Polynesian tattoo symbol: flowers


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Hawaiian tattoo symbol flowers

Tiare: (Tahitian), flower.

Tiare Tahiti (gardenia tahitensis) is the emblem flower of Tahiti, usually simply known as tiare, literally "flower".

Flowers often appear in Polynesian designs, mainly hibiscus flowers, frangipani and tiare. They usually represent beauty, femininity and joy, but they also represent new bloomings, children.


Flower of tiare

The flower of tiare is the national flower of French Polynesia, and a symbol for Ori Tahiti, the traditional Tahitian dance.
It symbolizes beauty, grace, sensuality.
Tiare flowers are often used to prepare the typical garlands worn around the neck and gifted to visitors, called ei or lei in Hawaii, and it's therefore a symbol for hospitality too.


Flower of hibiscus

The flower of hibiscus is a constant presence in Polynesian modern tattoos, especially for women.
It's the emblem flower of Hawaii and it symbolizes beauty, femininity, and passion
It's also a symbol of the "island vibe", used to represent the "carpe diem" philosophy of living every moment to its fullest.

Frangipani, or plumeria

Flower of frangipani

Frangipani flowers (plumerias) symbolize beauty, love, and they are often used to represent children.
They are also a symbol of protection and shelter.


Flower of clematis

Puawananga (clematis paniculata), the flower of knowledge, was used for treating some illnesses as migraines and it's associated to healing.


Pandanus male flower

The leaves of the pandanus were used for all sorts of weaving, from mats to ropes, sails, baskets- the male flower symbolizes tradition, ancestors, union with nature, and prosperity.

Fijian tattoos often include flowers in several forms, and they are a predominant element in prints and decorated fabrics all over Polynesia.

The following design, often regarded as a flower, is actually a combination of cross-flying birds (manulua: "two birds"), which represents the union of two families and the prosperity that comes from this union.

Samoan tattoo manulua symbol


Tattoo designed for a Ori Tahiti dancer, with tiare, hibiscus, and frangipani flowers for elegance, beauty, femininity, and carpe diem:

Ori Tahiti feminine leg tattoo

Hibiscus and frangipani flowers are undeniably a great way to render femininity in a Polynesian tattoo:

Beautiful Polynesian feminine back tattoo

Pandanus male flowers and frangipanis for ancestors and children:

Polynesian manta masculine throat tattoo

Flowers like this are often used to symbolize a star and represent direction:

Marquesan sleeve and pec tattoo

You can read the description of each tattoo by clicking on its photo.

Books about Polynesian Tattoos

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