Tribal tattoos are one of the main sources of inspiration when choosing a motif to adorn our bodies. These drawings with curved and geometrical shapes have very aesthetic effects and offer an infinity of possible motifs. Although popular today for purely aesthetic reasons, tribal tattoos responded (and still answer today) to very specific tribal social and cultural identification rituals.
Tribal tattoos history
Tribal tattoos have been used since the dawn of time by many tribes and civilizations all over the planet. We know from a reliable source that the man had already resorted to tattoos more than 5000 years ago, testifies the body of Otzï, the “Man of Mirrors” found in Tyrol a few years ago in an incredible State of conservation, and whose body possesses about sixty tattoos. The Egyptian mummies also keep traces of tattoos, and this for more than 4000 years. Engravings over 15,000 years old show men whose bodies are covered with tattoos, and some archaeological work estimates that tattoos appeared more than 30,000 years ago. In other words, tattoos are an integral part of human history.
Tribal tattoos are based on geometric shapes based on long, thick, symmetrical curves, with often pointed tips that resemble flames or spears. They were used notably to distinguish the tribes among themselves, but also to distinguish certain individuals within the tribe, such as tribal chiefs, best warriors or the most seasoned hunters. They therefore have a function both of belonging to a group and of differentiation. They could make it possible to distinguish the origins of an individual, his social status or his religious beliefs.
Tribal tattoos are suitable for both men and women, and can be found on any part of the body. For women, they are mostly found on the lower back and hips, belly, wrists and ankles, while for men they serve to emphasize their strength and musculature, so they are found mostly at the level of the arms, Torsos, shoulders and back. Tribal tattoos often use the curves of the body to embellish it. In women, they often had a vocation of seduction.
They are a mixture of abstract patterns made of very complex lines and repeated geometric patterns but whose purpose is to represent natural elements such as fire, water, wind, or animals.
Polynesian tattoos are among the most well-known tribal tattoos and the main source of inspiration for these. Each island or region has its own specificities, such as Maori, Samoan, Tahitian tattoos, etc. The tattoo was realized as a rite of initiation in adolescence, with motifs chosen according to the social group of the individual but to represent his personality. Other motives are then added as the life of the individual evolves.
Polynesian tattoos combine an infinity of motifs, representing the relation of man to his natural and supernatural environment: the gods (Tiki), the elements that surround him (sea, sun, trees, sun, moons etc.). ) And many animals (turtles, sharks, dolphins, lizards). Discover the meaning of Polynesian tattoos.
Maori tattoos are also well-known tribal tattoos. Unlike Polynesian tattoos, with which they are often confused, they are mainly realized on the face and constitute a true identity card of the individual. Social status, genealogy, personality, craft, knowledge …, the face of the Maori can be a true biography.
As tribal tattoos, we can also mention the Berber tattoos, a group of peoples distributed in the Maghreb region. There is the function of social status, but in this case, they also responded to rites of magic and sorcery. Berber tattoos also had the vocation of removing the evil eye and attracting luck and fortune.