Polynesian chest plates and shoulder piece

Posted: April 30, 2017 in Xisle Custom Tattoo
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This week has been all about chest plates!

Two consecutive clients, completely unrelated and unknown to one another chose to get chest plates (and a shoulder piece) to chronicle their lives and loved ones.

I’m very happy with the results and am now so exhausted that all I can do is stare off into space as I contemplate going back to work next week, lol.

Here are the breakdowns of each piece.

Mahalo for looking!

Modern Maori, Marquesan and Hawaiian chest plate and shoulder piece

a) etua hena = hand of ancestor: holding the tattoo fast to the body

b) na ihe = spear(s): a weapon used by warriors, showing his warrior spirit and willingness to overcome

c) ka’ake = upraised arm: the entirety of ‘c’ encloses other elements of the tattoo and gives strength to the motifs that it surrounds. The entire paka represents, po’o kohe, or a section of bamboo. This symbolizes resiliency and tenacity and adds this quality to the symbols contained inside ‘c’

c.1) hala = past: this is the life that he has lived so far

c.2) ano = present: this is the life that he is currently leading

c.3) mua = future: this is his future life

d) mata = eye: this looks out and protects him from impending danger

e) niho = teeth: each tooth symbolizes each one of his children that happen to also be twins

f) koru = unfurling fern head: symbolizes life, breath, growth

f.1) koru = unfurling fern head: along with the above, this also represents his marriage and is in the shape of a heart (over his heart) to show love

g) lau niu = coconut fronds: each frond represents one year of being married (15 total)

h) hope vehine = twin goddesses (of tattoo): protection, union and beauty also acting to hold up this paka

 

 

Modern Marquesan and Maori chest plate done in Samoan taulima style

a) pepehipu = hammered section: this represents a hammered piece of tapa cloth it is inset with niho for protection

b) ihe o nalu = spear of waves: warrior, love of the sea

c) hoku = (shooting) star: illuminates his way forward

d) niho peata = teeth, fence: protective barrier against potential harm

e) koru = unfurling fern head: symbolizes life, breath, growth

f) lau niu = coconut frond: royalty

g) niho = teeth: two teeth joined together to symbolize his marriage, inset into a ka’ake (upraised arm) to give strength to their union

h) lei niho = garland of teeth: to protect from danger

i) mata = eye: this looks out and protects him from impending danger

j) mata tomoe = Death’s head: this is the unicorn of Polynesian tattoo as it was initially seen on the Langsdorff voyage to the Marquesas in the early 1800’s. It was chronicled by an illustration drawn on that voyage but the image was never seen again in future expeditions and any forthcoming information regarding it was ever given. I have re-imagined it, and designed it to be skull-like in appearance. It is said to represent death but also protection from death and acceptance of death, as well.

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