Polynesian Armband Tattoo

armband tattoo

 

Polynesian Armband tattoo

The intricacy and abstract nature of Polynesian armband tattoo armband tattoos has led to their continued popularity for hundreds of years. They are some of the most varied and eye-catching designs available anywhere in the world, and they have such a wide spectrum of meanings that just about anyone can find a tribal armband tattoo that fits with their life.

Tiki

Tiki is a human-like figure that represents Polynesian semi-gods, which means deified ancestors and heads, who are sublimed after their death. According to its guardian role, they mainly symbolize protection. If you love playing pc games, you’ll find that in many lost temples, Tiki patterns are often carved on pillars or stone gate.

Tiki plays a very important role in Polynesian culture. For example, nose symbols mean sniffing danger before its coming. Tiki’s eyes, nose, mouth and side faces are all important design elements and most Polynesian tattoo designs contain one or more tiki symbols.

Sea Shell

In Polynesian tattoo designs, shells are very common in many designs, especially turtle shells. Turtle shell is a symbolization of turtle, which is a very important sea creature in all the cultures of the Polynesian triangle. It has more meanings than other symbols. Some complex turtle designs could have quite a lot of meanings, according to its elements embedded in. Basically, turtle shells symbolize longevity, wellness, fertility, and peace

Shark Teeth

Shark teeth are another fish symbol which is very popular among Polynesian tattoo fans.  Nearly over 50% Polynesian tattoo designs have shark teeth symbols embedded in.

Shark teeth usually represent shelter or coverage, guidance, power, ferocity, adaptability, etc. In Polynesian legend, sharks also represent the god of Polynesian people. It has lots of variations and combinations like the ones showed in the pictures above.

Ocean

Ocean symbols are very common among Polynesian tattoo designs.  Polynesian people regard the ocean as their final destination where they go when passed away. So sometimes the ocean is a symbol of death, or the world beyond.

Polynesian armband tattoo

 

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The Polynesian symbols of spearheads can be found in almost every Polynesian tattoo design. It’s designed to express courage and fight. It’s also used to represent warrior, sharp items, and the sting of animals and rays. Spearheads are usually used in combination with other symbols to express certain meanings.

The Polynesian armband tattoo

Spearheads are usually used in combination with other symbols to express certain meanings.

One thing that is certain is that the term Polynesian or Polynesia incorporates many tribes including Marquesans, Samoans, Niueans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Hawaiians, Tahitians, and Maori. All of these tribes are genetically linked to the indigenous peoples from parts of Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia and in turn, Polynesia are sub-regions of Oceania, comprising of a large grouping of over 1000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean, within a triangle that encompasses New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island as it’s corners.

However, Polynesian languages may actually vary slightly from each other, and in some cases, they actually differ quite significantly. There are some words, which are basically the same throughout all Polynesian languages, reflecting the deepest core of all Polynesian cultures. Moana (ocean) and mana (spiritual force and energy) are two terms that transcend all Polynesian cultures.

Moana (ocean) and mana (spiritual force and energy) are two terms that transcend all Polynesian cultures.

The Origins of Tattoo Art in Polynesia

Historically there was no writing in the Polynesian culture so the Polynesian’s used tattoo art that was full of distinctive signs to express their identity and personality. Tattoos would indicate status in a hierarchical society as well as sexual maturity, genealogy and ones rank within the society. Nearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society was tattooed.

Tattoos would indicate status in a hierarchical society as well as sexual maturity, genealogy and ones rank within the society. Nearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society was tattooed.

The Polynesian islands that were first visited were the Marquesas Islands, which were found by European explorers and the Spanish navigator, Alvaro de Mendana de Neira, in 1595. However, the European navigators showed little interest due to the lack of valuable resources.

Captain James Cook (as mentioned in our comprehensive guide to Maori tattooing) was the first navigator trying to explore the aforementioned Polynesian triangle.

In 1771, when James Cook first returned to Tahiti and New Zealand from his first voyage, the word “tattoo” appeared in Europe.

He narrated the behaviors of the Polynesian people in his voyage, which he called tattaw. He also brought a Tahitian named Ma’i to Europe and since then tattoo started to become rapidly famous, predominantly because of the tattoos of Ma’i.

Another legend is that European sailors liked the Polynesian tattoos. So much that they spread extremely fast in Europe because the sailors emblazoned the tattoos on their own bodies.

The actual tradition of Polynesian tattooing existed more than 2000 years ago. However, in the 18th century the Old Testament strictly banned the operation.

Since it’s renaissance in the 1980s, many lost arts were revived. But it became very difficult to sterilize the wooden and bone tools. That were used for the tattooing process so the Ministry of Health banned tattooing in French Polynesia in 1986.

The revival of the art and practice of tattooing, particularly in Tonga in recent years. Is predominantly referred to as a result of the work of scholars, researchers, visual artists and tattoo artists.