In this selection of ink, we bring together Haida, Polynesian, Maori Tattoos and more. Tribal tattoos have long held fascination for many. They are an emblem of the history of human expression; they are the embodiment of the enduring tattooing tradition. They were also, in part, the inspiration behind every modern tattoo that you see today. Deeply influential, beautiful, and indicative of so much tattooing history, culture, and community, that they hold a very special place within our hearts!
A very interesting fact about tribal tattooing is that it is not a trend: it is a tradition, but one that continues to gain popularity. There are many particular reasons for this...some people are trying to regain their cultural roots by embracing sacred rites, while others, who may or may not have indigenous roots, simply resonate with the practice of blackwork patterns and abstract designs.
Perhaps, in part, some of these people are just trying to return to the ancient ways of life...it may be a romantic way of thinking, but when tribalism ruled, the sacred still existed. Now, with our cell phones, cars, taxes, our connection with the spiritual way of life, our connection with nature, has been broken. Tribal tattoos, such as the Maori tattoos and more within this article, may seem abstract to the untrained eye, but they illustrate the deepest currents of life within them.
As you may know, Polynesian tattoos often symbolize the natural world, whether in animal form or beyond. Haida tattoos are also known to show reverence for natural life: animals are the backbone of this particular style. The iconography is used not only for tattoos, but for totem poles that, often, recall legends, clan lineages, and notable events. Marquesan tattoos, originating from the Marquesas Islands of the South Pacific, are recognizable for elements such as geckos, turtles, and, again, homages to the natural world that surrounds island peoples.
But what is most important to understand about these tattoos is that they are not merely decorative ink. They are intrinsic to the persons culture, beliefs, life story, and more. They are the embodiment of the wearers personality, history and family. Many of these pieces are deeply sacred, and are often created as a ritual by masters of the tattooing craft. For example, Marquesan tattoos, like Maori Ta Moko, are a rite of passage for a person who goes from adolescence into adulthood. Many women receive particular designs or tattooed areas as a way to signify that they are ready for marriage. And while some people like to use these designs for their own contemporary, non-affiliated, tribal tattoos, it's usually best to find someone who knows the intricacies of these iconic blackwork ink illustrations on skin.
But in the end, as with any tattoo, you need to find a tattoo artist who can give you exactly what you need. If you aren't looking for the perfect Polynesian piece, Haida inking, or Maori Ta Moko, but are just interested in making a tribal tattoo yours, there are many tattooists who use these ancient practices as inspiration respectfully. We hope this collection will inspire you on your journey to receive the tattoo of your dreams! And, of course, if you need any more help, with our Tattoodo App you can easily book a tattoo artist in your area who specializes in the styles you love. Just reach out if you need anything more!