The history and origin of tribal tattoos

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tribal tattoos

From the beginning of time to the current ages, tribal tattoos are still preferred by people. Every person that gets a tattoo has a specific reason for it. For some, getting tattoos is a way of expressing themselves while some find having tattoos rebellious, daring or sexy.

Have you ever wondered why tribal tattoo art is so popular among everyone even though they choose to design anything on their body? Well, tribal tattoos have a captivating history which is discussed below.

The History of Tribal Tattoos

As you know, Samuel O’Reilly invented the first tattoo gun in 1891, but long before him, a lot of different cultures had already embraced the skill of tribal tattoos.

Following are some examples.

Polynesia: In the ancient Polynesian traditions, every male and female was tattooed. In the Polynesian culture, having tattoos represented a lot of different qualities like family, sexual maturity, tribe, and rank.  

Each Polynesian Tattoo had a deep bond with spiritual rituals and rivalry. Many different cultures in Polynesia considered tattoos a part of their life including Tonga, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Samoa.

Central America: In the ancient Aztec civilization, tattoos were used to represent symbols of war achievements and social status. There were all kinds of warriors that had all kinds of tattoos like tattoos of Gods, which provided them protection and strength during the fights.

Throughout Central America, there are some other popular tribal tattoos like demons, wild animals, ghosts and etc. Another very popular design was the Mayan calendar (which predicted the end of the world would come in the year 2012).

Egypt: In Northern Africa, Historians have found many mummies that had tattoos dated back to the 2000 BC. In the earliest era, it was a religious practice for the High priestesses to adorn their entire bodies with tribal tattoos, not to mention their arms.

Mummies found also had tattoos were related to the transformation, sun worship, and fertility. Egyptians believed that tattoos had the power to cure diseases and give relief from evil spirits.

Britain: The people of Britain might not seem like the kind of individuals to wear tribal tattoos, but they are. The Celtic knots and crosses come way before Christianity ever existed.

The ancient people that were named “Picts” exactly meant “painted people.” There are also some other Celtic designs other than crosses and knots such as, trees, birds and some other facets of nature which were a part of their tribal tattoo art.

Southeast Asia: In different parts of Southeast Asia including Thailand, there are a lot of monks who have “Sak Yant” tattoos. These fascinating designs integrate ordered paths, ancient Buddhist prayers, magical Khmer scripts, and ancient Buddhist prayers. These tattoos were believed to provide protection to warriors during battles.