Tribal tattoos have always had a deeper meaning than just the decorations they represent today. Often they indicated rank in the community, skill, or family. As far back as the ancient Celts whose tattoos indicated a warrior’s abilities, tribal tattoos have identified some aspect of the bearer as they followed the musculature lines of the body and not the random placement of today. Most tribal tattoos were done as a silhouette of black or blue. Polynesian tattoos such as Hawaiian ones were brighter, larger, and more colorful than the Celtic ones.
Hawaiian tribal tattoos differ in that they are personal identifiers. Dolphins with their expression of joy, Arrows, and Sea Turtles with their symbolism of fertility all have meaning specific to the person they are on. One of the most common tattoos you’ll find in Hawaiian tribal tattoos is the Orchid with its beautiful petals and bright leaves. In fact while most people consider floral tattoos to be feminine, the orchid tattoo is often displayed by men of Hawaiian tribes. The rare ghost orchid when used as a Hawaiian tribal tattoo is an identifier of “rare beauty.” Another powerful tattoo reflected in the Hawaiian culture, the lizard, with its representation of both fear and respect was certainly a tattoo to pay attention to. Often the wearer’s rank was expressed by the size and location of the tattoo. The more prominent it was the higher the rank.
Typically, Hawaiian tribal tattoos would be on the leg, arm, face or body. The woman’s tattoo would be on her tongue, hands or wrists. Whether you want a dolphin to reflect the joy you’ve found, a ghost orchid for its rare and delightful beauty, or a tribal band on your arm or leg, Hawaiian tribal tattoos are a great way to express your homage to the Hawaiian culture.