. Each element has its meaning and reflects the history of a person’s life. If you have something to brag about in the world, this tattoo is the best option. All these intricate lines and fascinating shapes create an attractive decor for your skin. So what are you waiting for? Start the Polynesian tattoo journey today!
🗺 Can I get the Polynesian tattoo if I’m not from there?
The Polynesian tattoo was a sign of origin and an affiliation to some tribes in ancient times. But now you can choose this pattern even if you are not a Samoan or Maori just because you like it.
⌚️ How long does it take to apply a Polynesian tattoo?
Everything depends on the size and the location. Besides, Polynesian patterns are complicated because of many small details. Usually, two-three hours are necessary to get a medium size tribal tattoo.
🦈 What is the main symbol in a Polynesian tattoo?
Many symbols are essential in Polynesian tattoos, but the shark tooth is the most meaningful. It is an equilateral triangle that means protection, strength, and guidance. This element is present in all tattoo patterns.
🧐 Where is it better to locate the Polynesian tattoo?
You can get the tribal Polynesian tattoo on your arms, chest, shoulders, legs, and even head. As we know, there was a tradition to put tattoos on the whole body to have more protection and show respect to Gods. A large amount of tattoos means your high social status and achievements during life.