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Polynesian Tattooing – Fascinating Ink Lovers Over Centuries

Among all forms of body modification that modern-day individuals from all across the globe are investing in, tattooing has acquired maximum recognition. Besides effectually rejuvenating outer appearance, it can also act as a means for expressing suppressed emotions, rebelling against society’s age-old concepts, highlighting significant aspects of character, and honouring deceased family member or friend. If you have been planning to undertake this particular procedure, choose a style with caution.

Polynesian tattoos are quite fascinating and date back to approximately 2000 years ago. However, during the eighteenth century, diverse books of Old Testament strictly forbidden this operation. It was revived along with several other artworks owing to Renaissance Movement. For details, consider going through given discussion right now.


  • Enata Singular-

Human figures, also known as enata in Marquesan language, when drawn upside down symbolises defeated enemies, and otherwise close relationships.

  • Enata Patterned-

Enata patterned could be loosely defined as a motif where several men and women are shown holding hands in a semi-circulation formation. They are thought to be ancestors protecting their descendants.

  • Shark Teeth-

Shark teeth or niho mano exude a wide range of masculine traits, namely guidance, strength, courage, domination, aggression, etc. In diverse cultures, it represents adaptability.

  • Ocean-

The ocean is believed to be another home for Polynesian people, and resting place when going for their last voyage. Thus, it represents death. Ocean can also stand for life because we all know that it houses varied aquatic creatures.

  • Spearhead-

One of the best ways to depict warrior nature is by carving spearhead. It can be closely associated with other sharper tools used during hunting or battle. People can customise this motif as per their requirements and expectations.

  • Tiki-

Tiki is noted for symbolising semi-gods and goddesses, who usually appear before men in the form of animals. Apart from successfully playing the role of divine guardians, it also means fertility and fortification.

  • Turtle-

Turtle or honu is immensely significant in Polynesia and treasure profound connotations. For example, it encompasses activities such as stitching or joining, hence, stand for the notion of unity.

  • Stingray-

Stingrays are capable of hiding deep inside water and lay still whenever any predator approaches. It symbolises various other themes such as agility, speed, safety, peacefulness, gracefulness, adaptation, and stealth.

  • Lizard-

Lizard and gecko have an important part in Polynesian folklore. Gods and other heavenly spirits often try communicating with human beings in the form of this reptile. They tend to bring bad luck for disrespectful people.


  • Higher Trunk-

The higher trunk is the area between chest and navel. It is related to integrity, reconciliation, generosity, and sincerity. Higher trunk also establishes stability between Rangi, other name for Heaven, and Papa, other name for Earth.

  • Head-

Head is known for being close to Rangi; thus, depict themes like knowledge, spirituality, intuition, and wisdom. Tattooing head is an extremely risky endeavour. Thus, no studio allows it.

  • Lower Trunk-

The lower trunk could be loosely defined as the area running from thighs to the navel. It is directly associated with energy, power, bravery, sexuality, freedom, and procreation. Thighs especially show strong bonds of marital relationships.

Few other locations you can try include shoulder and upper arm, lower arm and hand, joints, and leg and feet.

In ancient times, completing Polynesian tattoos took almost three to four months, but at present, talented artists can etch designs stated above on any body part within a very short period. Being aware of certain aftercare tips is also mandatory.

To reduce inflammation and pain, you must wash affected area with a mild cleanser, apply coconut oil or medicated lotion, avoid picking on scabs under all circumstances, not venture out in the sun, stay away from swimming pools, reduce smoking as well as drinking liquor, etc.

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