Looking for something with beautiful coloration, a rich history and wealth of meaning? The plumeria has all of that and more, making it an excellent choice for a floral tattoo full of beauty and meaning.
The plumeria is a vibrant plant native to tropical regions, notably the Hawaiian islands, with a history going back to the days of the Mayans. As a tattoo it symbolizes many things, including creation, love and new beginnings.
This article explores the history, symbolism and meaning behind the plumeria tattoo, as well as the colors and characterisitics most common to this beautiful image.
What Is The History of the Plumeria Tattoo?
The plumeria tattoo has origins far back in the ancient cultures of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.
One of the first recorded uses of the Plumeria imagery in tattoos and artwork is in the Mayan culture.
- The plumeria flower was thought to have connections to sun symbolism in the Mayan culture.
- As a representation of the sun, the plumeria was thought to represent birth and life
Another usage was found among the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands, where these flowers flourish
- Among the Hawaiian islands, the plumeria is a symbol of life and springtime.
- It is also a representation of the natural connection to life and natura beauty of the islands.
- Interesting Note: The plumeria was transplanted Hawaii in the 1860s, but was adopted quickly into the culture.
In some cases, the dual colors of the flower are also thought to represent the duality of life and death – especially since the flower itself is toxic.
The imagery entered European culture through two different avenues.
- In the 1500s, an Italian nobleman began producing scented gloves with the plumeria scent. It is from him that the flower gets it’s scientific name.
- In the 1750’s the flower gained it’s common name from the name of Charles Plumier, a premier botanist of France in the court of King Louis XIV.
What Do Plumeria Symbolize?
Plumeria flowers have a number of different meanings among several different cultures.
In the Hawaiian culture, the plumeria flower holds a number of meanings based on usage:
- Beauty, Grace and Charm
- Over the Right Side: Availability
- Over the Left Side: Married or Claimed
In Hindu culture the plumeria flowers most often represents immortality
Mexican and Ancient Mayan cultures consider the plumeria a representation of life and birth.
In Vietnamese cultures, the plumeria is a symbol of healing.
In Nicaragua they symbolize New Life
An Interesting Note:
The Plumeria flower is one of the few flowers for which the meaning does not change based on the color. While cultural meanings may change, the flower’s meaning is the same whether the flower is red, pink, yellow, white, or any combination of these colors, or others.
What Do Plumeria Tattoos Mean?
Plumeria tattoos possess several meanings, based on culture and other things.
In Hawaiian culture, the message of the flower may have the same symbolism in tattoo form: Life, spring, and birth.
- Life, Spring and Birth
- Grace, Charm and Beauty
Outside of Hawaiian cultures, the plumeria tattoo is thought to represent characteristics such as the following:
- Love, Dedication, and Devotion
- Creation and Beauty
- Long Life and Eternity (mostly Buddhist and Hindu traditions)
- Purity and Health
Many individuals get plumeria tattoos to represent a personal connection of some kind to Hawaii.
This may also commemorate a special event, or a special person associated with the islands which is often represented by a name or a date.
A person may get a plumeria tattoo to symbolize a personal rebirth or a new life. In some cases, it can also be used to represent the birth of a new child.
Someone might also get this tattoo to represent Dedication or Devotion to a particular idea or person.
As a personal symbol, it may indicate a personal search for Purity and Health. It may also represent a moment of Creation and Beauty.
Where Do Plumeria Tattoos Usually Go?
The plumeria is one of those tattoos that’s highly popular, and can be placed and worn just about anywhere.As such, they’ve been worn and displayed in all the most common tattoo locations.
Forearms and wrists are popular locations for miniature or single blooms.
The foot is a common choice for large, vibrant blooms, often single images or triple blooms winding up to the ankle.
The shoulder and back are common places for bunches of blooms, three or more.
The front of the shoulder is often a location for smaller blooms, and miniature plumerias, as opposed to larger images.
The back of the hand is a often-used location for single, minature rooms.
The ribcage, lower back and stomach are locations that usually have garland-like arrangements of multiple blooms.
Styles and Characteristics of Plumeria Tattoos:
Plumeria tattoos have a number of common characteristics among them, despite the wide variety of locations and imagery.
Common characteristics include:
– 5 petal overlapping flower structure, somewhat like a pinwheel.
– Often associated and depicted with Hawaiian imagery, like turtles, waves, beach imagery and traditional tattoos.
– Bright colors, or delicate pinks and yellows, in keeping with the natural flower
In terms of style, the plumeria is done in several different stylistic representations:
– Realistic styles often have the yellow and pink flowers, and are frequently done in bunches, or with ocean imagery.
– More abstract images are often paired with the traditional tattoos, though they can have other patterns with them.
– Illustrated images can be done in fantastical images and watercolors, in myriad colors, including deeper hues of blue and purple.
– Sketch-like tattoos are very usually delicate and detailed, and more frequently done in a realistic style.
– Plumeria tattoos are often bracketed by leaves or delicate vine-like growth.
Whether you choose illustrated imagery, a realistic flower, smaller blooms or larger decorations, the plumeria offers a vibrant and beautiful manifestation of many positive beliefs. It has positive associations and will make a stunning image, making it an ideal choice for a floral tattoo.