Among various tattoo designs, tribal tattoos always take up important position. This particular kind of tattoo 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.
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.
Full front body Hawaiian tattoo with rich symbols – sun, shark teeth, ocean, shells
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, 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.
Samoan inspired tribal sleeve tattoo
Other Polynesian tattoos
- Hawaiian tattoos
- Tongan tattoos
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.
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.
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.
Polynesian shoulder tattoo
Tribal skull tattoo
Tribal inspired feminine tattoo – butterflies at tribal flames
Tribal phoenix back tattoo2
Tribal phoenix back tattoo
Filipino tribal tattoo done by Jonathan Cena
The tribal leg tattoo features dark color and tribal elements, i.e., shark teeth.
Celtic sleeve tattoo
Dragon tattoo back tattoo
Polynesian tattoos girl
Elegant tribal tattoo design for girls
Japanese geisha tattoo
Japanese tribal letter tattoo design
Maori back tattoo
Maori back tribal tattoo
Maori tattoo colour back
Maori tattoo polynsien
Maori moko tattoo
Tribal chest sleeve tattoo
Tribal Angel tattoo
Tribal lion tattoo
Tribal dragon tattoo for women
The custom Japanese dragon tattoo is fused with tribal style, a perfect piece for oriental women.
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.
Shark Ray and honu tattoo
The feminine style mixing Polynesian and Hawaiian tribal tattoo designs makes it perfect tattoo for women.
Full back tribal ray tattoo
Perfectly match the available area of body canvas.
Custom design of Full back tribal ray tattoo for men
Custom tribal ray tattoo on chest
signifies strength and power.
Feminine tribal ray back women tattoo
The tribal inspired lion sleeve tattoo represents the power and strength
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.
Tribal inspired tattoo – tribal dragon tattoo
Polynesian Tattoo for women
Polynesian half sleeve Tattoos for Men
Henna tribal tattoo
Excellent design blending tribal design in henna style, full of tribal elements
Half body tribal tattoo
Filipino tribal tattoo
Filipino Kalinga Tattoo Freehand
Cool tribal tattoo
Amazing tribal tattoo
Tribal tattoo design
Tribal pattern tattoo for Man
This unique design is composed of round tribal sun patterns in dark color, awesome design for men.
Tribal tattoo for man
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 tattoo
The geometric patterns of Samoan tattoos are widely used in the masculine tattoos for men.