Posts Tagged ‘all seeing eye’

Aloha! Here are some tattoos that I have done over the past few weeks and am finally getting around to posting. I won’t get into too much detail with each one but will give an overview instead, since this is mainly for the tattoo collector to understand the symbols being used.

Here is the breakdown:

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This tattoo was his first and the intention behind it was to mark his life at this point, to pay tribute to his family and to give him strength as he goes forth in life and joins the military. (His skin was barely recovered from a sunburn). He will eventually get a sleeve with this shoulder cap acting as the basis.

a) matavau = harpoon: hunter of fish, love of fishing.

b) hulu pu’eo = owl feathers (x2): this is for his family aumakua, the owl.

c) nalu = wave: love of the sea.

d) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

e) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

f) niho, see d.

g) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

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This tattoo of a honu, or turtle was meant to be an overall protective piece, as is the nature of the honu. It is populated with motifs specific to his time and place in life, at the moment. It is symmetrical and so the meaning on one side is reflected on the other. it was finished off with traditional tap tatau.

a) pepehipu = pounded, armor: this is an analog to tapa cloth that was used as armor in battle. Here it protects the turtle from attack.

b) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) niho = tooth: protection, protection of the tattoo.

d) kofati = fold/crease: this symbol is a mark of authority.

e) mata = eye: to look out for danger, to protect.

f) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward. This motif augments ‘g’, as well.

g) manu = bird: freedom, flight, direction, home.

h) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, is also the face of the honu in this case.

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This chest plate is a continuation of the Polynesian theme that he has going on on the right side of his body. I did not do any of the other work, nor did I do the Borneo rose that this tattoo surrounds.
The upper portion was done several weeks before and had not finished healing completely when I went back over some of the areas. This is why some of it appears puffy.

a) kofati = crease/fold: symbolizing nobility and connectedness with the earth.

b) (twin) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

c) unaunahi = fish scales: symbolizes his love and respect of the sea.

d) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers. In this instance, done in profile with the row of niho acting as the mouth; the upper portion near the rose is the eye.

e) ama kopeka/ ahi = flame/fire: fire or light to illuminate his path as he moves forward.

f) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body.

g) hoka = rafter: this rafter motif symbolizes bravery and courage and is populated with etua in Fibonacchi sequence.

h) creator etua = gosling: this represents the wearer as a father.

i) peka ou mei = protective spirit: protection from evil.

j) ka’ake = upraised arm: strength, warrior.

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This shoulder cap was his first tattoo and is a unique tiki that overall, displays the image of a star gazing fisherman. This person is an amateur astronomer and came here with the intent to visit Mauna Kea to see the stars. He wanted something to commemorate this, as well as show his love of the sea and fishing in particular. Because the ancient Polynesians utilized the stars to navigate, this all made perfect sense! This is another mirrored image with the symbols on both sides having the same meaning and intent.

a) nutu kaha = mouth: power and protection given by ancestors.

b) mekau = fish hook: these two hooks, back to back, make up the jawline of the tiki and represent his love of fishing.

c) hinenao/pahoe = cherished daughter/ wife: love for the female members of his family.

d) hikuhiku tau = bonito (tuna) tails: warrior, speed, to run quickly.

e) hena/i’ima = hand; this holds the tattoo to his body. It is also the ears of the tiki.

f) mata hoata = all-seeing eyes: protects from unseen dangers, and is also the upward looking eyes of the star gazer.

g) ani ata = the sky, the heavens: the heavens, the place where angels dwell, promise, success.

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This lower shoulder cap is meant to create symmetry from the piece above it (shark aumakua, not done by me) so that we can begin to create a sleeve. The entire piece is family-centric.

a) pepehipu = pounded tapa cloth: this area is meant as armor and protects the entire tattoo. It is also inset with niho for added strength.

b) lauhala = woven mat analog; family unity; binds the elements in this tattoo.

c) koru = Unfurling fern head: life, breath, growth.

black d) hiki a tama = cherished child: there are 6 simplified hiki a tama motifs that adorn the koru, each one symbolizing a grandchild.

white d) niho = tooth: This motif is an extension of koru/hiki a tama and represents his children.

e) niho = tooth: This ties in with the entire ‘g’ motif and represent the years that he and his wife were married (34).

f) niho = tooth: This trio of niho represent the holy trinity.

g) itiiti’i/niho = alliance/ teeth: This binding motif represents his marriage to his wife. There are 2 niho; one on each side of the binding that represent him and his wife, respectively.

Thank you all for looking and aloha!

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Aloha!

I did this piece over the course of two days last week and had a blast! The client was a gentleman from Hilo who was looking for something to speak of his time in the military, his ties to his ancestors and also to show familial ties. It was also important that the tattoo incorporate protection as well as warrior motifs.

He came to me already having researched his family name and discovered that he had an ancestor that was a kumu lua (teacher in the art of Hawaiian hand to hand combat) who had taught skills to ali’i on Kauai during the time of Kamehameha I. He was also a pilot in the Vietnam war and also flew search and rescue with the fire department here in West Hawaii and also created the protocols for the now defunct marijuana eradication program, Green Harvest.

He wanted to tell his story of a warrior, of being descended from warriors and also to pay homage to his family. This piece was an awesome undertaking as I tried to combine all of these elements to create a cohesive piece. I had a blast working with the client and enjoyed immensely they time we spent over the two days that it took to complete.
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Here is the breakdown of the symbols used:

a) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

b) koru [unfurling fern head], symbolizing growth, life, breath, this gives intention to the piece behind it ‘c’.

c) na niho [teeth], there are 3 large niho, followed by 3 sets of 3 niho, the larger represent his 3 daughters and each set of 3 represent their respective children.

d) unahi [fish scales] love of the sea and for swiftness.

e) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

f) pepehipu [hammered tapa cloth] this is an armor analog for protection, it is inset with a row of niho at the end that is meant to protect the tattoo from harm.

g) ama kopeka/ahi [fire] this keeps bad spirits away and also acts to illuminate the path of the symbol behind it ‘i’.

h) pili niho [joined teeth] two joined teeth representing the union of him and his wife.

i) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

j)  lei niho [garland of teeth] there are 2 rows, top and bottom, of teeth, each representing a year of marriage, 50 total, plus one to symbolize many more to come.

k) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

l) hoka [rays of the sun, rafter motif] this sort of symbol was one of many found carved or painted upon the rafter of a home or dwelling, it represents courage.

m) malu [protection] overlapping diamond shapes are meant to protect as armor.

n) lei-o-mano [string of shark teeth] this club-like weapon was used in hand to hand combat and in this instance is used to indicate his ancestral ties with a kumu lua that taught fighting techniques to ali’i on Kauai during the era of Kamehameha I.

o) ikeike [cyclophyllum barbatum] this hearty flowering shrub of the coffee family was known for its resistance, fortitude and toughness, its wood was also used to make weapons and tools.

p) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

q) la’au [club] this symbol represents a club used for combat and is a reference to part of his family name and ancestral past as kumu lua.

r) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

symbols s,t,u,v,w are considered as one image, and that is the Spirit of War (SoW), which is a direct analog to his ancestor that was a kumu lua. It forms a head in profile, of the SoW.

s) pahiko a tuivi [fish net] this symbol makes up the mouth of the SoW and is intended to catch sin or protect from sin.

t) niho mano [shark teeth] this represents the first of his ‘aumakua, the shark, and makes up the part of the head portion of SoW.

u) naheka kai [sea snake] this represents his second aumakua, the sea snake, the triangle and two dots represent  the pattern on the snake’s skin.

v) hulu pu’eo [owl feathers] this is his third aumakua, the owl.

w) mata hoata [all seeing eye] this makes pup the face of the Sow, it also has an ama kopeka, or flame on the top of its head.

x) ani ata [sky, heavens] this represents his ancestors as well as heaven and the horizon.

y) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

Mahalo for your time!

Roland

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This cover up is a combination of Maori and Marquesan motifs that roughly follows a Taulima (Samoan) structure. It does not cover his old gang tattoos completely as I felt that by leaving some of the old tattoo poking through, it could serve as a reminder of sorts, of his past, so that moving forward he could have a reminder so as not to stray from the path of righteousness.
The intent of this tattoo was more aesthetic but it does have a lot of personal meaning to him as well. Growth, protection and strength form the basis for this piece.
The breakdown is as follows:

a) Koru: unfurling fern head, Maori- Life, breath, new beginnings, growth and connection to the earth.

b) Ama kopeka: fire, Marquesan- To illuminate, to cast light upon. Used here to light his path moving forward.

c) Koniho: teeth marks, Marquesan- To protect from evil.

d) Ipu ao: bowl of the earth, Marquesan- Container of mana/power, creation, life, light.

e) Unaunahi: fish scales, Maori- Abundance. bounty of the sea. Here used to represent Hawaii and aloha.

f) Mata: eye, Marquesan- To watch over, protect.

g) Niho: teeth, Marquesan- Used to protect the tattoo and the wearer from harm.

h) Pepehipu: pounded tapa cloth, Marquesan- Worn as armor, covering tattoo underneath.

i) Hope vehine: twin goddesses, Marquesan- Very simplified version of motif meant to give life, protect and symbolize creation.

j) Enana kaake: troop of warriors going to battle, Marquesan- Sacred connection, common bond, fighting for a common cause (simplified version).

k) Hoka: rays of the sun, Marquesan- Courage.

Thank you for looking, and aloha!

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Did this Ana’ole Polynesian style honu on the calf of a gentleman from Canada the other day. He wanted a piece that spoke of his marriage, his two sons, his love of the outdoors and nature, family, protection, new beginnings and love for the sea. The entire piece represents his love for the sea, which is why he chose the turtle in the first place. Super cool dude! Had a blast chatting it up with him and his wife. Hope to see them again soon.

Breakdown is as follows:

a) mata/maka= eyes. These two symbols represent his sons, individually. I placed them on either side of the turtle so that they are positions of observance, to watch out for him.

b) lei e ata te hae= wedding garland. This symbols represents he and his wife’s union, and is essentially a garland of individuals holding hands, connected together as the two families unite.

c) ani ata= sky/heaven/ancestors. This symbol reinforces the bottom symbol (b) and represents his ancestors looking down on him from the heavens essentially protecting and blessing his marriage.

d) kofati= crease/fold/plaiting. This diamond pattern represents a weave of fronds, such as pandanus or palm, and is an analog to nobility and the righteousness of the earth.

e) mata hoata= all seeing eyes. This protective symbol is used to watch out for impending danger and is a more elaborate version of the mata (a).

f) niho=teeth. This symbol of a closed mouth is meant to catch sin and protect as well as offer courage and strength. It is at the front of the turtle shell to protect the symbols the follow it.

g) ka’ake= upraised arms.  These two symbols represent upraised arms that are meant to convey power, force, and generosity.

h) koru=unfurling fern head. This Maori symbol represents the unfurling fern shoot and is meant to convey life, breath, new beginnings and the earth.

i) lei niho= garland of teeth. This motif is the same as ‘f’ only set into a lei, or garland.

All of the symbols are done in Fibonacci sequence in both number and form.

Thanks for looking!

Aloha!

mark_bd mark Aloha! Here is an upper arm/shoulder piece that I finished recently in Hawaiian, Marquesan and Maori styles. This client wanted a piece that spoke of his life’s ordeals, his love of the sea, his children and new beginnings. I did the overall layout in a very subtle Samoan taulima style to better integrate all of the symbols. I kept it the coverage light and airy as opposed to the very heavy aesthetic of the taulima. It can easily added to and will wear better over time. Here is the breakdown of motifs: a) na niho, this collection of many teeth/sins is Hawaiian based and speaks of the obstacles that he has had to endure and overcome throughout his life. b) this combination of kiko (dot) and small dashes representing pohaku (stone) symbolize a beach or shoreline, this is to symbolize the flow from his past challenges (a) into the present, symbolized by the beach. c) kai/nalu, ocean and waves, to speak of his love for the sea. d) mata, eye(s) to look out and protect from harm as he moves into the future. e) lei niho, garland of teeth for protection of the overall tattoo. f) ipu oto, bowl/container, this symbol represents a container of mana (power) as well as creation of the universe. In this particular example I have incorporated 4 mata, 2 above, 2 below for protection. g) kea, turtle, these 2 turtle motifs, (that can also represent a person, enana or a god, etua) are there to symbolize his children. h) koru, these 4 mirror reflected fern heads, represent a new beginning, life and breath. The configuration in this instance is representative of the Maori mangopare, which is a pattern representing the  head of the hammerhead shark. i) henna, hand, this affixes the tattoo to the body. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Peace!

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I had a ton of fun with this tattoo! Meeting with the client. determining his history, drawing up the piece and then executing it, galvanized within me, the reason that I love my job so much: meeting and spending time with like-minded individuals.
This person hails from the Similkameen Indian Band (which is an offshoot of the Okanagan First Nation) in B.C., Canada. We immediately hit it off when he and his girlfriend came into the shop, asking about the significance of Polynesian tattoo. Because Polynesians and Native Americans are sister cultures, we ended up discussing the similarities of both and found that as individuals, he and I were very much the same in regards to our beliefs in both our cultures and personal lives. It is for these rare interactions, that I live to do what I do. I love meeting people from other parts of the world that have a profound love and respect for culture and spirituality as I do. It is rare, indeed and I covet those times like a junkie.
He had much history to discuss and like most folks it was filled with both happiness and sadness, love and loss, turmoil and prosperity. What we decided to glorify in this piece was his connection with the earth and the love for his family as the center point. He lives in a small village, virtually off the grid, and so his sense of community and connection to the ancient ways of his ancestors were also key points to consider. Hunting, communing with nature and respecting the practices of his ancestors are a very large part of his everyday life. I wanted to show that in the tattoo and it was not difficult. Sometimes tattoos design themselves and this is such a case.
I am so happy with this design because it manifested itself organically and in the end, displayed characteristics that were true to classic Marquesan tattoo (CMT) design, without anything being forced.
That is indeed a rarity.
Balance was what I chose to focus on because he was born on the scorpio/libra cusp and felt that balance was a key element in shaping his life. So everything in this piece is symmetrical and a mirror of itself, much like CMT. Not only that, but the entire piece works on the dual plane principle of CMT as well.
When all paka are taken into account (from a frontal plane), the entire piece can be seen to resemble an etua, or godling/divinity. The circle makes the head with each wedge shaped paka resembling (two upper and two lower, at each side of the tattoo) arms and legs, respectively.
As it happened to turn out, also along this frontal plane, another shape manifested itself in the lower quadrant, and that is the image of a face, with the koru forming a nose and the two ipu on either sides acting as eyes.
I did not intentionally set out to make this happen, it just occurred organically, which is always the best way for this to happen!
So, here is a breakdown of the motifs that speak of this person’s past and also giving him guidance and protection in the future.

Top to bottom:

The upper portion of this piece is split into 3 paka, with the circle being the center piece. From top to bottom the circle contains the following:

a) Past, present and future waves (hala, ano, mua) done as a flowing ribbon. The top arc is his past, the middle two converging lines are the present and the small pint at which they converge, the future.

b) Star (hoku), this is in reference to his spirit animal, the horse, as well as illuminates and guides him to prosperity in all future endeavors.

c) Birds (na manu), these birds represent his two daughters as well as freedom.

d) Sky/heavens/ancestors (ani ata) this represents his ancestors looking over him

Because of the symmetry of this piece, I will explain both right and left paka as one.

e) Hand (hena, i’ima) this hand holds the tattoo to the body.

f) Teeth (niho), protection

g) Palm frond (lau niu), connection to the earth, nobility

h) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

When the two paka are viewed as one this is the All-seeing eyes, or mata hoata (protection from future threats)

i) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

j) Spear (ihe), symbolizing the hunter

k) Teeth (niho), protection

l) Container of mana (ipu), container of power, the universe and creation

m) Container of mana (ipu), container of power, the universe and creation

n) Fish net (pahiko a tuivi), the purpose of this motif is to catch sin, or protect from sin

o) Hand (hena, i’ima) this hand holds the tattoo to the body.

p) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

q) Fernhead (koru), Maori shape symbolizing growth, new beginnings, breath and life. Flowing from opposite directions for balance.

Thank you for spending time reading my blog and thank you for your interest in Polynesian tattoos.
Aloha and peace! R

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This client wanted a piece that could be added to at a latter date, one that reflected his new direction in life while combining elements of his family lineage, past occupation and love of music. I included a protection motif, as such things are an intrinsic aspect of Polynesian tattoo to a greater or lesser degree.

The breakdown of the piece is as follows:

a) Koru with kape and pakura elements- The koru is a Maori motif and has several meanings but are generally meant to convey life, breath or new beginnings. In this case it represents this person’s new direction in life.
The line elements in the tattoo represent a non-curved variation of pakura, or footprints of the swamp hen. They are simply meant to connect the tattoo and are also placed on the outside of koru.
The circular motifs  on the outside of the koru are called, kape and represent eyebrows/lashes. This symbol represents beauty, attention, and intelligence.

b) Mata hoata- All seeing eye motif is done in profile in this tattoo. The nose can be seen at the bottom of this motif, moving upward we can see the eye as the principle element. At the bottom there are a row of niho. The entire motif is to look out for danger; to protect him from threats when his attention may be elsewhere.

c) Koru with pakura

d) Ipu- Container of mana, the universe. Ipu are containers that store mana (power) but also represent the female uterus vis a vis creation. It is used to show the creation of all things and therefore is synonymous with the universe. The ipu in this sense represents his creation of music.

e) Ama kopeka- Fire. This speaks of his past as a firefighter. The flame also represents illumination and is also a symbol of defiance when used with vai meama.

f) Niho- Teeth. These symbols are spread throughout this piece and all are done in Fibonacci sequence to represent the mana inherent in everything in nature. They are a protective as well as warrior motif.

g) Unaunahi- Fish scales. This Maori symbol was used a lot in woodcarving and represents fish scales which themselves represent abundance (of food) or bounty. In this tattoo there are 4 scales, each representing a member of his family that are healers (nurses, doctors, etc.).

h) Koru with pakura.

Looking forward to adding to this beast!

I hope you enjoyed the breakdown. Peace and aloha!

This 1/4 sleeve is a protection piece for this man’s daughter. Beginning at the bottom is a lauhala (pandanus weave) pattern signifying family. Moving upward is her name which turns into the bottom of a star that becomes the bottom of a maka nui or all seeing eye. Underneath that is a papa honu or turtle shell inset with FS spots. To the rear of the shell is a wind since this persons hails from Kohala. The maka nui is adorned with niho mano for strength. There is also more lauhala at the front of the eye.

2.75 hours

Dragonfly, Rotary Works

One (ink)

Peace!

Ana'ole Ploy (chest)
This is Ana’ole Polynesian, a style that I have been cultivating over the past three years. I utilize the Golden Mean, Chinese/Western astrology, chakras and i’ ching in the design process. I aim to create pieces that look as if they are in motion, almost as if the piece itself is alive. So much of modern Poly is an amalgamation of antiquated symbols whose meanings have been lost to time. My intention is to modernize the genre in a way that speaks to our modern sensibilities.

This tattoo was for a person going through many life changing experiences and because his journey is personal, I won’t go into too much detail out of respect for his story.

His chest represents himself and his son as they charge ahead through life. There is a sun directly behind both of them which is a symbol of enlightenment and courage as well as providing a light to better help illuminate the path that he is now on. In the center of the sun is a turtle shell which represents protection. Directly beneath their faces is the maka nui or all seeing eye. This symbol is meant to steal the power of his enemies as well as strike fear into their hearts. Because this person ended up having so many ‘earth’ related indicators in his ‘chart’ I utilized an earth motif throughout the piece. Which is why there is a single palm frond (royalty) between the eye and the faces.

Moving up his neck are 3 waves which represent his past, present and future. The past wave falls upon his back indicating that his past is behind him. The wave is riddled with caves which represent darkness and kiawe thorns which represent obstacles. The center wave is the present which moves down to the top of his shoulder which is an unfurling palm frond, a symbol of growth.  The future wave is at his neck and is filled with seeds which represent opportunity and change. Underneath the palm frond is a checker board pattern which represents wind, also a symbol of change and it also represents Kohala (a windy place to live) which is where he is from.

The arm piece is where he will derive his strength, and is dominated by the ‘io, or Hawaiian Hawk. This bird is a symbol of strength, nobility and power. The hawk has an awakened third eye which symbolizes enlightenment and higher consciousness. Above the eye are three stars which are also symbols of enlightenment and direction so that he does not lose his way. Moving up toward his shoulder we see a leaf of aloe unfurling, which symbolizes healing. In the cheek of the hawk there are flames to bring elemental balance to the tattoo. Behind the hawks head is a stem of bamboo which symbolizes strength, will and flexibility. Above the hawk are two swirls of wind representing the sky and change.

This piece is 99% finished as of today. All that is left to do is fill the small triangular shape on his shoulder and the small space behind his arm.

This represents 18 hours of work, with 12 alone spent on lining!

Peace!