09.06.2013
Protected by a hard shell, equipped to navigate both land and water, capable of crossing oceans and exceptionally long-lived, it is no wonder that the turtle has been revered for thousands of years by cultures all over the world as a symbol of strength, stability and stamina. Although tattoo art has been embraced by numerous cultures throughout history, nowhere has the sea turtle been associated with tattoos more than in the Pacific Islands.
The art of tattooing has been prevalent on almost every shore of the Pacific, but achieved particular significance in Polynesia, the area defined by Hawaii in the north, New Zealand to the west, and Easter Island to the east. Shark, lizard and turtle tattoo designs were primary symbols, used throughout Polynesian society. One Hawaiian myth says that it was "Honu" (Hawaiian for turtle) who guided the first inhabitants of Hawaii to their new home. Although there are alternate myths, a reverence for the turtle's prowess in navigation is part of the Hawaiian culture. The sea turtle's ability to return home connects them with guidance, good luck and faithfulness.
Their slow movement has some negative connotations, such as the decreased mobility of old age, but primarily the slow, dogged movement of turtles denotes steadfastness, as in Aesop's fable of the tortoise winning the race against the hare.
The turtle is a widely revered creature and often perceived as a symbol of strength, stamina and stability given its ability to effectively navigate through land, sea and other conditions deemed as harsh by human beings. The turtle is often associated with various myths revolving around creation especially in India and North America. The tribal turtle tattoo is a popular choice for tattoo lovers with the design featuring artistic styles that clearly demonstrate the dominant characteristics of the turtle.
The turtle is known as a very exceptional creature with a very long life span and a very hard shell that keeps it safe from diverse climate and whether conditions.
Turtle tattoos can be worn on any part of the body with designs that are either small or large depending on the wearer’s preferance. Turtle tattoos are usually pretty realistic in color and detail, however you will often see these designs in Pacific or Hawaiian style, which is generally drawn in black ink. According to the Japanese culture, turtle tattoo is perceived to symbolize protection especially for those travelling by sea. The Vietnamese are known to dorn different colours of the turtle tattoo which according to them symbolize a golden god that come to rescue when they are goind through some challenge or trouble.The turtle tattoo below looks spectacular on the wearer and quite ideal for women. You will also often see the cartoon version of the animal when researching turtle tattoo designs.
One aspect of the turtle that stands out quite often is it’s peaceful nature especially as it interacts with other creatures. In the pacific area, a turtle is supposed to embody peace, calm and a feeling of complete serenity.
It’s normally inspiring how the turtle manages the transition between the land and waters.
Large turtle tattoos looks quite elegant on men especially when worn on the upper arm and the back. The tattoo is also a symbol of productivity given its ability to reproduce in large quantities.
The variety of meanings linked to the turtle tattoo means that the wearer can get to decide what his or her tattoo means. According to the Polynesia tribal culture their war god Tu was represented by a turtle which made the warriors wear turtle tattoos as a sign of an armour for protection from the battle. The turtle is also known for its nature of slow movement yet diligently reaches the end of the journey without giving up on the way.
The turtle can survive on land as well as water and there are many designs with the turtle as the central theme.
Though perceived to be slow in movement, they are very sure of reaching their destination and the turtle tattoo placed on the feet below is a suitable symbol to explain that character of the turtle. As with any tattoo design that has so many meanings, symbolic value and deeper implications, the right thing to do is explore why you want the tattoo first.


The below turtle tattoo is quite simple without a lot of features that makes a tattoo look more sophisticated. The turtle ability to travel thousands of miles makes it such a preference for tattoo lovers as it denotes perseverance and endurance. The sea turtles are known for the ability to return home even after taking time wondering and navigating other places. Some of the common symbols of the turtle include fertility, wealth, creation, steadfastness, endurance, guidance stability, security, strength, immortality, good luck and many more.
Turtle tattoos appear magnificent when used as stand-alone tattoo, however can be combined with other features if the wearer is interested in a more complex design.
The turtle tattoo design shown below with the turtle in the diving position is quite an incorporation of a fine work. The below turtle tattoo illustrates a turtle diving deep into the sea with the head downwards as it dives deep into the seabed. Apart from the tribal turtle tattoo that are normally very common, the cartoon turtle tattoo are often depicted as happy characters.
This turtle tattoo below looks beautiful and quite sterning with the footsteps of the little turtle displayed on the tattoo as it makes slow movements.
Covering one third of the planet, the Pacific Ocean is the realm of the sea turtle, and upon every land mass that the turtle has visited, legends and myths have arisen about the singular creature. Mohawk mythology ascribes earthquakes to the great World Turtle, stretching in reaction to bearing the weight of the world. As a culture with no writing, the Polynesians not only used tattoos as talismans of protection and spirituality, but as a way to exhibit their status. An ancient petroglyph that depicts a turtle with a vertical line drawn down its shell supports this mythology. Ancient Hawaiians believed that their "Aumakua" (guardian spirits) could take the shape of a variety of animals, including the turtle.
The curved, intact nature of the turtle shape makes it a good artistic choice for shoulder designs. These turtles are generally depicted cheerfully, viewed as a symbol that a positive attitude and determined effort spell success in life. The art of turtle tattooing is a common practice in Polynesia where turtle rattoos are used as talismans of protection and spirituality.
The turtle tattoo design below is a real display of fine artwork and design that looks cool on both men and women.
Some people may want to incorporate bright and unusual colors of the Pacific turtle into the shell of the design. Given the turtles are also known to indwell the seas and oceans, having it on when you sail signifies the character of the turtle as they navigate both the land and the waters. As shown in the below tattoo, it’s easy to spot the turtle peacefully interacting with different creatures harmoniously as it goes through its life. The whole process is carried with an aspect of calm and fits so well with the Indian myth regarding the turtle that it carries the whole world on its back given its versatility in the land and sea. Some of the qualities associated with the turtle entail peace, bravery, willpower, security, long life, good health, kindness among many other sterling qualities. It enhances the personality of the wearer with a perception that the same characters as displayed in the turtle is also part of the wearer’s personality. Wearing the tattoo can be perceived to symbolize productivity in various areas of life.Though everyone is free to determine the meaning that the turtle tattoo being worn symbolize. According to the Takitumu tribe in Rarotonga, the turtle tattoo was a preserve for the chiefs only. The turtle often makes slow steps but consistently advances until the destination is reached.
These include showing the turtle in many of its habitats or with a variety of plants and other animals.


Various elements can be incorporated into designing turtle tattoo for a more themed symbol and meaning as deemed fit by the wearer.
Others designs take the shape of the turtle while swimming, standing, when having the head coiled within the shell or when all the legs are spread out. The tattoo is of medium size and placed in an ideal place making it look beautiful on a lady. The turtle tattoo shown below displays some element of motion and progress which can be assumed to mean progress as the cross denotes the four corners of the earth. It’s good to choose a turtle tattoo design with a meaning that depicts a character you would be excited to identify with.
Africans are known to refer to the turtle as symbol of a trickster mostly derived from the story of the turtle and the rabbit and how the turtle ended up winning the race. There are many celebrities that have specifically identified with the turtle tattoo making it a very popular choice amongst the celebrities fans. Turtles are also perceived as a bridge of world’s and a good tattoo designer is capable of enhancing any perceived meaning in a tattoo. A tribal turtle tattoo might have had a more significant meaning to one tribe than another, gaining particular importance through an association to family genealogy. A 19th century missionary to Polynesia recorded that Pa te Pou Ariki, Chief of the Takitumu tribe in Rarotonga (one of the Cook Islands) had turtle tattoos on both knees.
It is said the great turtle Kailua would turn into a human female and appear to protect children playing on the beach from danger. Since a turtle is pretty much ubiquitous and found all over, each culture endows it with its own meaning and significance.
Wearing a turtle tattoo symbolizes deep and intertwined meaning as depicted in the versatile characteristics of the turtle. In most cases, turtle tattoos depict the complete turtle, though it is not uncommon to see just various parts of the turtle such as the head or just the shell. You can also provide a feminine and cute angle to the look of the turtle tattoo if you so desire.
Among Native American people it is believed that the turtle played a part in the creation of the Earth. Regardless of the design chosen, the turtle tattoo is a perfect demonstration of versatility and longevity. Most turtle tattoos are done in one colour of either grey or black apart from very rear cases where different blend of colours are used.
The turtle tattoo worn below appears quite dynamic with a blend of other features that makes it appear more complex. The large part of the chest where the turtle tattoo is worn provides enough space that accommodates the tattoo so well. The missionary noted that the turtle symbol was "reserved for the chief alone," indicating that the turtle was deeply associated with the chief's genealogy. Turtles are also known not to let their slower speed stop them from doing what they set out to do. While it is a design element that can be depicted solely or as part of a more diverse tattoo – usually each turtle tattoo is quite different in nature. To many a turtle is something to be considered spirituality and thereby having healing properties. Since the turtle retreats into its shell when it senses danger, the turtle is also associated with self-protection.



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