Types, Meaning and Photos of designs

Meaning of tribal tattoos


Tattoos may seem quite a current fashion, but the reality is that it is an art that has been practiced for many centuries. Although we do not know the exact origin of the appearance of these body drawings, some designs such as tribal symbols can be considered as one of the first styles that have been used within this body art.

Tribal tattoos have their origin in some ancient tribes such as the Maori, the Celts or the Polynesian tribes, among others. Unlike the aesthetic value that a body drawing currently has, in these populations this art was practiced for social, religious or ceremonial reasons. But what did these geometric shapes drawn on the body mean? Then, in the next article of a COMO we will explain what is the meaning of tribal tattoos and what types of designs exist within this millenary style.

Meaning of Maori tribal tattoos

One of the most recognized styles is the maori tribal tattoo, which arose in the tribes of Eastern Polynesia located in New Zealand. Traditionally, the most used design was the "moko", a Maori facial tattoo that was drawn all over the face (in the case of men) to indicate some data of the person who wore it as their social status, the trade and their achievements. The moko was also within tribal tattoos for women and men since its female version also existed, where the design covered the chin area.

In addition to this design, there were other types of Maori tattoos that are also performed today. Next, we will show you the most outstanding Maori tribal:

  • Maui design: This tattoo represents Maui, who tells the legend that he was thrown by his mother into the sea thinking that he was born dead. However, Maui arrived at the shore of Aotearoa (Maori name of New Zealand) where he learned to be an excellent fisherman and navigator. Because of this legend, tattooing Maui fishing represents all the achievements of a person in his life.
  • Marquise Cross: if you are looking tribal tattoos on the arm and forearm, the Maori cross can be an excellent option for you. The Marquise cross has a very important meaning within this culture as it symbolizes harmony, peace and balance between the essential elements of nature (that is, between earth, air, water and fire).
  • Maori turtle: It is a suitable design for both men and women. It is a very important symbol in this culture since being an animal that can move both on land and in water, the Maori used them to transport them to their place of eternal rest once they have died. In addition to this meaning, it also symbolizes peace, life and good luck.

Here you can learn more about the Meanings of Maori tattoos and see more designs, apart from these below.

Meaning of tribal tattoos - Meaning of Maori tribal tattoos




Celtic tribal tattoos and their meaning

The ancient Celts were a civilization that expanded through different parts of Western Europe such as France, Ireland, England and Scotland, so the tribal tattoos that arose within these populations were related to their culture, language and customs. However, Celtic tribal tattoos can be distinguished from other styles such as Polynesians or Maori, because they were generally very intertwined geometric drawings and full of decoration.

Next, we teach you images of celtic tribal tattoo designs and the meaning from each of them:

  • Triskel: It is a tattoo that women generally used and is characterized by a spiral of three arms that are joined in the center of the drawing. Each arm of the triskel had a meaning: the first arm represented the limits and capabilities of our senses; the second symbolized thought, conscience and reason; and the third spiral represented the path of the gods and the soul. This design was also done many times with an outer circle, which was a symbol of the world and the infinite.
  • Triquette: It is one of the oldest Celtic symbols and was formed by three pointed ovals joined together with a stroke. This Celtic tattoo represented the three dimensions of the universe. However, it was also a symbol that granted the power of the three forces and marked the path between life and eternity.
  • Celtic knot: It is one of the most popular tribal tattoos since it has different designs and meanings. However, the best known meaning of the Celtic knot is that it was a talisman that attracted good luck. In addition it was also a symbol that represented infinity, birth and destiny.
  • Celtic Spiral: if you are looking tribal tattoo designs on the shoulder, the Celtic spiral is one of the most popular options in these cases. In Celtic culture, this infinite spiral symbolized eternal life, life force, growth, day to day life and reincarnation.

If you like Celtic tattoos, here you can learn much more about Celtic Symbols and their ancetral meaning. These are some original designs of celtic tribal tattoos.

Meaning of tribal tattoos - Celtic tribal tattoos and their meaning




Meaning of Polynesian tribal tattoos

Polynesia is formed by the different tribes that inhabited (and continue to inhabit) the islands of the Pacific Ocean that are formed by the group of New Zealand, Samoa, Easter Island and Hawaii. Within Polynesian culture, tribal tattoos were not performed for decorative purposes but were a way to capture with a variety of geometric shapes, the different aspects of the person who marked the body as his story, family, spiritual beliefs and its social rank. In addition, due to the techniques employed, the Polynesian tattoos they were very painful, so doing them was a bravery symbol tattooed on the warriors of the tribes.

Among the best known Polynesian tattoos we find on the one hand, the etua which was a spiritual and magical symbol that protected men with the power of the gods. And on the other hand, the Enata which was a representation of nature and therefore, for its realization different animals or the shape of their teeth were used.

As a larger sample of the symbolism of their tattoos, we recommend this other post about Samoan Tattoos and their meanings.

Meaning of tribal tattoos - Meaning of tribal tattoos of Polynesia




Borneo Island Dayak tribal tattoos

The Borneo Island tribes (located in Southeast Asia) they also used tribal tattoos to represent different aspects of their culture. Among their different designs, the borneo tattoos they generally represented scorpions, dogs, dragons, flowers and spirals drawn with striking tones and were protection symbols And Of the testimony of the pride of the person to belong to his tribe and his achievements within the community. These drawings also had a more spiritual meaning, since they could also be used to honor the spirits of their ancestors.

Finally, another of the best known meanings of the Dayak tribal tattoos from Borneo Island it is that the warriors of the tribe tattooed a rose on their shoulders when they cut off the head of their enemies thus representing their value in battle.

Meaning of tribal tattoos - Dayak tribal tattoos from Borneo Island



Haida tribal tattoos

The tribe of the Haida It was a population located in northwestern America well known for its tribal tattoos in the form of animals. Within these designs, the Haidas marked their bodies with animals, bears, fish and beavers, as well as some part of them, such as the claws of bears or the feathers of different birds.

For this tribe, these types of designs did not have a decorative character, but were used because they believed that by marking the body with a certain animal, they took part of their strength and power.

Here you can see some Haida tattoo design ideas.

Meaning of tribal tattoos - Haida tribal tattoos




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