Polynesian Tattoos - Unique Symbolism

Polynesian Tattoos – Unique Symbolism

The Polynesian tattoos along with Maori are designs that include both tradition and culture and beliefs of these people.

Broadly speaking, we can say that Polynesian tattoos are more than an image captured on the skin. Without a doubt, each tattoo already symbolizes us much more, but in this case, it goes further. We can say that in addition to being an art, it symbolizes all the steps and stages of life, and spiritual ideas are reflected in them. On the other hand, some of the symbols of this type of tattoo were a means of protection that everyone had to wear.

In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most widespread and popular tattoos that people use to get inked. It is about Polynesian tattoos that together with Celtic tattoos and others make up the group of tribal tattoos. In the following sections, we will see what its origin and meaning is so that you can better opt for your symbol.

Polynesian Tattoos And Their Origins & Characteristics

Most probably that many of the people already know that these tattoos were invented in Polynesia, which is an island located in the Pacific Ocean and is in a triangle formed by the islands of New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island. Furthermore, the very name of Polynesia means a set of islands and the clans that inhabited these islands had very different habits and beliefs. However, one of the habits they share is tattooing in general, but they use it for different purposes.

One of the most appealing things to the people of Polynesia is that tattooing is not an art or decoration that needs to be awakened, but a way of life. This is why Polynesian tattoos say a lot about family, history, spiritual beliefs and the social class to which they belong. In addition, these tattoos can be considered the end of one stage of life and the beginning of the second stage. Thus, for Polynesian tattoos, tattoos are also a symbol of the transition from childhood to adolescence.

The Most Popular Polynesian Tattoos

In addition, the traditional form of Polynesian tattoos is very agonizing and that is why it is also related to bravery. On the other hand, the warriors who had a greater number of tattoos are considered the bravest. Among the Polynesian tattoos, you can find many types but in this article, we will focus on 2 that are the most used ones.



The Etua tattoo has a great religious load and in some way spiritual, since it is made up of symbols that are considered supernatural. We can say that these symbols protect man from the power of the gods.



However, the Polynesian Enata tattoo is related to nature and takes on these forms and symbols. These symbols are used to describe the person, to identify his history, his social position, etc. Furthermore, in the group of these tattoos, you can find many animals and shapes of animal teeth. From the birth of a baby to the marriage, this type of tattoo is commonly used.

One of the animals that are often seen hidden in Polynesian tattoo designs is turtles. These represent life and longevity since turtles are animals that live for many years. The turtle symbolizes life but at the same time, brotherhood. That is why we can enjoy many occasions with it in a varied set of designs. However, getting such tattoos on your body requires an expert artistic approach. Count on an online tattoo design creator is mandatory.

Polynesian Tattoos In Today’s world

Polynesian tattoos today have a mysterious connotation that comes from their origin. Plus, there are a lot of unknowns about them. However, people show a clear trend towards Polynesian tattoos. In many of the Polynesian tattoos, you can see triangles that can be filled with paint. You can also see them with a downward and upward orientation. In both cases, these symbols reflect the shark’s teeth, which are identified with strength and protection.

On the other hand, the area of the body in which the tattoo appears also carries a meaning that when mixed with the symbols can be read. In this way, the tattoos that are made on the shoulders and on the upper part of the arms reflect strength and courage. The reason is that they are related to the warriors who made them in this part of the body.

What Tattoo Expresses Wealth?

Apart from that, tattoos that have marine symbols, such as animals or shells are related to wealth and abundance. All of these Polynesian tattoos are related to the person who wears them. In this way, a tattoo with these symbols means that the person who wears them will have a lot of wealth. In contrast, Polynesian arm tattoos on the lower part or on the hands are related to creativity. The reason for this relationship comes from the function of the hands.

Moreover, tattoos that span the shoulders and part of the chest or the entire chest also have a meaning. In this way, the tattoos that appear on this part of the body, including the upper trunk, are associated with sincerity, honour and joy. In these cases, the tattoos are close to the heart and in some way also to the goodness and everything that is within it.

Other Types Of Polynesian Tattoos And Their Meanings

You may see lizards in many of these tattoos. In Polynesian culture, they were feared because if they saw a green lizard laugh they considered it a bad omen. The reason that it was linked to illness and misfortune. However, these lizards got tattooed because they also thought they had supernatural powers.

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