51 Samoan, Polynesian TRIBAL TATTOOS | and Meanings


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Polynesian tattoo is a type of ancient art that has a lot of meanings, therefore, it has become a popular choice of enthusiasts. Its delicate designs are based on different meanings associated with the Polynesian culture.

► ► ► Polynesian Tattoo History

Years ago, writing is not eminent in Polynesians. To let people know about each other’s identity and personality, they have used art – Polynesian tattoo was born. Tattoos are more likely indicate a person’s hierarchy status, genealogy, sexual maturity and society status. In 1797, Polynesian tattoos were banned when the missionaries arrived, basing the decision according to the Old Testament. In 1980’s, the ancient art was revived and many have enjoyed going through the procedure. However, due to the lack of knowledge about how diseases can be transferred just by sharing needles (or wooden and bone equipment on their case), the government has banned the procedure once again.

► ► ► What is the meaning behind a Polynesian Tattoo?

Polynesian tattoos are rich in designs that are being joined together to come up with a more meaningful tattoo that could sum up one’s personality, achievements and status. These are:

*) Tiki – a Polynesian semi-God sublimed after being dead, that means protection against probable mishaps.
*) Shells – there are two variations: sea shells and turtle shells. Turtle shells symbolizes fertility, longevity, wellness and peace. Moreover, sea shells symbolizes intimacy and protection.
*) Marquesan Cross – a popular symbol of harmony and balance among elements, Marquesan crosses were derived from turtles.
*) Sun – signifies one’s position on the society, the Sun tattoo means leadership and riches.
*) Ocean – Polynesians believe that when they die, their final destination would be the ocean. It is also used to fill spaces on a tattoo.
*) Shark Teeth – you’ve probably seen a lot of tattoos on the samples above with shark teeth. Also known as “niho mano,” these signify power, ferocity and adaptability. These images also refer to the Polynesian God.
*) Spear Head – usually seen from fighters, it signifies courage and fight.

A Polynesian tattoo is definitely a good choice if you want something tribal. It’s popular, a bit common, but people will surely appreciate it because of its meaning and intricate designs. If you think you are not yet ready to acquire such delicate tattoo design, you can also check out these birds and samurai tattoos.



(Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0)

1) Ethen Meixsell – Vindicated
2) So Lost – MK2
3) Actin Up – MK2
4) Wish You Were Here – Joakim x Dyalla


  1. Hitstick beast says:


  2. Darren Naughton says:

    and meanings!??????

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