Ornamental Tattoo Style

27 / 05 / 2020 Anton Yarovoy
Ornamental Tattoo Style

Going back to the deep roots of ancient times, Ornamental is one of the varieties of Polynesian tattoos and has a rich history. Initially, it was the prerogative of men. Complex patterns adorned the bodies of priests, chiefs, and great warriors. The size and complexity of the pattern demonstrated the owner's nobility and high social status, his occupation, and his belonging to a particular tribe. Growing over time, the tattoo could tell a lot about its owner. Moreover, the drawings had a deep symbolic meaning, serving the owner as a talisman against various problems. Women were forbidden to have such tattoos on their bodies, but at the same time, it was women-priests who were trusted to perform them, as it was considered a sacred ritual. The process of applying the tattoo was quite painful, as it was done using sharp thorns of plants, shark teeth, or sea urchin needles. It took a lot of courage to endure the entire procedure. Therefore, an unfinished drawing was considered a shame for both the owner of such a tattoo and his entire family.

The Ornamental style is characterized by complex geometric patterns, clear lines, and strict symmetry of individual elements. The dense pattern, resembling woodcarving, has carefully crafted details. It can include various geometric shapes and lines, plant elements (flowers, leaves), stylized images of animals, birds, as well as celestial bodies (moons, suns). Elements are combined in various ways.

Each element carries a certain symbolic meaning, and depending on the combination, a tattoo can serve protective functions, reflect the character traits, or life aspirations of the owner. For example, a circle symbolizes the energy of the sun, harmony, and perfection, a spiral represents the vitality of life and movement, a turtle signifies calmness, wisdom, and longevity, while sharks protect the owner from enemies and threats.

As for the color palette, tattoos are preferably done in black ink. Colorful tattoos are rare.

Within the style, three main techniques can be distinguished: Blackwork, Linework, and Dotwork.

Blackwork includes ornaments with large shapes, in which large areas of the body are filled with black ink.

Dotwork is a complex technique that creates intricate designs, usually geometric shapes, using dots, the density of which affects the contrast and intensity of the tattoo's color.

Linework is a modern technique that represents a drawing created from the finest broken lines, executed with precision.

Different techniques can be applied within one design, which are well combined to create complex, interesting patterns. Ornamental style tattoos look great on any part of the body, whether small patterns or large designs.

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