Polynesian symbolism, tattoos from the southsea and native marquesian culture

 polynesian tattoo, tattoo designs, meanings and their origin


 

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Polynesian tattoomeanings

The social significance of tattoos and the origin of their patterns have been explained very detailed. But the tattoos should also transport special meanings. Many of these meanings were implied in the previous texts. Lots of them you can find in the interactive schema but I want to discuss some more patterns more explicit.
Independent of the protective value, which is connected with some tattoos (see: reasons_magical protection) a lot of motives have got special meanings.

pepehipu  niho-peata  etua/kea/hope-vehine 
kake ipu  te-vehine-náu  paaniho  hiku-atu
a click onto the X leads you back to top

more research-tips for your own tattoo

To get more information concerning meanings, creation of own designs or questions about some tattoosymbols I'd like to recommend this Online-Directory about traditional Polynesian Tattoos. This encyclopaedia is updated often and provides a very close look to Polynesian ornaments and symbols.

Tribal Tattoo Meanings-Online Dictionairy
practical handbook to choose your own symbols and
make sure you put the right motifs that represent you.

pepehipu X

The social significance of tattoos and the origin of their patterns have been explained very detailed. But the tattoos should also transport special meanings. Many of these meanings were implied in the previous texts. Lots of them you can find in the interactive schema but I want to discuss some more patterns more explicit.
Independent of the protective value, which is connected with some tattoos (see: reasons_magical protection) a lot of motives have got special meanings.

niho-peata X

These sharkteeth are on the one hand a symbol for the shark huntig of the Marquesians. On the other hand it emblematises sacrifice and dadication for one’s family.

etua/kea/hope-vehine X

These Motives, which somehow remind of the human appearance, have one meaning. Analogy to humans does always symbolise analogy to ancestors and consequently to divinity. That’s why the meaning of this pattern is always divinity or means to be equipped with exceptional skills.

kake X

The upward bow, which based on the tikiarm, is a symbol for divinity, too. Often this motive was a previlege of chiefs and princesses. Special skills that were accredited to the chiefs were: the ability to feed ohters and to let them procreate.

ipu X

This one bases on a cup and symbolises reciprocity and exchange. Probably the reason is, that meals were always and cooked and eaten together. In a broader sense the ipu can also be seen as a symbol for service and trade.

 

 

te-vehine-náu X

This ornament is constructed in a row, too. The translation is ‘my girl’. Usually it is a chessline in two rows that could be found around neck, arms or legs. It’s a symbol for being in love, whereas the pairs of white and black rectangles show the interaction of love.

paaniho X

This row means verbal ‚gums’, whereupon the part paa can also be translated with barrier. This row often was tattoed at the end of the extremities around the legs or fingers. So the pattern is a barrier that protects hands and feet from all types of dangerous contacts.

hiku-atu X

This pattern is a modification of the niho-peata and it got ist name from the bonito (atu = scomber pelamys). The tuna was supposed to be a predator on the Marquesian islands and was adored in a strong way. That’s why this tattoo symbolises all good attributes that are attributed to the bonito – effiency and agility. Thus the tattoo is a sign for the skillfullness of the persons, who got it – if they were warriors it shows skills at hunting enemies, if they were fishermen it shows skills at hunting the prey.

 

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http://www.tiki-styles.de
Polynesian tatou, lots of examples and explanations