Pacific Island Tattoos; Moko Style and Hawaiian Tattoos; Tattoo Ideas, History, Tattoo Meanings Men And Women

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Pacific Island Tattoos And Associations




Pacific Island tattoo designs have origins throughout the world, including Europe. Pacific tattoo designs, Hawaiian tattoo designs, and Moko tattoos all are associated to the Pacific theme. History tells us that Pacific body art also influenced European body art as well. Early explorations of the Pacific Islands influenced Western art and tattooing. It also influenced Polynesian tattooing as well. Polynesian tattooing was viewed as being honorable and justified. There is no doubt that Polynesian and Pacific tattooing influenced this art in Europe. This art is found in the Marquesian Islands, New Zealand, Hawaii, Samoa, The Cook Islands, French Polynesian, Tahiti, Easter Island, and Tonga. The Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia are also included in this area. Polynesian tattoos and Pacific tattoos all transpired from earlier tattooing methods from the Pacific. All of these tattooing styles could be classified as tribal tattoos.









Polynesia is a group of a thousand islands that are located in the Pacific Ocean. Body art and tribal tattooing were a way of life in the past and it is still practiced today in many areas of this location. Each island and location uses their own distinct designs and patterns when it comes to tattoos. Pacific tattoos and Polynesian tattoos have become very popular today and both have inspired many tattoo designs seen today.






When we look at the history of Polynesian body art and tattoos, we see that their tattoos and body art had deep symbolic meaning. They were given certain tattoos to mark their journey through life. To the Polynesians, body art and tattooing are sacred rituals. Once a young man entered his 12th year of life, he would be able to begin getting tattoos. Specific marks defined his travel from being a young boy to becoming a man. With each achievement that is made, the person would received more tattooing. These tattoos would mark your rank in the tribe. The more tattoos you would have, the more respect you would have in the tribe. These same tattooing rituals have inspired Pacific tattoo designs and Polynesian tattoo designs seen today.









Women were also subject to tattoos in these Polynesian tribes. The only difference between men and women was that the women did not get tattoos all over their body. They received tattoos on their arms, lips, hands, chin, and arms. Most of the tattoos that were done at this age in time were simple designs, but these tattoos had deep cultural significance to their tribes. Today, in retrospect of modern day tattoos, not many women get Pacific tattoos, Polynesian tattoos, or tribal tattoos in general. However, in these same locations, women still wear the Pacific tattoo proudly.










When it comes to Polynesian tattoo styles or Pacific tattoo styles, there are mainly just two. They are called Etva and Enata. Etva is a style that has a strong spiritual meaning and religious purpose assigned to it. Magical symbols are used and associated with this style. It is said that these symbols offer protection from the Gods. The Enata style has more natural design attached ot it. These tattoo designs mark a person's social identity, origin of birth (specific island), work or occupation, and their specific path in history. Most Polynesian tattoos are sacred and honorary to all tribe members. At this age and time, the Pacific style doesn't hold such importance as it did in the past, however, within some tribes it still does.

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POLYNESIAN TATTOO MEANINGS

  • GECKO- Geckos are believed to hold supernatural powers. It was thought to bring back luck and bad omen. It was feared by most Polynesians. It is said to bring on illness.
  • SHARK/SHARK TEETH- These types are common in the Pacific. It is said to hold powerful and sacred meaning. It symbolizes protection, protection against enemies.
  • TURTLES- Turtles are common creatures to the Pacific. They are also well known for their life span also. The turtle symbolizes fertility and a long life, healthy.
  • SHELLS- Sea shells are also common to the Pacific. It symbolizes chance. It also is thought to be a form of payment in the past among Polynesians. It symbols prosperity and wealth.
  • TIKI- It originates from Tiki art and the Tiki Gods. This art is in the form of a carved human or statue. The Tiki is a mythical creature among the Polynesian. Tiki tattoo designs are a popular choice for Hawaiians.





MOKO STYLE

The Moko Style was part of the Maori Tribe. They believed that the head was the most sacred part of the body. All Maori that were highly ranked had tattoos. Tattooing was part of rituals for the Maori. Important events during a person's life can be tattooed on a tribe member's face. the more ink that is wore, the higher the rank. They were also believed to attract women as well. Maori tattoo designs have inspired a variety of different tattooing styles for centuries.

The Maori would use a bone chisel with a sharp straight edge. Deep cuts were made and then a chisel was dipped into a soot pigment. It was then tapped into the tattoo was eventually done. This was an extremely painful and long process for anyone to go through. These tattoos would be planned out prior to the event, such as it is usually done today. Women of the Maori were not subject to the extreme tattooing as men were, but they did get tattoos as well. The lips, nostrils, and chin were common areas for women to be marked.




HAWAIIAN STYLES

Ancient Hawaiians also tattooed their bodies just like Polynesian groups did. Both men and women were tattooed with black ink that often covered most of their body. Native warriors and tribes were among them. Hawaiian tattoo designs can include Pacific symbols and elements.

Most Hawaiian tattooes today feature a wide variety of colors, although traditional tattooes with black ink can be found and are not uncommon. They also feature a wide variety of Polynesian styles and designs. Today, these tattoos are very colorful. Hawaiian flowers, Pacific flowers, Tiki designs, tribal designs, and landscapes are all popular designs.You can also find volcano designs and rain/fire designs. In Hawaii, the Tiki design is popular. It is also popular among all Pacific tattoos. In Hawaii, Kakau means tattoo. "Mana" is spiritual nature.

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Comments 31 comments

learntolive profile image

learntolive 5 years ago

Again, great hub. Very informative! Voted up :)


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Fascinating history on these tattoos Ricky, they certainly are works of art.

Another great interesting hub, voting up, useful and interesting, best wishes MM


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Wow, these are creations of art. That second one is magnificent and I would love to see it in person. So tell us lyric, how many tattoos do you have and what kind are they? Your must be so cool with your knowledge of the art.


5 years ago

thelyricwriter:

Voted up. Interesting hub; I think on these hubs you've already done quite a few of them on tattoos, and their various designs, right.

Hyphenbird: Tattoos seem to be a subject that really interests you, too, I think, from your various comments.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hi f. They really do interest me. Sine they are permanent, I like to know why people choose the ones they do. The art of them also is beautiful. Those designers are under recongized in the art world.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub with a lot of fascinating facts and photos. It's interesting that it was so engrained into the Polynesian tribe cultures and was also used as a recognition of status.

I liked the lady's aloha foot tatto the best.

Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.


mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida

Wow! You really had to do a lot of research in order to write this Hub. You have some beautiful photos here. I voted it UP, etc.etc. Good Hub!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Learntolive, thanks again for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving. It is official, well, here in WV. Thanks for everything.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

MM, thank you so much for coming by and commenting on this article. As always, I appreciate your time, comment, and votes my dear. Talk to you later.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Hyphenbird, thanks for coming by and for the comment. I always appreciate your visits. I do have some, 3 actually. Before I chose my design, I studied all the different styles. I have a tribal band around my wrist. I have a lion that stands for "strength". I also have a rose and cross with my kids names and my wife and I. I am a great writer and I have been practicing tattooing lately. Just keeping my options open. I appreciate you asking though.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

F, thanks for coming by and I appreciate your visits. You are absolutely right. I have 4 of them now. If I can ever get a camera, I hope to post what I have done and a few great tats I have seen. Appreciate you and take care. Thanks for your expertise as well.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

HBN, thanks for coming by and hope all is well. I really like this style, especially the Hawaiian style. Thanks for coming by and catch you later.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Thanks for coming by Mary and for your comment. I am glad you enjoyed the pics. Hope everything is good friend. I shall see you soon and take care.


5 years ago

To thelyricwriter: 'F, thanks for coming by and I appreciate your visits. You are absolutely right. I have 4 of them now. If I can ever get a camera, I hope to post what I have done and a few great tats I have seen. Appreciate you and take care. Thanks for your expertise as well.' Yes, I have read various of them. Often what makes a hubpage striking is the combination of informative commentary and clear, memorable photos. Which of course with your subject matter for a number of them being tattoos, it makes for expressive potential.

To Hyphenbird: "Hi f. They really do interest me. Sine they are permanent, I like to know why people choose the ones they do. The art of them also is beautiful. Those designers are under recongized in the art world." I guess it's in two aspects: being really interested as an observer, and then being really interested as a participant; and the transition from one to the other can be quite a potent milestone for some ppl.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Love those tattoos. Whatever happened to the hula girl tattoo? You know the ones you see on those big guys bellies which looks like she's dancing when they walk.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Wow, these should be displayed in an art museum! When I had my fashion business, I often hired folks to be "living billboards" and these folks could certainly qualify for "living art displays." I really had no idea of the depth and breadth of what a tattoo "artist" could create until I started reading your hubs. I agree with you that these artisans do not get the recognition that they deserve as these are truly beautiful art forms. I voted this up and shared it with my niece who is tattoo crazy :)


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Thanks for the education. Living in Hawaii, I now I have a little better understnding of what is behind all the "illustrated men and women" around here. Great photography and narrative, TLW!

Cred2


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Gypsy, thanks for coming by and for your comment my friend. I hope all is well. Take care and I will see you soon.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Donna, thank you so much for coming by and I appreciate your time, votes, and comment. Your absoluetly right. When you pay close attention to the tattoo and the design, this is art on the body, true body art. Tattoo artist really do deserve credit for their astonishing work. Great point and interesting Donna.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Credence2, thanks for coming by and adding to the hub. Yes, tattooing is highly seeked and thought of in Hawaii and these tattoos really mean a lot to the Natives there. It has deep spiritual and cultural meaning.


Ana Teixeira profile image

Ana Teixeira 5 years ago from Oporto, Porto, Portugal

those are some incredible tattoos.... really beautiful.. true works of art


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia Author

Ana, thanks for coming by and for your time. This group of tattoos are a great grouping to show the true Pacific Island design and styles. Best wishes.


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Lyric - impressive!!!

I loved the information, the photos and the vid you included was GREAT!!

I cringed the whole time I watched it, and kept thinking it looked intriguing, but ... dang!!! OUCH!!!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia Author

Femme, thanks for coming by and for the comment my dear. I am glad you enjoyed this article and I appreciate the praise my dear. LOL, it looks worse then it really is:)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Some very impressive tattoos. Are they able to create colored tattoos in the traditional style? Or do they have to switch to modern methods for that? Voting this Up and Beautiful.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia Author

Alocsin, thanks for coming by and for the vote and comment. They are able, but in order for them to be traditional, they have to be solid black. Doesn't mean that you couldn't get a traditional design in color though.


Jayson Mirasol profile image

Jayson Mirasol 3 years ago from Kota Kinabalu

I am more into tribal tattoos and you have written a nice hub about tattoos, have you looked into Borneo tattoos?


Laura 3 years ago

Really helpful information, this tattoo culture is beautiful.

P.s- Spelling error second paragraph: "Polynesia is a group of a thousand --idlands-- that are located in the..."


marestanko profile image

marestanko 3 years ago

wow, no word, this is super... :)


jawsky 3 years ago

if ART is a crime may God forgive me......good jobbb...


Brittany Kussman profile image

Brittany Kussman 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Very informative! I enjoyed reading about the different tribal tattoos and how sacred they were to each tribe. It's interesting to see where the birth of tattoos came from and to look now at what they have become. Great hub!

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