Have you ever seen someone with a tribal tattoo or two and thought to yourself “wow that’s tacky.” Come on, we’re sure you have. After all, tribal tattoos are large in size, bold in design, and black in color. They can look a bit gaudy if not done well.
But tribal tattoos have a deep history, and rich meanings behind their intricate designs. While modern tattoo artists have adapted common tribal tattoos to cater to their clientele, real, legitimate, tribal tattoos are very distinct in nature, and hold very high significance to individual cultures throughout the world.
Here are just a few we’d like to mention…
Haida Tattoos- Haida is actually a Native American tribe residing in the Northwestern part of the United States. The tribe has been known for their absolutely gorgeous woodcarvings, which include images of various animals. Their woodcarvings also look a lot like their traditional tattoos. It’s even said that getting a Haida traditional tattoo of a certain animal will give you the positive characteristics of that animal, like strength and courage.
Maori Moko Tattoos- Traditionally, the Maori tribe of New Zealand features tattoos on the faces of their people, which they call “moko.” The moko tattoos that tribe members receive are extremely thought out, and designs reflect a person’s social status in the community, personal and professional achievements, as well as what they do for a living. The tattoos are different for both men and women, where men have their entire faces tattooed in the traditional style, while females are tattooed on the mouth and chin area. According to the Maori, moko tattoos have the ability to transcend time and death, as they will be the only way to tell the story of your life after you die.
Polynesian Tattoos- The Polynesians were really the first people to pioneer tattoos. In fact, they came up with the word. Tattoo is actually derived from the Polynesian word “tatau,” which is exactly what you think it is. Not only were tattoos used as a symbol reflecting the culture, but also as a form of language. While the Polynesian islands encompass a number of smaller, individual islands, it was said that the people living on the Marquesan island were all tattooed. Yes, every single person was tattooed, but at which age they received them we don’t know.