Tribal Tattoos: Why Are They So Popular?
Tribal Tattoos: Why Are They So Popular?
From ancient times to the modern era, tribal tattoos have remained popular throughout the years. Learn more about why this popular style has stuck around.
Did you know that over 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo?
Some get tattoos as a means of self-expression. For others, tattoos make them feel sexy, rebellious, or daring.
While we can’t say for certain which tattoos are the most common, tribal tattoos definitely rank high on the popularity list.
What makes the tribal tattoo design so popular? How did they get started? What meaning did they have in the past–and what meaning do they hold today?
In this post, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of tribal tattoos. Read on to learn more!
The History of Tribal Tattoos
Long before Samuel O’Reilly invented the tattoo gun in 1891, cultures around the world had embraced the art of the tribal tattoo.
Consider a few examples.
Historians have found tattoos on mummies in northern Africa that date back to around 2000 BC. In ancient Egypt, it was common practice for the High Priestesses to decorate their bodies with tattoos, especially on their arms.
Other mummies have been found with tattoos that are thought to relate to fertility, rejuvenation, and sun worship. It was also believed that tattoos could ward off evil spirits and cure certain diseases.
Almost everyone in ancient Polynesian cultures–male and female–was tattooed. Tattoos were used to identify tribe, rank, genealogy, and sexual maturity. Tattoos were also closely linked with warfare and religious rituals.
Tribal tattoos were part of life in many different Polynesian cultures, including Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, and New Zealand. In fact, the word “tattoo” first entered Europe after explorer James Cook returned from his voyage through Tahiti and New Zealand in 1771.
Britain may not immediately come to mind when you imagine a tribal tattoo. But the elaborate Celtic knots and crosses date way back to before Christianity ever reached its shores.
The “Picts” were an ancient people whose name literally meant “painted people.” Aside from crosses and knots, common Celtic designs include birds, trees, and other aspects of nature.
In ancient Aztec society, tattoos were used as symbols of social status and war achievements. Warriors often had tattoos of deities, which were believed to give them divine protection during battle.
Ghosts, demons, and wild animals are other popular tribal tattoo designs throughout central America. The Mayan calendar, which predicted the end of the world would come in 2012, is another popular design.
In Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, you’ll see monks and tourists alike sporting sacred “Sak Yant” tattoos. These eye-catching designs incorporate geometric patterns, animal images, ancient Buddhist prayers, and magical Khmer scripts.
The practice goes back thousands of years to when it was believed these tattoos would protect warriors in battle. The tattoos were created using bamboo–a practice still common in that part of the world today.
Modern Tribal Tattoo Designs & Meanings
As you can see, the art of the tribal tattoo transcends time, culture, and continents. They were used for centuries to identify, protect, and empower those who wore them.
Of course, most of us today don’t believe that tattoos offer magical powers or protection from evil. Most people select tribal tattoos for their aesthetic beauty or to celebrate their cultural heritage.
Still, if you’re considering a tribal tattoo for yourself, it’s interesting to know the origin of the design.
For example, some of the most popular tribal tattoo designs are Samoan in origin. These abstract or geometric designs are generally black and may include animals, sun rays, or ocean swirls.
Tribal tattoo designs on the face are typically Maori. Originating in New Zealand, these striking tattoos are synonymous with rank, prestige, and social status.
Other popular tribal tattoo designs and patterns include:
- Abstract patterns
- Geometric designs
- Vertical masks
- Phoenix bird
There’s virtually no limit to the design you can create for a tribal tattoo. That’s why it’s essential to find a talented tattoo artist who can create the perfect tattoo for your vision.
Considerations for Your Tribal Tattoo
Before you make any final decisions about your tribal tattoo, here are a few important factors to consider:
Tribal tattoos can be soft, swirling, and looping. They can also be bold and jagged with hard edges.
Which style feels right for you? You might also consider a blend of the two for a more unique look to your tattoo.
Many people associate tribal tattoos with solid black, which they certainly can be.
But have you considered any shading or shadows? What about one or more colors to accent the main parts of your design?
You can also go with full, bold colors to really make your tribal tattoo stand out. There’s no right or wrong answer–it’s whatever what you want it to be.
A final consideration is where you’re going to place your new tattoo on your body. The upper arm or lower leg are popular choices for tribal tattoos, but they’re not the only ones.
Men might consider a tattoo that stretches across their upper back or creates a sleeve on their forearm. Women can get creative with placement on their lower back, foot, or hand.
Ready for Your Next Tattoo?
Now that you know more about tribal tattoos, how are you feeling? Are you ready to create a tribal design that’s perfect for you?
We invite you to contact us to discuss your ideas with one of our professional tattoo artists. Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Henderson, or Maui, we’ve got you covered.
Wondering what we’re all about? Check out our testimonials page to see what our satisfied customers have to say about our work.
Stop by our Maui Tattoo Shop, Las Vegas Tattoo Shop or Henderson Tattoo Shop
Getting a Tattoo with Mom
Getting a Tattoo with Mom. Much thought and consideration goes in to getting a tattoo. Deciding where to place the tattoo, exploring meaningful designs that speak to you, and finding the right artist who can bring your vision to life are key to getting the life-lasting piece of art you desire. Another important aspect to consider is who you share your tattoo experience with. Friends, siblings, and significant others may come to mind, but what about mom?
Whether this is your first tattoo or you have already been inked, getting a tattoo with mom will likely be an exciting experience for both of you. You will be able to look back on the big day and reflect on how you both felt throughout your experience. This creates an opportunity to entertain other family members and friends by telling them about the experience, like sharing who was more nervous or trying to explain what getting a tattoo feels like. But most importantly, getting inked together will create new memories that you and mom will always share, and can look back on.
Exploring designs that are meaningful to both you and mom will likely foster communication. This may bring up past memories, challenges that you have overcome together, or family goals for the future. No matter what the planning process unearths, it will hopefully leave you and mom feeling more connected than when you first began your tattoo journey together.
While there are endless possibilities of tattoos that you and mom could get, a great place to start is looking at your common interests. Finding a way to represent your shared love of reading or travel are examples of this. Sayings, lyrics, or quotes that remind you of the strength of your bond are great options also. Designs that symbolize family are meaningful examples as well.
Getting a Tattoo with Mom by the Skin Factory Tattoo shop !
If you would like more tattoo ideas, have further questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us.
Size Doesn’t Matter: Why You Should Consider a Small Tattoo
Small Tattoo – There are literally millions of different tattoos and so many popular tattoo trends posted on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. In a world where possibilities are endless, it’s hard to choose which tattoo is right for you. If you’re planning to get inked for the first time, or you simply don’t want something too big, then the “tiny tattoo trend” might be perfect for you.
Great for Your First
Thinking about getting your first tattoo probably makes you both excited and a little nervous. That’s perfectly normal. It’s a big step. It’s smart to ease yourself in. You don’t have to go big or be dramatic with your first. In fact, consider going extremely small. Tiny tattoos have increased in popularity because they’re cheaper, less painful, and they don’t cover too much skin. It’s the perfect scenario for someone who’s never gone through the tattooing experience before. Get your feet wet before diving in.
Small Tattoo in Size, Big in Personality
Just because a tattoo is tiny doesn’t mean it’s not important, beautiful, or special. In fact, tiny tattoos are often very deep in their meaning and represent something very important. A tiny airplane for someone who loves to travel, a band around your finger instead of a wedding ring, a small cross, or a music symbol are examples of small tattoos that carry a lot of meaning.
If you’re getting a tattoo that originates from a book or movie that you love, going small tattoo could mean more, as a fan, than getting an entire sleeve. Several Harry Potter fans have shown themselves as true Potterheads by getting tattoos of the three tiny stars that are found on the top of the book pages and small lightning bolts. These tattoos hold significance and will be recognized by true fans. It’s a way to show your support without being overly obvious. And, of course, this method works for more than just Harry Potter.
Say I Love You
Tattoos are a great way to show love. Getting tattoos with a personal message to someone else is a popular trend, but, since it’s permanent, it makes some people nervous. Getting something small, instead of making a physically “big gesture” is a great way to ease your anxiety. If you want to get a tattoo that matches your sisters, or a mother-daughter tattoo that shows your special bond, then think small. Get a tiny heart on your ankle, or tiny matching flowers. If you love your dog and want the world to know you’re a proud puppy parent, get tiny paws prints tattooed on your wrist or ankle. Show your love for your kids by getting a tiny tattoo of their birth date or time. These tattoo designs are filled with lots of love despite their size.
Tiny tattoos aren’t insignificant or meaningless. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to ink. What matters is the reason for the tattoo. So, if you’re nervous about covering too much skin in ink, or you’re getting a tattoo for the first time, consider going small. For more tattoo ideas, or to set up an appointment, please contact us.
Your First Tattoo – Tips for a Lifetime Commitment
Your First Tattoo – We’ve all seen them. Those tattoos someone got as a teenager that they are still living with well into their 30’s or 40’s. Maybe it’s a lower back tattoo of stars and swirls (circa 2003), or barbwire around their bicep. Tattoos, just like anything, can be trendy. If you are about to get your first tattoo it can be tempting to go with the status quo and do what everyone else seems to be doing. This is a lifetime commitment, though, so here are some tips to making sure it is a commitment you are ready to make.
- Take your time– Maybe you saw a cool design on Pinterest and you want to replicate it. To avoid regretting a copy-cat tattoo, ask your artist to give you a temporary of the design. Live with it for a day so that you can be sure you want to live with it for a lifetime.
- Make it Meaningful– Watercolor tattoos are gorgeous and all the rage right now. No judgement on wanting one. However, don’t just pick a random design because you like the idea. When you have a tattoo that means something to you (whether it is a symbol, quote, date, etc) it is much less likely you will hate it 15 years from now.
- Do Your Research– Don’t pick any random tattoo artist. This is not an investment you want to do price comparison on. A good artist will be more expensive because he/she has more experience, and better technique. Make sure you ask to see portfolios and look up reviews. The last thing you want is your dream of an intricate tattoo coming out looking like a cartoon character.
- Follow After-Care Instructions– When your artist tells you not to pick at your peeling skin, believe them. They know what they are talking about. The healing process is an important part of the integrity of the tattoo.
If you think you’re ready for your first tattoo, and you’ve put a lot of thought into it, contact us, we’d love to help you make a meaningful statement.
Celebrate Your Love Of The Outdoor With A Nature Tattoo
Do you love nature and want to celebrate it in any way possible? Try getting a great nature tattoo. We’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest nature tattoo ideas we’ve ever seen, and we think they suit a wide range of people.
Forest Background On Your Back
There’s nothing more “natural” than a gorgeous and expansive view of the forest. Celebrate your love of nature by getting a beautiful view of multiple trees tattooed along the top of your back. Make sure to choose multiple trees and to get them colored accurately. This creates a gorgeous tattoo style that will look great on you.
Do you have an animal which you really connect with on a deeper level? Then you should consider getting a spirit animal tattoo. These look great on any part of the body, such as along the arm or even the leg. You can also include a saying or a description of the animal to further cement your connection.
Spending time on a lake fishing or just hiking is very spiritual for many people. Celebrate your favorite lake by getting it tattooed on the middle of your back. Add nice details, like ducks, loons, and fishing boats, to make it an even more immersive tattoo. Try to get catch a fish jumping out of the lake to make a really fun style.
If you are interested in getting a meaningful nature tattoo like this, please contact us today. We can help you find the tattoo of your dreams and get it on your body ASAP.
Call the talented tattoo artists at the Skin Factory Tattoo & Body Piercing shop in Las Vegas on 702 435 1149 or our Lahaina Tattoo Shop. Let’s plan your tattoo masterpiece !