Tribal Tattoos, Designs, Pictures, and Ideas

Today, tribal tattoos are mostly used for their aesthetic appeal, but throughout history they have been worn as a way to signify heritage, spirituality, social status and the coming of age. Although ancient Maori designs are some of the most commonly seen styles, tribal pieces from around the world can be used to create unique and meaningful body art. Symbolism can vary widely and often depends on the tribe and the patterns that are used. As these pieces have strong historical significance, it is important to find an artist that is well versed in tribal art, as the culture of each tribe should be treated with respect.

Some of the most popular styles of tribal tattoos are Maori pieces. These designs have a long history of usage and often consist of simple designs that are made large and elaborate by sheer volume. Traditionally, no Maori design was ever duplicated, but most incorporated sharp spiral patterns that twisted and turned around limbs and over the back, stomach or neck. This is true today; however, many people like to add different patterns, as well as relevant symbols to their Maori tribal pieces. Many of these designs are done in black, but more modern styles may also make use of striking shades of red and blue.

Without realizing it, many people choose tribal tattoos that use designs from the tribes of Borneo and Polynesia. Tribal tattooing in Borneo often consisted of thick, black images that left portions of the skin exposed as a way of allowing the design to show through. These pieces are frequently made up of portrait-like images of animals and plants, and are often symbolic of accomplishments, as well as protection and identity. The Marquesan tribe of the Polynesian Islands created body art that took on distinct geometrical patterns, and often mixed these patterns with symbols and pictures. This mingling of images was, and still is, used to express the individuality of the wearer.

Haida and Celtic tribes also offer stunning tribal tattoos that can easily be adapted to modern body art. Haida pieces often consist of sharp lines that mingle with or make up the image of symbolic creatures, astrological emblems, plants or elements. Bears and eagles, suns and stars are some of the best known of these symbols, and they are often printed onto the skin in black and red ink. Celtic tribal pieces are frequently made up of slender, dark lines that are twisted into elaborate breads. These breads are often made to look like meaningful items like crosses, trees and animals, but are more commonly used to create simple and attractive patterns.

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  1. angel Said,

    there some good tatoos but the best are the tribal tatoos and devil tatoos coz they bring out the animal in you they instigate that feeling of you being the best there is as in you feel mthe other you i n your skin that demond in you should be unleashed .

  2. taylor Said,

    how can i find out what each tribal tattoo means?

  3. Dingle Said,

    That tribal tattoo above where it has 3 pictures on his chest arm and side looks the worst doodling i have ever seen whoever did that aint no artist to be honest its quite shocking .and the cover up on his arm WTF!

  4. Kelsey Said,

    i love them all i wish i could get them all

  5. Nicolaj Said,

    Damn how nice tattoo’s !

  6. anaru1 Said,

    i hate people who try to copy ta moko , or maori tattoo it to me is very disrespectful and these
    people are walking around with my culture on there arm and dont have any idea what it means
    what my people are about. so before people get these tattoo i suggest you go to new zealand
    and get the real thing as it has to be blessed or you will find that it will bring nothing but heart ache
    and bad luck……..

  7. Tasha Said,

    Hey, I think these tattoos are great.
    I’ve got 4 already and looking forward to my next.

  8. sam Said,

    i agree with anaru1 if u don’t know what ur tattoo means and its not done right then it shouldn’t be on your body. Its disrespectful to the culture of the tattoo and it could say or do something nasty to ya.

  9. Stacy Said,

    I have 4 tats of 2 that I researched…..One has specific meaning to me and is my fav. I try not to disrespect anyone. I will research any other tat I get. All of mine are tribal and reflect my being. ;)

  10. old school Said,

    It’s your tat people, you’re stuck with it, get what you want….who gives a d@mn what others think or “their” belief on the meaning. They’re just trying to be a somebody and act like they know something.

  11. chibi Said,

    i want a samoan tribal tattoo on my lower back

  12. Con-Ink-Tattoos Said,

    in the middle pic… i see that big cover-up spot… looks like a lion head underneath… if so how many sessions of home tattooing are you going to go through before it is finally covered right and for good…??? just curious…

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