Polynesian tattoos have much significance and have been accepted as an important part of their culture for millennium and was in practice long before any Europeans ever showed up on their doorstep. The Polynesian’s skill with tattooing is an ancient art form that was even more intricate than art work that is done today, and they didn’t have the benefit of electric needles.
Polynesian tattoos evolved throughout the history of their culture, becoming incredibly elaborate with designs of extremely intricate and detailed geometric fashion. These art works would be renewed as well as expanded upon throughout the life of the individual with the purpose of covering the entire body.
The Island of Tonga as well as Samoa saw the act of tattooing as something more than just simple drawing and refined it into an art form. In Tonga the warriors would be tattooed from the knee to the waist with designs of geometric patterns from triangles and bands to solid black panels. These designs would be performed by a priest that had gone through intense training. These priests would adhere to strict rituals while performing the tattooing; for in Tonga tattoos were of vast cultural importance and significance.
In ancient Samoa the onset of tattooing was used as a way to pay tribute to the gods and to their ancestors. Polynesian tattoos also played a huge role in their religion in the form of a ritual and as a rites of passage, along with being used by their warriors in the course of warfare. The skills of the tattoo artists were hereditary and handed down from generation to generation.
This ancient tattoo artist also had much distinction and was highly regarded position within the tribe. It was common during ritualistic ceremonies to have the tattoo artist perform his ritual; or tattoo as many as eight young men at one time. These ceremonies were a rite of passage into manhood and would be viewed by family and friends. A Polynesian warrior would receive a tattoo that spanned from the waist and extended to below the knee.
The women in the Samoan culture were also tattooed but not in the same way as the men. The Samoan women were limited by tattoos that looked very delicate. They were geometrical designs but in the shape of flowers. The women would be tattooed strictly on the hands as well as the lower portions of her body.
It would be interesting to note that around 200 A.D. that explorers from Samoa, as well as neighboring Island, Tonga settled in the Marquesas island grouping. It is here that over the course of one thousand years that one of, if not “the”, most highly developed and complex Polynesian cultures was born, bringing with it the now popular Polynesian tattoos.
The art of the Marquesan culture included not only tattooing but architecture, which was far more advanced than their predecessors. The art of the tattoo changed somewhat as well, seeing the culture develop to a point where the majority of the body was covered in tattoos and not just any tattoo. These tattoos were probably the most elaborate and extensive tattoos in the history of the Polynesian culture. Even by today’s standards, Polynesian tattoos and Polynesian designs are considered extremely elaborate.
Within European records, date books and logs from vessels dating back as far as 1769 are excerpts talking about the people of the Polynesian culture. The Polynesian people had settled and colonized most of the island that were able to be inhabited by 1,000 AD, that were off of the eastern coast of Samoa.
These log books would go on to describe all of the things that we now know and enjoy studying about the Polynesian culture and society including their languages as well as multiple dialects, their myths and legends, their art work and architecture as well as their rituals and beliefs.
The art of tattooing was still heavily in practice and this had fascinated the Europeans more than anything else. It was not until the books written by Captain Cook’s naturalist, Joseph Banks, that the practice was described in great detail.
The Polynesian tattoos were always applied by hand and, even to this day, is still applied that way by the elders of the tribe. In the early days of tattooing, the Polynesian Islands saw it as a way to define status and title in a descending order, from the highest to the lowest position within their tribe.
Young chiefs were often tattooed at very early ages and nearly always around the onset of puberty. These ceremonies were a means to celebrate ascension into the role of a leader and the markings by the artist would forever resonate for as long as the recipient would live.
We owe much of today’s tattoo designs and skills to the great people of Polynesia because we would not have as much of the intricate tattooo art designs today, that we have, if it were not for them. We are now just beginning to commemorate that fact by “going tribal” with classic geometric designs found in the culture that started it all.
How To Remove Tattoos
Many thousands of people get tattoos every year and a whole lot of them choose to have them removed. Having a little perspective is always important, and as you can see the history of tattoos is quite extensive.
We always ask that our visitors not to make any rapid decisions. Investigate and study your tattoo removal options.
Please do not jump on the first method of tattoo removal that you come across. There are other tattoo removal methods available, and with the right research and attention to your individual preferences, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right method, whether it be Salabrasion, Laser Removal, TCA, Glycolic Acid, Chemical Extraction or any of the other various methods that we cover for you.
Click here to find all the necessary information to help you make that important decision that is “right for you”.