Hawaiian tribal tattoos are symbols from the Polynesian culture used to portray important information directly on a person's skin. Tribal tattoos signify signs of a person's character and position within the tribe and are thought to provide protection and strength of spirit.
Throughout history, Hawaiian tattoo styles varied from island to island and were most commonly patterned into simple straight lines. Over time, tattoos evolved from straight lines to geometrical symbols and eventually into circular patterns. Today's styles are often sea creatures that are thought to impart the inner nature of the animal into the wearer. These are much more intricate than tattoos of the past.