What is the origin of Tribal Tattoos? Tattoo culture originated among the ancient tribes all over the world, especially in the south pacific islands. As opposed to the artistic expressions tattoos are done today, tribal tattoo culture was an integral part of the tribal customs and rituals and believed to be done for the spiritual, medicinal or strategic purpose. As a result, the tribal tattoo art was signified by bold and prominent tattoos often representing an animal, nature, tribal deities, the sun, the moon, fire etc. Contemporary tattoo art which is aligned to this form of tattoos is popularly called Tribal tattoo art.
What is the meaning of Tribal tattoos? Tribal tattoos forms have varied meaning and significance. More than any other form of tattoo art, tribal tattoos should not be done without complete understanding the meaning of a particular mark or symbol and their significance in your life and experiences. Each mark or symbol has a special meaning and represents a life experience, which of course imply that not everyone can get any tribal tattoo mark on their body unless it 'belongs' to them.
Polynesian tattoo culture or more commonly knows as Samoan tattoo art originated as a form of written language as their ancient language has no written form. Tribals used to wear varied symbols or marks on their body representing their life journey or achievements.
Even the word "Tattoo" is derived from the Polynesian or Samoan word 'Tatau' or 'Ta Tau'. It is believed to mean - "Striking till we reach a satisfactory conclusion of completion".
Other words from Samoan language related to tattoos:
- Pe'a - It literally means a flying fox. The word also refers to the traditional Samoan tattoos for men.
- Malu - It refers to the Samoan tattoo for women. The literal meaning is believed to be "to be protected".
- Soga'imiti - Which means a young man who has completed his tattoo.
- Taema and Tilafaiga - The siamese twins who are believed to be the originator of Samoan tattoo culture.
- Toupou - The village maiden who has an important role in tattoo ceremony.
What are different types of Tribal tattoos? Tribal tattoos today are mainly classified as:
- Polynesian Tattoos or Samoan Tattoos: Originated in the south pacific islands especially Samoa, Polynesian tattoo art is the most prominent of all the tribal tattoo cultures of the world. It's traditional motifs and marks are extremely complex and detailed.
- Maori Tattoos: Maori is the indigenous tribe of New Zealand. Maori tattoo art or 'Moko' has been brought in from Polynesia but has developed into an amazingly original body art over the centuries by Maori people. Face tattoo is the most significant kind of Maori tattoos and is extremely revered. The most amazing thing about Maori tattoos is that till date no two true Maori tattoos would be similar. Maori tattoo artist is traditionally called 'tohunga ta moko'.
- Japanese Tattoos: Japanese tattoo art or "Irezumi" is the body art developed in Japan and its origin can be traced back to 10, 000 BC. Apart from its social significance, tattoos were used as a form of punishment in ancient Japan and this practice was called "Bokukei". The most prominent Japanese tattoo element is the 'koi' or fish. Japanese tattoo artist is called "Horishi".
- Other major types of Tribal tattoos include Egyptian, Aztec, Chinese, Hawaiian tattoos.
Making Ancient Tattoos Art: Tribal tattoos were also combined with scarification in many cultures and tribes. This was because there weren’t needles in many areas of the world in order to place the ink nicely into the skin. The person getting the design would have incisions made into the skin, and ash or soot rubbed into the cuts. This healed leaving a stained black or grey scar, having both texture and color.
Here are some Tribal Tattoos to follow and to research on it. And if you like you can make a tattoo on your body in order to get attention or to specify your tribe or culture.