The Origin Of Hawaiian Tribal Tattoos

Published: 14th October 2009
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The Hawaiian Islands are the largest part of the Polynesian Islands which consists of tribal clans like Maori and Samoan. Modern tribal tattoos are based on the traditional Polynesian tattoo art which is a combination of Hawaiian cultures and tribal traditions. Hawaiian tribal tattoos today show the emergence of the traditional "Tiki" cultures of Hawaii.

The Hawaiian tribal uses the color black which is mixture of kukui nuts and sugarcane juice. In the older days tattoo was done through the use of sharp parts of animals like claws and beaks of birds as no modern tattooing machine was available. Hawaiian tribal tattoos known as Kakau were practiced for a variety of reasons.

It was either said to be a symbol of mourning. Sometimes people used tattoos to even get protection from evil souls. Again Polynesian tattoos were even used for personal identification. Hawaiian tribal tattoos represent a form of celebrating the right of passage.

Hawaiian tribal tattoo designs are large and bold, comprising of dolphins, flowers, arrows, lizards and even sea turtles. Hawaiian tattoos use abstracts or specific designs which is based on the history of various Hawaiian Islands. Like if you are looking for protection then you can incorporate sharks teeth in your design.

If you want a human design then you need to go for tiki style of tattooing. If you want your tattoo to represent wealth then go for the shell design which is counted as a form of currency in Hawaii. These tattoos are usually carved on arms and legs which is popularly known as the Hawaiian Band tattoos. Facial tattoos were a common tradition when it came to Hawaiian tattoos. Traditional ones on women were usually found on their lips, tongue, hands and even wrists.

The most popular and appreciated design is the tiki, the turtle, the gecko, the shark, the dolphin and the ray. Since Hawaiians love nature, water and marine life most Hawaiian tribal tattoos are related to these things only. You have shark tattoos which are believed to provide protection and even tropical birds and tiki mask tattoos which are very popular.


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