Reviewed & updated: November 28, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Have you been fascinated with indigenous tattoos lately? Take a look at our top 10 Polynesian tattoo sleeves to adorn your body with the rich culture.
Polynesian tattoos are one of the oldest tattoo forms in the world.
In the Polynesian culture, these tribal tattoos were inked on warriors and people who held prominent positions in society. Gradually, this intricate form of art became a great tattoo trope redefining style while adhering to its cultural significance.
Polynesian sleeve tattoo designs are one of the most common tattoo ideas to exist in the tattoo industry. Why? Because the idea of these tattoos seems to be a continuous chain that is best expressed when inked on a larger canvas like that of sleeve tattoos. These detailed and loopy Polynesian patterns are rich in meanings and can shape your limbs with the charm of bold lines. Polynesian tattoos are also widely customisable with a number of images inspired by the culture. You can use bold lines to highlight masculine energy or even include colours as per your liking. Ready to see some of these Polynesian tattoo designs? Keep reading to find inspiration for your next ink appointment!
Polynesian Tattoo Half Sleeves With Island Motif For Guys
Polynesian tattoos are almost always inspired by nature. The ocean, islands, and the intricacies of these cultures form an integral part of these tribal tattoos. The same idea applies to this half sleeve tattoo that features a scenic view of Polynesia.
This site is perfect for the placement of such images because the upper arms provide the necessary space. The black and grey representation keeps the design mellow while aptly pointing to the centrepiece of the tattoo design. This Samoan tattoo is apt for anyone willing to celebrate their cultural heritage as it encapsulates the essence of the Polynesian islands without taking much space.
Polynesian Tattoo Designs For Leg Sleeves
Polynesian designs also make stellar leg-sleeve tattoos with the same cultural meanings. For instance, this Polynesian leg tattoo features the Marquesan cross alongside other cultural images. The meaning of this cross is quite different from the cross of Christianity and stands for peace and harmony in different weather conditions.
Similarly, this leg sleeve tattoo includes a collage of images from the ocean. The tattoo artist uses bold flowing lines, shark teeth, and the turtle to ink a microcosm of what is found in the Polynesian sea. This sleeve tattoo is filled with meanings for the shark teeth are a prominent symbol of power, ferocity, and adaptability; ocean waves of their primary source of life; and the turtle, aka ‘honu’, stands for good health and longevity of life.
Polynesian Tribal Tattoo Sleeves Drawings With Flower Imagery
Polynesian tattoos often include indigenous flowers that make the body art a picturesque sight to gaze at! This leg sleeve showcases two exotic Plumerias alongside beautiful ocean waves and shark teeth patterns. The flower helps to add a touch of femininity to an overall rugged design while exhibiting their origin story in the Maori land.
Similarly, this half sleeve tattoo places the gorgeous hibiscus flower at its forefront. The flower coupled with the spearhead pattern of the background presents a meaningful duality where both masculine and feminine energies coexist. White hibiscus flowers are a great pick for they draw attention without being too loud with colours.
Polynesian Tattoo Arm Sleeves Featuring Mandala Pattern
Tattoo artists often introduce a number of unrelated motifs to bring the cultural tattoo ideas to match contemporary tastes. This Polynesian sleeve tattoo morphs with the popular mandala art and makes a full-fledged sleeve extending from the shoulder to the wrist.
The style is kept simple with black ink and dot work that adequately highlights the nuances of the two tattoo ideas, simultaneously helping the pattern sit snugly on the skin. You can try different images for a variety of shoulders to wrists Polynesian tattoos.
Ocean Themed Polynesian Sleeve Tattoos For Guys
The Polynesian folks highly regard the sea as a nurturing entity. The fishermen of these regions depend on the ocean waves to sustain their lives. However, they also realise the humongous power of the waves and are aware of the death and destruction caused by the whims of the sea. This Polynesian tattoo design celebrates the dual quality of the ocean with body art that includes images like shark teeth, waves, and oars.
The juxtaposition of these images is also strategically placed on the skin with the oars near the shoulder, seemingly floating on the waves, while the shark teeth are inked further down on the arm.
Unique Polynesian Sleeve Tattoo On Forearm For Guys
This half sleeve tattoo stands apart from all the Polynesian tattoos listed here. The tattoo artist uses a number of concentric circles with dot work, that is in turn surrounded by Samoan patterns.
This sleeve tattoo is an unconventional take on the tradition of Polynesian tattoos and leaves a lot of room for experimentation. You can replace this unusual pattern with geometric lines or even play around with the placement and colour of the ink to suit your fancy!
Simple Polynesian Tattoo Sleeves Designs For Guys
Polynesian tattoo ideas for guys are never simple. Intertwined with an array of symbols and details, these tattoo ideas are generally labelled maximal. However, you can always make yourself a clutter-free Polynesian sleeve tattoo with ease. Pick one particular pattern and ink your arm with spaces as is shown here.
Similarly, this design ditches the sleeve tattoo on arm for a simple glove tattoo using Polynesian art. The dominant pattern is that of shark teeth that beautifully cover the hand without overcrowding the place. You can definitely try these arm tattoo designs on different sites on your body and the results will be incredibly satisfying!
Full Sleeve Polynesian Tattoo Designs For Guys
Did you know you could actually extend your sleeve tattoo designs to a full-fledged Polynesian chest tattoo? This Polynesian tattoo showcases inner strength with bold lines. This fashion is often seen in armband tattoos and denotes power and dominance. The tattoo sleeve features the mythical Tiki, a demigod who was believed to shoo away negativity and evil spirits.
Similarly, this tattoo sleeve moves up the arm to the upper torso to highlight masculine power. The Enata patterns make up an integral part of this upper arm tattoo, representing the unification of God and men. Sleeve tattoos are cool but an extended chest tattoo is even better at adorning your body with aboriginal ideas.
Polynesian Tattoo Designs With Turtle
Like the images of Tiki, the turtle is a substantial presence in Polynesian tattoos. The honu is a fitting symbol of health, prosperity, fertility, and unity between familial bonds. Here the turtle is represented with an overall oceanic image. The swirly patterns make up the sea, with reptiles having individual marks on their backs.
Images of the turtle are also well-suited for half sleeve tattoos with tribal patterns. The honu is placed at the top of the arm and is surrounded by bold strokes in black, framing a beautiful Polynesian tattoo sleeve that is a great choice for guys with a buffed physique. The turtle can also be included in Polynesian tattoos on the chest, back, or armband as a potent symbol of the lands.
Polynesian Tattoo Sleeve With Shark For Guys
By definition, sharks are considered dangerous creatures of the sea. But with the Polynesian folks, sharks gain the stature of gods. They symbolise power, shelter, and ferocity, and act as a guiding force for people living with the sea. Naturally, the symbol is deeply embedded in a typical Polynesian tattoo either with its teeth or a full-figured animal.
Here, the tattoo artist inks a hammerhead shark, known to be a benevolent creature of the shark family. The leg sleeve tattoo is further embellished with waves and dot work to create a comprehensive account of the fish in its natural habitat. You can get this Polynesian tattoo sleeve on your forearm or on the chest to push it further in the spotlight.
Polynesian tattoos are known to preserve one of the most cultural places on the earth. The tattoo is a medium to keep alive the ways of these aboriginals who live amongst nature. These tattoos are also an excellent tool for studying the myths and beliefs of the community. Now that we have got your bases covered, remember it is crucial to understand the different symbols and their associations to avoid disrespecting any community. Feel hyped up yet? Here are some suggestions on Polynesian tattoo designs to spark up ideas in your creative process:
- Polynesian armband tattoos
- Hawaiian tattoos with gecko
- Polynesian tattoo sleeve with stingray
- Polynesian tattoo sleeve with sun and moon symbols
- Polynesian tattoo sleeve shellfish
feature image from Pinterest
What is a Polynesian tattoo sleeve?
A Polynesian tattoo sleeve is a body art form that originated in the South Pacific region and is traditionally composed of various geometric shapes, symbols, and motifs. These tattoos are often brightly colored and feature intricate designs that reflect aspects of Polynesian culture, such as spiritual beliefs, family history, rank or status within the community, protection, strength, and more. They are typically done in a single session with a skilled tattoo artist and can take up to several hours to complete. Polynesian tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years as individuals seek to use their body art to express their unique identities and stories.
How did Polynesian tattoo sleeves originate?
Polynesian tattoos have a long history, stretching back to the ancient voyagers who first settled on the islands of Polynesia. These early travelers used tattooing as a form of personal identification, with the designs and symbols differing across tribes and islands. According to legend, some Polynesian tattoos were even believed to provide spiritual protection for the wearer. Today, Polynesian tattoo sleeves are a modernized version of these traditional tattoos, combining symbolism from different islands to create unique designs that reflect the individual’s identity.
What is the meaning behind Polynesian tattoo sleeves?
The meaning behind Polynesian tattoo sleeves can vary depending on the individual who wears them. Generally speaking, these tattoos often reflect concepts such as ancestry, strength, protection, courage, and spirituality. Some individuals may also choose to incorporate designs that symbolize their life journey or a particular event in their past. Ultimately, the symbolism of Polynesian tattoos is deeply personal and should be chosen based on what resonates most with you.
How much does a Polynesian tattoo sleeve cost?
The cost of a Polynesian tattoo sleeve can range depending on the size and complexity of the design. Generally speaking, these tattoos tend to be in the mid-to-high price range, starting at around $400 and going up from there. Additionally, some artists may charge an hourly rate for larger or more intricate designs, so it’s important to discuss your budget with your artist before beginning the tattooing process.