Hawaiian tattoos are composed of mainly symmetrical designs but have slowly evolved into more diverse artistic representations such as images of animals and flowers. To understand the importance Hawaiian tattoos played in traditional Hawaiian culture it is important to look at the origins of the word ‘tattoo’. The literal translation of the word for tattoo in Hawaiian is uhi, meaning a covering of some sort. It indicates the importance it carries in their society specially in terms of defining hierarchy. Hawaiian Tattoos have many meanings, and have been displayed on various places of the body. In some of the lithographs, Hawaiian women wore designs concentrating mainly on their hands, feet, fingers and calves. Hawaiians view tattoos on a man’s body as a sign of status and importance. The tattoos that women wore were less extensive being limited to the hand, arms, feet, ears and lips. A lot of Hawaiian tattoo designs seem to have an almost hidden meaning, which is normally much deeper and personal. Hawaiian tattoo designs are bolder and larger than Maori or Samoan forms which may be due to the fact that Hawaiian tattoos have more to do with individual identification than for ceremonial purposes
I have always thought hawaiian tattoos were pretty cool looking. They look very much like the markings that are carved on totem poles and this one is no exception. It is very well done and the alignment seems perfect. This type of hawaiian tattoos almost seems to be an entirely different art form of tattoos, don’t they?
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