Tiki is 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. Tiki’s organs are often separately drawn to represent different meanings. 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.
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 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 is another fish symbol which is very popular among Polynesian tattoo fans. Nearly over 50% Polynesian tattoo designs have shark teeth symbols embedded in. It’s also called “niho mano” in Polynesian language.
Shark teeth usually represents 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 symbols are very common among Polynesian tattoo designs. They are usually used to not only express specific meanings but also fill some blank blocks in order to shape complete patterns. 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. Besides, the ocean is also regarded as their source of food and can represent life, fertility and persistence. Ocean waves are used to symbolize the other world beyond too, which is a homeland where all ancestors live, where they’ll eventually be. The picture above shows its basic pattern and variations and a few application samples will listed below.