A Modern Twist on a Primitive Art
It’s no wonder that tribal tattoo designs have become so popular in today’s
culture. In fact, the art has been practiced and handed down for thousands of
years. For this reason, it’s highly likely that a great many of the tattoos
you’ll see today will have a tribal slant to them. The majority of tribal
tattoos are created using a black ink and your natural skin tone to create intricate
designs, patterns and pictures.
Some popular designs include:
- Tribal suns (some of the first tribal tattoos were of suns, to honor sun
gods and the element of fire)
- Celtic knots
- Tribal armbands
However, modern tribal tattoo art doesn’t have to limit itself to ancient
or primitive designs. It’s just as easy to find tribal fairy tattoo designs,
tribal skull tattoo designs, tribal angel tattoo designs and tribal barbed wire
Why are Tribal Designs so Popular?
The popularity of tribal tattoos lies in the meaning behind them. In ancient
times, tattoos were used for two primary reasons: to mark a person as a member
(or nonmember) of the local group or to express religious, magical or spiritual
beliefs and convictions. Those same reasons a prompting more and more men and
women to seek out tribal art tattoos.
The appeal lies in the fact that having this tribal art, regardless of the
symbol or the country of origin, is that it helps us to reinforce our positive
feelings about ourselves, and allows us to connect in some way to an element
of mysterious ancient activity. By simply limiting the number of colors you
use and the way your lines are drawn and suddenly, a simple dragon, butterfly
or eagle has transformed itself into a totem to be worn proudly and permanently.
A Brief History of the Tribal Tattoo Art
The widely popular tribal style of today can be traced back to the Pacific
Rim and Southeast Asia. Even the word “tattoo” is said to have derived
from that area. Polynesians used the word “tatao” meaning “to
tap”. Tahitians used the word “tatu”, which means to mark
something. Tattoo, the word most commonly used today, was said to have been
penned by Caption Cook when he explored those same areas.
It is rumored that this ancient style of tattooing found its way into America
and popular culture when Ed Hardy (a leading tattoo artist from the San Francisco
area) loaned a notebook to the Los Angeles artist, Leo Zulueta. From then on,
it’s, well…history! The work featured in the notebook was based
on the work of the Dyak people of Borneo. Now, though, tribal tattoo designs
include any number of styles including: Native Indian, North American Native
American, Pacific Northwest American Indian, African, Egyptian, Mayan, Aztec,
Hawaiian, Samoan, Maori (who popularized tribal facial tattooing), Japanese,
Chinese, Hindu, Polynesian, Inuit, Pagan, Oriental, Aboriginal, Magical, Celtic,
The Final Destination for Your Tribal Design…
Fortunately for tribal art enthusiasts, there is hardly any place where a tribal
tattoo CAN’T go!
Probably the most popular of all is the armband, be they flames, barbed wire
or intricate knot work. Tribal suns are great for chests and shoulders. There
are tons of tribal designs that are ideal circling places like navels and nipples.
There is also some really amazing tribal art designed for the upper back, and
some very seductive pieces fashioned to adorn the lower back or tailbone area.
The fact remains that when it comes to tribal tattooing, it can work for anyone-
male or female, young or old. All you need is a little creativity and a great
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