Hawaiian Tribal Tattoos are considered a blend of today’s popular tribal designs blended with traditional Hawaiian symbolism. The two styles absolutely complemented each other and created this new style.
Some information about Hawaiian tribal tattoos and symbolism will help if you’re planning a custom design with your tattoo artist. Popular symbols of Hawaii are mostly of Hawaiian Gods in the form of a tiki or the animal form. Animal forms include, turtles, dolphins, flowers, geckos, sharks, owls, and hawks. Flowers are pretty much restricted to the Hibiscus.
In keeping with the Polynesian style tattoos, the ancient Hawaiian tribal tattoos were geometric in design, using triangles, squares and rectangles. It was the resurgence in recent decades of native pride that has contributed to the evolvement of the ancient Hawaiian tribal tattoos to include, masks, tikis, flowers, and animals believed to represent certain gods in the tribal design. You can almost imagine your custom designed tattoo as being designed with symbols you’ve chosen, and then create it using those shapes or variations of those shapes.
Tiki God of War – “Ku” is much more than the Tiki God of War. If you are looking for some symbolism in your Hawaiian tribal tattoo, Ku presents some fabulous opportunities. Ku is considered the father of all ancient native Hawaiians. Together with his wife, Hina, they have created all mankind. Ku therefore is the symbolization of man and his ability to create. Ku doesn’t act alone though, he needs Hina to produce the creation. These gods are highly respected in the Hawaiian culture.
Tiki God of Peace and Tranquility – The symbolism and meaning behind “Lono” is perfect for musicians, mothers, and flora lovers. In mythology, Lono made his grand entrance to earth from the heavens via a rainbow. He symbolizes music, fertility and agriculture.
Tiki God of the Sea – “Kanaloa” is often symbolized as a squid. He is considered to poses great power; you can see the association. Design wise, this description really brings some images to mind. Although armband tats aren’t traditionally Hawaiian tribal tattoos, they have evolved. Imagine a small tribal Kanaloa, wrapped around your arm with a tribal squid.
Tiki God of Light and Life – “Kane” is considered the creator of man and all things. Hawaiian mythology infers that he is the most Important of the four great Tiki Gods. He is also associated with thunder breaking through the sky. Imagine that as a tattoo.
Hibiscus Flower – Although now the state flower of Hawaii, the hibiscus flower is not especially symbolic in Hawaiian tribal tattoos. Hibiscus flowers are grown around the globe where it is sunny. Because of the requirement of good sunny conditions to grow, it is symbolic of bringing sunshine. Women gravitate toward the hibiscus flower to wear as body art, mainly because of the variations in color, types and designs available. They are just simply beautiful. Be sure and pick colors that complement your usual wardrobe, skin and hair color; if you want that hibiscus to really pop.
Guardian Spirits – By tradition, the hawk, owl, lizard (gecko) and shark are considered representatives of guardian spirits. The gecko played an important part in Hawaiian history believed to be one of the animals that could communicate with the Gods. In addition, the gecko is considered a protector of house and homes. Geckos make great Hawaiian tribal tattoos but if you want realistic native Hawaiian tribal tattoos using a gecko(s), do some homework. There are only four native species and they’re disappearing fast; another great reason to wear one as body art.