Tribal tattoo art is becoming more prominent every day. These unique designs which have a symbolic meaning for many tribes are worn today for decorative body art. Tribal tattooing began many years ago with countless traditional tribes. These tribes had tattoos for many reasons including spiritual, to identify families and clans, marriage, rites of passage, as totem animal guardians and for love spells and charms. Below is a few of the popular tribes that we admire and wear their style of tattooing.
- Polynesian - There are many different styles of Polynesian tattooing such as Maori, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian and Marquesan. Every island has its own style but the similar characteristics of them all are the bold black abstracts and figurative designs. Some popular Polynesian symbols include the shark, turtle, dolphin, manta ray, gecko and tiki. The meanings of these tattoos include traditions, tribal ancestors, tribe rituals, legends, proverbs, mythologies, social and religious values.
- Maori - Traditional Maori tattoos are known as Ta moko and they consist of bold intricate patterns in distinctive curved shapes and spirals. The meanings of these tribal tattoos would celebrate important events throughout life and represent strength, courage and status. They depict nature as movements of rhythmic and cyclic patterns.
- Hawaiian - These tattoos have been around for thousands of years and are usually very large and bold geometric designs. Some common shapes and symbols used are fish, birds, turtles, sharks, waves, rain and the sun. Hawaiian tattoos have meanings such as tribe membership, celebration, self expression and some are done simply for adornment.
- Native American - Tattoos for the Native American people have more of a spiritual significance and represent a connection with the earth. Popular tattoos are animal tattoos such as the eagle which carries a great religious significance. The wolf is also a sacred tattoo design that is a symbol of loyalty and success. Some more Native American animal tattoos are: bears, coyotes, horses, owls, fox, deer, turtle and frogs. Another favored design is the kokopelli which is regarded as a symbol of fertility. Other Native American tattoos are designs that depict elements of nature such as fire, wind and water.
Tribal tattoo art is not only decorative and unique, but it represents the symbolism of traditional tribes and their cultures. These tattoos have been proudly worn for many years and they continue to grow in popularity every day.