Polynesian tattoos can be categorized in one specific section, tribal tattoos. The Polynesian tattoo realm has been a highly popular one indeed and for centuries at that. Once you feast your eyes on the beauty and the vibrant colors of these island tattoos, you will easily see what all the fuss is about.
A Thousand Pacific Islands
Polynesia is actually a group of approximately a thousand islands, situated in the Pacific Ocean. Extremely colorful body art is very common to all the islands of Polynesia, however, the style of tattoo designs and patterns are distinct to each of the island. It will become clearer to you once you have read through the history of the Polynesian tattoo found below.
Polynesian Tattoo History
When the art of Polynesian tattoos began, it was considered a ‘pious and sacred’ art. Hence, there were a lot of rituals and practices that were attached to these types of inking in the islands. A person who wanted to wear a tattoo had to follow a strict format as well as a lot of spiritually inclined rituals.
Strike Twice and Hard!
Tattoo meant ‘strike twice’ in early man, which is very different from what tattoo means today. Unlike today, the ancient equipment used to make the tattoo then, were turtle shells, bamboos, and bird bones. The entire process of tattoo making was given significant amount of importance and was usually accompanied by song and majestic, meaningful dance. These early tattoos took a long time to heal, but people got them made anyway, as they symbolized courage, valor and power. Tattoos were created to display a person’s rank and standing in the tribal society.
Now that you have a brief and rather loose history of the tattoos of Polynesia, it is time to get to the ‘heart of the topic’ and see what are some of the most popular tattoos of these tribal peoples and today.
Sharks and Shark Teeth
Since sharks are found in the Pacific Ocean and Polynesia is in the middle of this expansive, beautiful, blue water, then it only makes sense that sharks and their teeth are prominent in the tattoos of Polynesians. As a common topic and design for Polynesian tattoos, sharks were considered as sacred and powerful creatures. Sharks symbolized protection and in today’s tattoos, are still one of the most popular forms of body art.