Polynesian Tattoo Symbols & Meanings – Lizard (or Gecko)


In Polynesian culture, lizards and geckos are regarded as a form of appearance of gods by people, with a name called moko (which is also the name of facial tattooing in Maori culture). It’s a very important part in Polynesian beliefs. Because they are symbolization of Polynesian gods, and also regarded as ancestors of Polynesian people, so they look quite similar to “enata”, the symbol of man. They are kind of creature who can talk to gods and watch the hidden world, bringing fortune to a person who has it in his tattoo and delivering death enemies.

In Maori branch of Polynesian culture, lizard are used for guarding evils and illness. Lizard in other cultures, for example, Australian Aboriginal culture, is a symbol of regrowth, surviving from disasters.

You can find many lizard symbols embedded in Polynesian tattoo designs. A few samples below will show you how tattoo masters embed the lizard symbol in a tattoo design.

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