The tattoo style that’s known as “tribal tattoo” has a long tradition that goes back over thousands of years, and it’s a part of many different cultures. It began as a style that was unique to a particular culture or tribe to set them apart from other local groups. It was also used as a way to express one’s religion or beliefs. Tribal tattoos were also used for protection and camouflage.
Meaning of tribal tattoos:
The purposes of these tattoos have varied over the years as the art style has evolved. Many of these designs are taken from Aztec, Polynesian, Indian, Egyptian, and Mayan cultures. In these respects, they were used to signify social status or identification. In a way, some people still use the “social status” tribal tattoo meaning in the modern world.
The word tattoo originates from the Polynesian word “tatau.” Polynesians regarded tattoos as a form of language. All of the odd-shaped lines and symbols that are part of the tribal tattoos add a bit more meaning to the overall design. This is the reason why many tribal tattoos can look similar while having very different meanings. If you do plan on getting a tribal tattoo, it’s a good idea to recognize what all of the symbols mean so you can get the most personalized design possible.
The Maori tribe in New Zealand is known for its facial tribal tattoos. These were used to represent inner strength and were regarded as a way of being identified in the spirit world after passing on. You really won’t see too many of these types of tribal tattoos outside of those tribes (or the tribes that branches out from them), those who do get them have them, so they are still recognized after they pass away.
The Indian tribe Haida incorporated animals into their tribal tattoos to obtain the strength of the animal depicted. In this regard, the tattoos were considered masculine and forceful. What’s great about these tribal tattoos is that you can get some of the classic tribal symbols along with the animals, giving your tattoo that much more meaning. It makes for a better-rounded tattoo since you can combine meanings that you might otherwise not be able to do with other tattoo designs.
Tribal styles of tattoos often included short lines, circles, patterns or chevrons, and large sections of black bands. Depending on the tribe, one or all of these design elements may be utilized. Some of the symbols and lines used will have their meanings, while others will only have meaning when combined with other items. In some cases, the lines are merely there for decoration, and you should add in different designs to give the whole thing more meaning.
Placemen of tribal tattoos:
Placement on the body was also essential as it could be symbolic of the wearer’s status within the tribe or culture. Nowadays, people get their tribal tattoos where they think they will look best, which means that the placement doesn’t usually add much more meaning to the design. However, that doesn’t mean that there is a lack of meaning in modern tribal tattoos, but rather, it just means that outside observers won’t be able to distinguish the meaning simply from the location of the tattoo.
The most defining characteristic of the modern reproductions of these tattoos is the thick, bold black lines that comprise the image. You might think that this has nothing to do with the tribal tattoo’s meaning, but it certainly does. You can very quickly make a specific segment of a tribal tattoo stand out more by making it massive, which will make the symbolism attract attention out more if there is one. This is important thing you have to think about before getting your tribal design since you can make precise meanings come through more just by changing the art a bit.
Modern tribal designs are actually different looking than those done back in the day, but many of the designs and symbols share meanings with classic tribal designs. While most us these days don’t have any affiliation with the tribes that initially wore these tattoos, they can use some of those same meanings. For example, you could get a tribal tattoo with specific symbols and lines to show that you are a modern “warrior” like those who used to wear the same tattoo. Of course, you could also just get a tribal-looking tattoo and then add in more modern elements to get the exact meaning that you want.
Ideas for tribal tattoos:
The sky is the limit with the subject matter and design you choose and can range from simple to complex. The new-age tribal sleeve is one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world right now because it has a striking look without being overly complicated. While most modern tribal tattoos don’t have any cultural significance, they can undoubtedly mean as much to people as they did to the tribes that originally wore them.
What’s interesting about the tribal tattoo is that it is one of the most distinctive tattooing styles regardless of how you get them done. The vast majority of tribal tattoos use just black ink, and the linework is often jagged, or barbed. Most people use a unique tribal tattoo, meaning even if their tattoos look exactly like many others you have seen. These are just some of the reasons why the tribal tattoo continues to be one of the most popular tattoo designs all around the world.
Even though we’ve gone over a bunch of different tribal tattoo meanings here, it’s actually quite common for people to get their tribal tattoos for the look alone. The fact is that they are still seen as some of the coolest tattoo designs around, which makes them attractive to people of all ages. Plus, tattoo artists continue to come up with new ways to make tribal tattoos, so every new generation is going to have more options available to them.
While the modern tribal tattoo is seen as more of a counter-cultural style these days, plenty of people still do get these tats to pay homage to their heritage. The fact is that the descendants of those who originally wore tribal tattoos are spread out all over the world, so some of those people want to have a connection to where they came from. This is indeed a small percentage of the tribal tattoo community, but it also means that you can’t assume that someone got their tribal tattoo only because they think it looks great on their body.
You are allowed to use any tattoo design that you want on your body, and you can attach any meanings that you want to those tattoos. It is an excellent way to study up on all of the motifs and outlines you’re thinking about incorporating into the design, but even if you don’t, you can always give those design elements your meanings.
Tribal tattoos are a lot more complicated than they look. Those who are uninformed probably just see odd-looking lines and weird symbols, but there are a ton of great tribal tattoo meanings out there, and people very rarely regret getting these tattoos. That does not mean that tribal tats are for everyone, but they are some of the most versatile tattoo designs around.
If you’re thinking about getting a tribal tattoo, it’s a good idea to look at a bunch of design options and meanings before you make your decision. You’ll also want to think hard about where you want to get the tattoo since that can add in even more meaning to the overall design. It highly recommends finding some tribal tattoos that you like and then making one that is unique to you.