33 best marquesas tattoos ideas you will love

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: January 19, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA

Marquesan tattoos are a type of traditional Polynesian tattoo that originated in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. These tattoos were an important part of Marquesan culture, and were often used to mark important life events or to signify social status. Marquesan tattoos are known for their intricate designs, which often include geometric shapes and patterns, as well as natural elements like shells and leaves. When choosing a Marquesan tattoo, it’s important to choose a design that has personal meaning to you, as these tattoos are meant to be a representation of your identity and your connection to your culture.

Top 33 Marquesan Tattoo Designs 

Traditional Marquesan Tattoo

Traditional Marquesan Tattoo
@alux_tattooerandblacktoptattooclub via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Armband Marquesan Tattoo

Armband Marquesan Tattoos
@caio.spada via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Leg band Marquesan Tattoo

Leg band Marquesan Tattoo
@alux_tattooerandblacktoptattooclub via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Shoulder Marquesan Tattoo

Shoulder Marquesan Tattoo
@stefano_miani_tattoo via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Chest Marquesan Tattoo

Chest Marquesan Tattoo
@stefano_miani_tattoo via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Half sleeve Marquesan Tattoo

Half sleeve Marquesan Tattoo
@tekuhei_kaiha via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Full Sleeve Marquesan Tattoo

Full Sleeve Marquesan Tattoo
@marcowallacetattoo via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Hand Marquesan Tattoo

Hand Marquesan Tattoo
@chrishigginstattoo via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Finger Marquesan Tattoo

Finger Marquesan Tattoo
@wallacetattoostudio via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Head Marquesan Tattoo

Head Marquesan Tattoo
@nikutatau via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Thigh Marquesan Tattoo

Thigh Marquesan Tattoo
@street_art_tattoo via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Face Marquesan Tattoo

Face Marquesan Tattoo
@cannibal.art.marquesas via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Back Marquesan Tattoo

Back Marquesan Tattoo
@polynesian_tattoo_girl via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Neck Marquesan Tattoo

Neck Marquesan Tattoo
@borderlinerswen via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

Polynesian Shark Teeth Tattoo

Polynesian shark teeth tattoos, also known as niho mano, are a type of traditional Polynesian tattoo that features shark teeth designs. These tattoos have a deep cultural significance in Polynesian culture, and are often used to represent protection, strength, and guidance. Shark teeth are also believed to have spiritual powers and are thought to bring good luck to those who wear them. When getting a Polynesian shark teeth tattoo, it’s important to choose a design that has personal meaning to you and to work with a tattoo artist who is familiar with these types of tattoos and their cultural significance.

Polynesian Tattoo Art Dates Back Over 2,000 years

Polynesian tattoo art dates back over 2,000 years and has a rich history and cultural significance in the Polynesian islands. These tattoos, also known as tatau, were traditionally used to mark important life events, such as coming of age or significant achievements, and were also used to signify social status and rank within the community. The process of traditional Polynesian tattooing is an intricate and painful one, involving the use of chisels and mallets to create the designs. Today, Polynesian tattoos are still a popular choice for those looking to honor their cultural heritage or to pay tribute to the rich history of the Polynesian islands.

Marquesan Tattoo Designs And Marquesan Art

Marquesan tattoo designs are heavily influenced by the art and culture of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. These tattoos feature intricate and detailed designs, often incorporating elements of nature and geometric patterns. Marquesan art, which includes wood carvings, sculpture, and painting, also heavily influences the design of Marquesan tattoos. When choosing a Marquesan tattoo, it’s important to consider the cultural significance of the design and to work with a tattoo artist who has experience with these types of tattoos. The end result will be a beautiful and meaningful tattoo that celebrates the rich history and culture of the Marquesas Islands.

Tips For Choosing The Best Marquesan Tattoo For You

When choosing a Marquesan tattoo, there are a few key things to consider to ensure that you end up with a tattoo that you love. Firstly, think about the size and placement of the tattoo. Marquesan tattoos are known for their intricate and detailed designs, so you’ll want to choose a spot on your body that has enough space for the tattoo to be fully realized. You should also think about the colors you want to use. Marquesan tattoos often incorporate bright and vibrant colors, but you can choose shades that reflect your personal style and taste. It’s also important to choose a design that reflects your personality and values. Research the symbolism behind different Marquesan tattoo designs and choose one that holds special meaning for you. Finally, be sure to find an experienced tattoo artist who specializes in Marquesan tattoos to ensure the best possible end result.

Conclusion

Marquesan tattoos are a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate the culture and history of the Marquesas Islands. The top 33 Marquesan tattoo ideas we’ve covered in this article offer a wide range of inspiration, from intricate geometric patterns to natural elements like shells and flowers. If you’re considering getting a Marquesan tattoo, we encourage you to choose a design that holds special meaning for you. Whether it’s a symbol of your cultural heritage or a tribute to an important life event, a Marquesan tattoo can be a powerful way to express your identity and connect with your roots.

Still looking for inspiration? Checkout these great ideas below

  • Waist Marquesan tattoo
  • Calf Marquesan tattoo
  • Ankle Marquesan tattoo
  • Foot Marquesan tattoo
  • Toe Marquesan tattoo
  • Ear Marquesan tattoo
  • Nipple Marquesan tattoo
  • Genital Marquesan tattoo
  • Buttock Marquesan tattoo
  • Hip Marquesan tattoo
  • Rib Marquesan tattoo
  • Sternum Marquesan tattoo
  • Collarbone Marquesan tattoo
  • Elbow Marquesan tattoo
  • Knee Marquesan tattoo
  • Palm Marquesan tattoo
  • Wrist Marquesan tattoo
  • Fingertip Marquesan tattoo
  • Nostril Marquesan tattoo
  • Sun and moon design
  • marquesan cross 
  • Ocean waves
  • Geometric shapes
  • Traditional Marquesan symbols (e.g. turtle, shark, tiki)
  • Tribal patterns
  • Animal designs (e.g. birds, lizards, spiders)
  • Plant life (e.g. flowers, trees, bamboo)
  • Cultural items (e.g. canoes, spears, dancing figures)
  • Inspirational words or phrases in Marquesan or English
  • Portraits of loved ones

Feature image @mirko_tatau via Instagram – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo

What are Marquesan tattoos?

Marquesan tattoos are traditional tattoos that originated in the Marquesas Islands, which are located in French Polynesia. They are known for their intricate and detailed designs, which often cover large areas of the body.

What do Marquesan tattoos symbolize?

Marquesan tattoos have a variety of symbolic meanings, depending on the specific design. In general, they were used to symbolize the wearer’s social status, family lineage, and personal achievements. They were also believed to have spiritual and protective powers.

Are Marquesan tattoos still practiced today?

Marquesan tattoos are still practiced in the Marquesas Islands and are an important part of the region’s cultural heritage. However, they are not as common as they once were, due in part to the influence of Western culture.

How are Marquesan tattoos applied?

Traditionally, Marquesan tattoos were applied using a process called “tapping,” which involves using a handheld tool with sharpened bone or wood needles to puncture the skin and apply the tattoo ink. Today, many tattoo artists use electric tattoo machines to apply Marquesan tattoos.

What is the message of Kalinga tattoo?

Kalinga tattoos, also known as “batok,” are traditional tattoos from the Kalinga people of the Philippines. These tattoos were traditionally used to mark important life events, such as reaching adulthood or achieving a significant status within the community. Kalinga tattoos were also used as a form of identification, and were believed to have spiritual and protective powers. The designs of Kalinga tattoos are often intricate and detailed, and can include geometric patterns, animals, and natural elements. The message of a Kalinga tattoo can vary depending on the specific design and the context in which it is worn, but overall these tattoos are a powerful symbol of the wearer’s cultural identity and connection to their heritage.

What is a Marquesan cross?

A Marquesan cross is a type of tattoo design that originated in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. These crosses are known for their intricate and detailed design, which often incorporates geometric patterns and natural elements such as shells and leaves. Marquesan crosses are a popular choice for those looking to get a tattoo that celebrates their cultural heritage or pays tribute to the rich history of the Marquesas Islands. The meaning of a Marquesan cross can vary depending on the specific design and the context in which it is worn, but these tattoos are often seen as a symbol of strength, protection, and spiritual guidance.

Is it disrespectful to get a Polynesian tattoo if your not Polynesian?

It is important to be respectful of other cultures and their traditions, including the practice of tattooing. If you are not Polynesian and are considering getting a Polynesian tattoo, it is important to do your research and understand the cultural significance of these tattoos. It is also important to work with a tattoo artist who is knowledgeable about Polynesian tattooing and can help you choose a design that is appropriate. It is generally considered disrespectful to get a tattoo that appropriates another culture’s traditions without understanding their significance and meaning. If you have a genuine interest in Polynesian tattooing and want to pay tribute to this rich and meaningful tradition, it is important to approach it with respect and understanding.

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