Polynesian tattooing is an ancient art form that has been passed down through generations of Polynesian people. The art of tattooing has a deep cultural and spiritual significance in Polynesia, with each tattoo design representing a unique story, belief or tradition.
The History of Polynesian Tattooing
Polynesian tattooing has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The tattoo designs were originally used to identify social status, rank, and even to differentiate between different tribes. In Polynesian culture, tattoos were also believed to provide spiritual protection and ward off evil spirits.
The tattooing process was done manually, using a bone needle and ink made from natural materials, such as soot, charcoal, and plant sap. The tattooing process was extremely painful, and it often took many sessions to complete a full body tattoo. The process was also considered a rite of passage for young Polynesian men, who would often receive their first tattoo when they reached puberty.
The Symbolism of Polynesian Tattoo Designs
Polynesian tattoo designs are incredibly intricate and detailed, with each design having a unique meaning and significance.
Some of the most common Polynesian tattoo designs include:
- Tiki – The tiki is a Polynesian symbol of protection and represents the first man created by the gods.
- Shark Teeth – Shark teeth represent strength, power, and protection.
- Sun – The sun symbolizes prosperity, fertility, and leadership.
- Waves – Waves represent the ocean and are a symbol of life and change.
- Marquesan Cross – The Marquesan cross represents balance, harmony, and unity.
The Significance of Polynesian Tattoos Today
Today, Polynesian tattooing is still an important part of Polynesian culture but has also spread across the world where it is practiced in many tattoo shops creating beautiful designs and structures of this ancient tattoo style.
The traditional tattoo designs have been adapted to modern day tattooing using coil or rotary tattoo machines.
At our Amsterdam Tattoo studio we have our very own Polynesian tattoo artist Leo (aka @allblacktattoo) that specializes in Polynesian, Marquesan and Maori tattooing. Leo draws most of his Polynesian designs directly on the body so that it matches perfectly with the body’s contours thus creating strong and bold Polynesian tattoos that stand the test of time.
To book your appointment with Leo please use our website’s Appointment page and send your request and ideas to him for your next tattoo..