“Tahitian symbols are steeped in Tradition and Inspiration. They have been used as a form of expressive and spiritual art for centuries in decoration and tattoos”.

The Polynesian Motifs On Our Tahitian Black Pearls

Atelier Leseine values the tradition of the Polynesian culture and wishes to express it via its exotic Tahitian carved black pearls collections.

In French Polynesia, the Tahitian cultured pearl is known for its unique luster, which partly is a result of a thick layer of mother of pearl. The Tahiti cultured pearl has a layer of nacre of minimum 0,8mm, often much thicker. The thick layer of nacre makes it possible to carve these pearls.

Every carving has a very special meaning or story behind its design. Most carvings combine elements from several areas of mythology which interact with each other to tell a story. Each element has its own specific meaning and the way they are portrayed or combined is what gives a carving its own special character.

Nathalie is of course inspired by the geometric elements represented heavily in the motifs and stories chosen.

It is believed that a carved pearl which is worn with respect or given and received with love, takes on part of the spirit of those who wear or handle it. In this way it becomes a spiritual link between people spanning time and distance. A carved Tahitian black pearl that has been worn by family or members over many generations contains the spirit of all those people and is truly a great and powerful treasure.

Some common motifs you will see used in Atelier Leseine carved pearls

The graphics below show the basic pattern and variations for each motifs.

“Ocean” symbol is very common among Polynesian tattoo designs. The ocean is regarded as their source of food and can represent life, fertility and persistence. Ocean waves are used to symbolize the other world beyond too, which is a homeland where all ancestors live, where they will all eventually meet again.

“Enata” is a typical motif in Polynesian tattoo designs to symbolize “beings” both humans and gods. Originating from the Marquesas language, it’s commonly used to represent life experiences, birth, rank in society, etc. It can be also be combined to represent relationships, such as marriage, family, relatives and friends. Actions can be also represented by combining enatas, for example, a combination of enatas and a creature means defending against this dangerous creature. You will also commonly see a semi-circle of enatas, like the two semi-circles in the lower right corner of the picture below which means the sky, guarding all the Polynesians and their children.

In Polynesian culture the “Sun” is seen as the center of the Universe. It often stands for riches, brilliance, grandeur and leadership. The sun’s periodic rising is regarded as eternity, giving consistent source, which is similar with other cultures. The rising of the sun represents a life source and rebirth and the sunset represents passage to the next life or world. Someone may get a sun motif to represent the sunset of a loved one, and another may get it to represent his or her leadership role in a community.

“Shark Teeth” is a fish symbol very popular among Polynesians. It’s called “niho mano” in Polynesian language. When people who are not familiar with the culture think of shark teeth, it is easy to think of fear, ferocity, and death. However shark teeth usually represents shelter or coverage, guidance, power, adaptability.

The Polynesian tattoo symbol of “Spearheads” can be found in almost every Polynesian tattoo design. It’s designed to express courage and the willingness to fight like a warrior. To each person it has its individual meaning, such as the willingness to fight for his or her culture by the use of protest or words or the willingness to fight for his/hers well being. It could also lean more towards courage, such as having the courage to be an individual openly without fear of judgment.

The “Marquesan Cross” is a symbol which is quite popular and widely used in many Polynesian tattoo designs. It’s often used to symbolize balance between elements and harmony, like Libra scales in traditional American culture. In Polynesia it is typically thought to represent said harmony of the natural elements, considering that they all feed one another. Someone may get this tattoo to symbolize such harmony, or he or she may get it to represent harmony in life. Someone may also get it to represent a newfound enthusiasm for balance in work and life, or an overall balance in spirituality.