The History Behind the Tiki Face

Tiki face

When people think about a tiki face they usually think about giant, wooden, carved faces of joy or anger. Or they might think about it as tropical décor. But these carved, wooden faces actually have a lot of history and are a big part of the Polynesian culture.

The Tiki carvings began as depictions of various Polynesian Gods. And although many people believe that every totem is a representation of a Polynesian God, that’s not always the case nowadays. The four major Hawaiian Tiki Gods are Ku the God of War, Lono the God of Fertility and Peace, Kane the God of Light and Life, and Kanaloa the God of the Sea. Ancient followers worshiped these Gods through the carvings. Their followers would worship through prayer, chants and at times human sacrifices.

Each tiki mask or totem served various purposes, whether it be in one’s own home or at public gatherings. The carvings were often used for religious ceremonies or for tokens of good luck. They were also used to protect people from evil spirits. Because they served such an important purpose, each tiki face was hand-carved with much care and attention to detail.

The Tiki Face Now

Overtime, specifically around the 1930s and 1940s tiki art became very popular among restaurants and bar owners for decoration purposes. People wanted to give their business the “vacation” or tropical feel, and so they did. Now, people use tikis all over their home or business. They can be used as backyard or bar decorations, for themed parties and for anything else you can think of.

These beautiful, yet strange sculptures are a huge part of the Polynesian cultures and can still be found in the Hawaiian Islands. Now that you know the history of the famous tiki face, your only choice is which tiki statue do you want to protect and watch over you?

Note: Hand-carved tikis are not available online. For photos, pricing and availability please email info@backyardxscapes or call 858-643-9030 ext. 136