Polynesian symbolism, tattoos from the southsea and native marquesian culture

 polynesian tattoo, tattoo designs, meanings and their origin



Schema  |  Handcraft  |  Religion  |  Nature 




Origin of these patterns and ornaments of Marquesan tattooart is the god Tiki respectively idols of Tiki. There was a process in which these sculptures were formed into linear sturctures, so that a lot of new possible motives were generated. If we look at a linear stylized tikifigure, weíll immediately notice some relations to Marquesian tattoopatterns.


Matahoata, Papua and Kake are easy to find in this stylized tikifigure or at least we can understand their relations. But this is just on small part of possible tikivariations.
Below these variations will be called Etua, what means god or divine. This nomenclature was chosen because all depictions of ancestors and not only the ones of the god Tiki are divine so it can be used synonymously.

Etuavariations can be classified into two types: Standing manikins and sitting manikins. The standing ones have got horizontal thighs and their buttom is in the same height like their knees, so that there is a gap between their legs.
Sitting manikins donít raise their torso. The bottum touches the ground and their thighs pulled up, so that their knees are lifted up. In a lot of illustrations the joints are bent extremly sometimes even into the opposite direction.


The variations reach from easy reconstructable motives, like these ones you can see here to stickmen, one can hardly identify as manikins. And these little stickmen can form several new variations themselves.




One example for a row of standing etuavariations is the pattern called enata (translation: man). This pattern shows a close connection to the chesspatterns from handcraft, discussed earlier. So you can see that a distinction isnít easy in all cases.

Another row is called kena. Kena is the name of a Marquesian hero in several sagas. Except of the first stickman, the others can be hardly identified as manikins. The figure was reduced to a depiction of torso, cervix and head, which is just implied.

The vatiations of sitting manikins create several patterns, which we can also find in the interactive schema of Maruesian tattoos. In the middle there is a pattern called kea and next to it there is another modification called pohu. One step further a variation of pohu becomes aniata.

You can see that there are a lot of possible variations with divine origin. This is moreover the explanation for the huge diversity of Marquesian tattooart. The most important patterns you can find in my interactive schema, too.




















contact | disclaimer



Polynesian tatou, lots of examples and explanations