70+ Awesome Tribal Tattoo Designs

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Full front body Hawaiian tattoo with rich symbols – sun, shark teeth, ocean, shells

Among various tattoo designs, tribal tattoos always take up important position as this particular pattern of design has been practiced for centuries by the native people of Polynesian islands. The origins of tribal tattoos are always deeply symbolic in ancient times and represent one’s rank and social status. Today, tribal tattoos are interpreted to cover more types of tattoos, tribal groups in Africa, Celtic, Japanese tattoos, etc. A person with tribal tattoo is the representation of strength and often signifies one’s cultural background and personal life story.

What is tribal tattoos?

Narrowly, tribal tattoo is a tattoo pattern influenced by tattoo patterns practiced by indigenous Polynesian people. Broadly, Japanese Yakuza tattoos, some celtic tattoos, Aztec inspired tattoos are also considered to be tribal style. Most of tribal tattoos are featured in weaving or spiral patterns and portrayed in masculine style to represent strength and boldness. Tribal tattoos are favorite tattoo patterns for men although there are increasing adapted designs of feminine tribal tattoos.

Polynesian Tattoos

Polynesia, a group of islands consist of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean in the shape of triangle. including 8 main island groups, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and other small islands. In the past males had to be tattooed between the ages of 14-18 to signifies their mature status. Although identical, there are slight differences between the tattoos of different islands.

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Maori tattoos

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, aka Aotearoa. Moko used to be representation of one’s social rank or status. Today it’s strong visual statement of one’s culture identity. Maori tattoos feature intricate spiral or round lines and patterns with mysterious Maori symbols. Maori inspired designs are found in many of tribal tattoo designs.

Samoan tattoos

Samoan tattoos, practiced by native people of Samoan islands. Samoan Tattoos are featured with quadrangular weaving pattern in dark color. Spiral or round lines are not used in traditional Samoan tattoos although modern Polynesian inspired tribal tattoos could incorporate both patterns.

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Samoan inspired tribal sleeve tattoo

Other Polynesian tattoos

  • Hawaiian tattoos
  • Tongan tattoos

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Tradition tribal tattoos also refer to tattoos inspired by Samoan Tattoos, Hawaiian tattoos, Tongan tattoo, Tahitian tattoo as well as Filipino tattoos. Various of symbolic symbols could be found in the design of tribal tattoos, e.g., shark teeth, ray, sun, ocean, sea turtle, tiki, gecko, shell, etc. Each symbol is rich in meanings. Tribal tattoos are often designed in the style with masculine strength, which makes them typical tattoos ideas for men. In modern tribal tattoos, tribal style could be extended to any designs, tribal flower, tribal cat, tribal dragon,…. Tribal tattoos could be designed in feminine style and be embedded with modern pop elements. So in modern designs, tribal tattoos have become favorite choice for women. Today tattoo serves as a symbol of cultural identity for people of Polynesia. Tribal tattoos are good ideas to help us connect to a mysterious and ancient past and cultures.

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Polynesian tribal tattoo with Enata symbols

Enata is a symbol in Polynesian tattoo designs to represent humans and gods. The two semi-circles in the lower right corner of the picture means the sky, guarding all the Polynesians and their children.

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Hawaiian tribal tattoo

The state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus is a popular ornamental flower for girls in Hawaii. The intricate weaving pattern centered with vibrant hibiscus flower, presenting a strong visual statement off culture identity.

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Polynesian shoulder tattoo

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Tribal skull tattoo

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Tribal tattoos

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Tribal inspired feminine tattoo – butterflies at tribal flames

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Tribal phoenix back tattoo2

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Tribal phoenix back tattoo

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Filipino Tribal TattooPin It

Filipino tribal tattoo done by Jonathan Cena

The tribal leg tattoo features dark color and tribal elements, i.e., shark teeth.

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Celtic sleeve tattoo

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Dragon tattoo back tattoo

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Polynesian tattoos girl

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Elegant tribal tattoo design for girls

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Japanese geisha tattoo

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Japanese tribal letter tattoo design

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Japanese dragon

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Maori back tattoo

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Maori art

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Maori back tribal tattoo

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Maori tattoo colour back

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Maori tattoo polynsien

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Maori moko tattoo

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Tribal chest sleeve tattoo

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Tribal Angel tattoo

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Maori tattoo

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Tribal lion tattoo

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Tribal dragon tattoo for women

The custom Japanese dragon tattoo is fused with tribal style, a perfect piece for oriental women.

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Manta ray tattoo

Manta Ray is a very large distinctive, deep-bodied fish whose body could grow up to 3 m in length. The rays have virtually no symbolism in the western tradition. The Shark Ray is one of indigenous animals for ancient Polynesian people. It is not only rich in meaning but also valued as the source of food and raw materials.

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Shark Ray and honu tattoo

The feminine style mixing Polynesian and Hawaiian tribal tattoo designs makes it perfect tattoo for women.

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Full back tribal ray tattoo

Perfectly match the available area of body canvas.

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Custom design of Full back tribal ray tattoo for men

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Custom tribal ray tattoo on chest

signifies strength and power.

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Feminine tribal ray back women tattoo

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The tribal inspired lion sleeve tattoo represents the power and strength

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Tribal shell tattoo for women

Shell is one of popular symbols in Polynesian culture. Shell used to be used as the currency to exchange food and tools for ancient Polynesian people. The symbol of Shells signifies abundance of wealth, fortune, and good luck.

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Tribal inspired tattoo – tribal dragon tattoo

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Polynesian Tattoo for women by Samuel Morgan Shaw

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Polynesian half sleeve Tattoos for Men

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Henna tribal tattoo

Excellent design blending tribal design in henna style, full of tribal elements

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Half body tribal tattoo

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Filipino tribal tattoo

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Filipino Kalinga Tattoo Freehand

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Cool tribal tattoo

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Amazing tribal tattoo

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Tribal tattoo design

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Tribal pattern tattoo for Man

This unique design is composed of round tribal sun patterns in dark color, awesome design for men.

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Tribal tattoo for man

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Tribal sleeve tattoo for men

The koru, fish hooks and the spiral lines are obvious features distinguishing the Maori tattoo from others.

Samoan adapted-sleeve-tribal-tattooPin It

Samoan adapted sleeve tribal tattoo

The geometric patterns of Samoan tattoos are widely used in the masculine tattoos for men.

4 Comments

  1. So everything that is not American traditional or photo realism is now considered tribal?

  2. The 9th one down I started on the peck part but i want to see different angles of the tattoo so can someone send me pics or tell me what website to go to. Thnks

  3. The Maori and other Polynesians are not tribal. The ‘curls and thorns’ tattoo designs that most people think of as tribal originated from Borneo and have since been adapted and redesigned many times over. If you are looking for a great tattoo then first find a tattooist whose work you love and talk to them about having an original design created just for you. Do not copy exactly another person’s tattoo.

  4. There’s about 5 tattoos in that lot they all Samoan tattoos, you can easily tell by their patterns, but whoever lable them as Maori tattoos, then that’s wrong, there’s massive different between Maori and Samoan pattern, other than that awesome arts btw.

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