Tiki is human-like figure that represents Polynesian semi-gods, which means deified ancestors and heads, which are sublimed after death. According to their guardian role, their mainly symbolize protection. Tiki plays a very important role in Polynesian culture. The most popular of legends tells of the tiki being the first mortal man on earth and standing that it was created from the stars.
The many gods of Hawaii and Polynesia were represented by Tikis. The name tiki can refer to many different type of images used throughout Polynesia, from images used ceremonially by Maori tribes in new Zealand, to the moa carvings on Easter island, to modern day images displayed in Hawaii.
Tiki statues were carved to represent the image of certain god and as an embodiment of that specific god’s power. With well formed tikis people could attain protection from harm, strengthen their power in times of war and be blessed with successful crops.
The primary Hawaiian gods represent with tikis images include:
- Ku – the god of war
- Lono – the god of agriculture and peace time
- Kane -the god of creation, sunlight, forest and fresh air
- Kanaloa – the god of the sea realm
The ancient Hawaiians kept their tiki close using many creative forms of communication. Tikis were created as a medium of connection and interaction. Through continued communication with these all powerful deities, the Hawaiians were sure to follow the right path to appeasement.
Polynesian Tiki Culture reached it’s peak in the mid 20th century. During the mid-century modern movement, Polynesian influence could be found in the art, architecture, and culinary offerings of the time.
These days, while it probably not as mainstream as it was before, there are still many fans of the tiki art, they often express their love in form of tattoos.
Tiki tattoo designs are of the most recognised Polynesian inspired tattoos found in the western world. Although the tiki design is rarely used in the traditional Polynesian tattoos, the image of the tiki god and the tiki statue has evolved into very popular tattoo design.
Artwork associated with tiki tattoos is typically very detailed, beautiful and unique. These impressive designs combine abstract lines with beautiful figural themes and have both an ageless appeal and striking appearance. Since tikis are regarded as gods, tiki tattoos are most commonly depicted with their eyes closed, as they are said to have the power to smell trouble coming well before it is seen.
Tiki tattoos often portray with titled head to symbolize clear thinking, large hands to represent strength, and large mouth to represent communication. A tiki with his hands on his hips is a symbol of fertility.
Tiki tattoo designs are often designed in a cartoon like style, with numerous brightly coloured inks.
The next time you will be drinking mai tai or zombie remember it’s been all up to tiki movement. I hoped you enjoyed reading, maybe even it inspired you to create some tiki art.