20+ Deep Tribal Tattoos with Meaning and Heritage

Tracing the tattoo tradition


20 Slides

last updated:

Tribal tattoos as the name suggests are more than just designs or elements. Tribal tattoos are the works of culture and tribes originating from hundreds if not thousands of years ago. When one decides to wear a tribal tattoo it is like wearing someone’s culture, therefore it wouldn’t hurt to know a bit about their origins, what it conveys and how it was used.

Tattoos, especially tribal, are deeper than the design that it portrays. For example, some tattoos are specifically used to put on slave’s shaved heads for when the head grows back it serves as a message. Another example is some African tribes where women used to wear specific tattoos to show their personality, tribal identity, and much more.

Some of the famous tribes for tattoos are African Tribals Tattoos, Slavic Tribal Tattoos, Native American Tribal Tattoo, Filipino Tribal Tattoo, Samoan Tribal Tattoo, etc. Each of these tribes adopted a specific structure and design that makes it look different than the other ones.

A fun story, when Vikings were growing as a tribe, they used tattoos as a means of pride where they would tattoo “Blood-Eagle” on their backs when they would win over an enemy.

A lesser-known fact is that tattoos also served as messengers during wars. Spies would tattoo a specific body part with a specific design so that their army would know they are from their side and wouldn’t harm or kill them. And that is the origin of the tradition of tattoos having a deeper connection with the military. Nowadays, tattoos depict what a marine has accomplished or at least what they believe in.

Let’s talk about some famous tribal tattoos:

African Tribal Tattoos

Africa has been the land of valour and courage, that’s exactly what their tribal tattoos try to depict. Heavier on shading sometimes they are big on figurative elements with a lot of faces and animal figures. Storytelling for African tattoos always remains their backbone of everything.

Indian Tribal Tattoos

As we know, India is the land of gods and so are their tribal tattoos. Inclusion of gods with elements of history makes up a good Indian tattoo. The trick is to know what god one is about to get tattooed. Each god has a different purpose and so is the reason to get that god tattooed on one’s body.

Samoan Tribal Tattoos

Samoan Tattoo falls under a bigger category of Polynesian Tattoo. However, Samoan tattoos are connected to sentiments with a lot of islandic influence. There are inclusion of different elements that make up for a tattoo altogether but that’s the beauty of it. It is designed in a way that it is catered to each individual. By the way, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has one on him.

These are few common ones but there are so many more that meet more than the eye. It is indeed a gesture and a statement that one chooses to show the world.

Although it is fading slowly as a culture, some people are keeping it alive!

Related topics Tattoos