Polynesian tattoos have been a source of intrigue for many historians as the traditions behind these tattoos are centuries old. They have a very interesting past associated with them, giving them a distinct meaning and design.
Polynesians use two styles in their tattoo designs. The first style is known as Etua which has a religious and spiritual significance. This style also makes use of magical symbols, which are believed to offer protection from the Gods. The second style is called Enata. This style has natural designs which depict a person's social status, identity, occupation, island of origin, and his history. Most Polynesian tattoos symbolize courage, power, achievements, protection, and blessings from the Gods.
Polynesian tattoos come from a type of ancient art that has gained a lot of popularity with Tahitian tattoo designs, particularly Tahitian tribal tattoos. While these Tahitian tattoos are available in a lot of designs that appeal to a wide variety of people, the true tribal Polynesian tattoos were given with a procedure that was long and painful. Therefore, those Tahitian tattoo designs that are available today are reserved for the more modern and less painful method that most tattoo artists use.
The culture of the Polynesian Islands is very distinct and has developed over a long period of time. The inhabitants of the numerous islands came from the same origin, albeit an unknown one, before dispersing across the Pacific Ocean islands. That is the reason for the differences in the designs you will find in a tattoo. Polynesian is not in itself a style but a collection of the different tattoos used from all the different tribes.
Tahitian Polynesian tattoos are those that come from French Polynesia and were traditionally used to signify a high social rank. The only area not covered by the tattoo was the face, this practice extended to both sexes. In fact, women were tattooed two separate times in their lives, once as a little girl and the next when they were sexually developed. These Tahitian tattoos designs were used by a woman who wanted to attract the attention of a man, simply by raising her skirt to reveal the tattoos. Some of the heaviest Tahitian tribal tattoos were worn by the inhabitants of The Marquesa Islands.