“Enata” is a typical motif in Polynesian tattoo designs to symbolize humans and gods. It originates from Marquesas language. It’s commonly used for representing life experiences, birth, rank in society, etc. It can be also used by combination to represent relationships, such as marriage, family, relatives and friends. Actions can be also represented, for example, a combination of enatas and a creature means defending this dangerous creature. A reversed enata is also used for symbolizing an enemy. The picture in this article shows a basic enata and its commonly seen variations and combinations. In Polynesian tattoo designs, you’ll commonly see a semi-circle of enatas, like the two semi-circles in the lower right corner of the picture, which means the sky, guarding all the Polynesians and their children.
Below are some Polynesian tattoo samples of the use of symbol enata: