Tribal Polynesian Tattoo Designs

Polynesian tattoos - History, Meaning ,Culture, Designs and Cost

Polynesian tattoos

Polynesian tattoos are an ancient art that has received a lot of attention in modern times. Although few of us who are not from the Polynesian islands would be willing to undergo the painful and lengthy procedure that real Polynesian tattoos require, we may be attracted to elements of traditional tribal designs and wish to incorporate them into our own tattoos, using modern methods (the most of us anyway).

Polynesian Tattoos
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Tattoo in Samoan

The people of the Polynesian islands have developed their own culture over hundreds, even thousands of years. Although there are many islands in this area, all the people came from a common homeland, although no one is exactly sure where they may have been, or when they came or how.

Polynesia is a group of islands spread across the Pacific Ocean (over 1000; Polynesia is the Greek word for many islands). The Marquise Islands are probably where the Polynesian people first came and then spread to:

Polynesian Tattoos meaning

  Tribal tattoo warrior

Hawaii Tattoo design

Hawaiian tattoo designs are different from other Polynesian tattoos in that they have a more personal meaning. Hawaiian flowers, turtles and abstract tribes are popular today. Learn more about Hawaiian tattoos
Easter Island (Rapa Nui): The tattoo designs of the inhabitants of Easter Island have a great variety: stylized ships, vaginas, spears, birds, geometric patterns, ... Women and men had a combination of lines and points in bold. her forehead, from one ear to the other. The tattoos made their skin sacred and allowed them to communicate with the gods.
New Zealand: Aotearoa (Maori for New Zealand) is where Maori live. Tattoo art or Ta Moko as they call it, is a very important aspect of their culture. Find out all about Maori tattoos here.

Polynesian Tattoos

polynesian tattoos leg

Samoa Tattoos

Samoa tattoos are generally very large and denote the social status and rank of the man or woman who wears it. In Samoa, the art of tattooing was kept alive throughout history, where in other parts of Polynesia, tattoos disappeared after missionaries banned them.

Tattoos for men are called pe'a. They cover almost half of a man's body, starting just below the rib cage and continuing down to the ankles. Tattoos for women are called malu. They can be as big as male tattoos, but they don't have the big black areas. Samoan women also had tattoos on their hands.

Getting a tattoo in the traditional Samoan way is a real test of endurance. Instead of needles, the skin is pricked with a pig tooth or a shark tooth. Not finishing a tattoo once it starts is a source of shame.

polynesian tattoo with meaning

polynesian tattoo with meaning

Tonga - Tonga's tattoo is similar to Samoa's tattoo.

The Cook Islands: Cook Islands tattoo designs spread all over the body. Each tribe had its own tattoo sign.
French Polynesia (Tahiti): Traditionally, only people of high social rank had tattoos. Tahitian tattoos covered the entire body except the face. Women and men were tattooed. The women were tattooed at a very young age. Later they tattoo again when they reach maturity. When they wanted a man, they showed off their tattoos by lifting their skirts.
The Marquise Islands: A group of islands in French Polynesia with a deep-rooted tattoo tradition. The people of the Marquise Islands were the most tattooed of all the Polynesian tribes.
Several other islands that are now home to different ethnic groups.
Although they are different, there are many cultural similarities. For example, virtually all of these people practice the art of tattooing, and they do it in surprisingly similar ways. Tattoo art was very important in Polynesian culture. Since they had no written language, tattoos were used to represent social status, family history, and spirituality.

polynesian tattoos for females

 polynesian tattoos for females

The reasons for Polynesian tattoos

Here are some of the reasons why Polynesians got tattoos:

  • Tattoos were a symbol of courage. The tattoo process was very painful and it took a lot of perseverance to endure the long tattoo sessions.
  • Getting the first tattoo marks the transition between childhood and Adu*lthood. It is a rite of passage.
  • Tattoos added to a man's appeal.
  • The tattoos offered protection, they were a talisman.
  • Polynesian tattoos read like a book. When looking at a tattoo, connoisseurs know the social status and rank of the tattooed person.

Tiki Tattoo

All Polynesian statues and sculptures representing a human figure are known as Tiki art. The word tiki refers to the mythical ancestor and first human being named ... Tiki. The temples were home to those large wooden Tiki statues, which have tattoo patterns on their hands and face.

Today, the Tiki figure has some popularity as a tattoo design.

polynesian tattoo turtle
polynesian meanings

chest polynesian tattoo

chest polynesian tattoo

Celebrities with a Polynesian tattoo

Dwayne Johnson (aka "The Rock") has a marquesan tattoo on his left shoulder. This tribal tattoo was made in 2003 by the famous Tahitian tattoo artist Po'oino Yrondi (Hawaii).

Celebrities with a Polynesian tattoo

forearm polynesian tattoo

Cost for Polynesian tattoo:

The starting price for a regular tattoo is approximately 15,000xpf (around $ 150 USD). On average, I would say that people spend around $ 350-500 USD for a regular tattoo. Traditional Polynesian Tattoo Prices: The starting price for a traditional tattoo is 60,000xpf (around $ 600 USD).


Tattoos Were Painful - Even Deadly

Not only did these tattoos take a long time to complete, but they were also extremely painful. Depending on the part of the body, the process could be excruciating. It took a lot of courage and endurance and required recuperation between sessions.

Is it disrespectful to get a Polynesian tattoo?
Creating a Polynesian tattoo that tells its own story and being able to say what it represents, shows that you recognize and respect the importance of such a tattoo and therefore do not consider yourself disrespectful. He shows his appreciation and admiration for Polynesian art and culture.

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