Back in the early '90s, tribal tattoos became huge when metal bands donned their arms with tribal wrap-around designs. Today, it's not just tribal armbands- it's back tattoos, stomach and chest tattoos and even tribal ankle tattoos that are big news in the tattoo world. Each carries it own significance that can be very personal to the tattoo wearer.
What do you think of when you hear "tribal" tattoo? Most people think of the classic jagged wavy tribal design that heralded the 1990s tattoo craze. Contrary to popular belief, there are many different tribal designs available. Many ill-informed tattoo "beginners" simply aren't aware of the various designs. As a result, many settle with the tribal armband. With a little exploration, you can find a diverse collection of tribal tattoos that use the curves of the human body as its canvas.
Tribal tattoos all have the several things in common: predominance of dark ink throughout entire design, gratuitous use of wavy lines and circles, and the use of non-solid design for pictures. All of these elements give tribal tattoos a very unique identity. Where traditional tattoos are prided on strong detail and color, tribal tattoos seek the ultimate simplicity and ambiguity.
Tribal tattoos can be further split into two categories: pictorial and abstract tribal art. Pictorial tribal tattoos use the wavy and circular lines to show a picture. Pictorial tribal tattoos usually depict an animal or fish, the most common being birds, snakes, cats and dolphins. Pictorial tribal tattoos are great because it can take a while to truly see the animal under the tribal design. Abstract tribal tattoos are completely ambiguous- they do not form a specific animal or picture. Abstract tribal tattoos have the advantage of mystery and can be easily changed if you want something different later on.
Tribal Tattoo Animals: Which one's for you?
If you want a pictorial tribal tattoo, you're next challenge is to decide what animal or creature you want to depict. Maybe you already have an idea of what you want. Or, maybe you're completely lost. Don't worry- we'll set you straight about the most common tribal animals and their common meanings.
One of the most popular tribal animals is a hawk or bird. In almost all cultures, a hawk is recognized for wisdom, knowledge, prophecy and rightful war. Another very popular animal is the cat. A jaguar is seen as the harbinger of power and messages from the gods. The lion is associated with the sun, majesty, power and courage against adversity. Yet another popular animal is the snake, partly due to its spiraling design. The snake symbolizes reincarnation, fertility and good luck. Finally, dolphins are also very popular. Dolphins represent kindness, purity, redemption and intelligence.
Of course, any animal you can imagine has some sort of tattoo design available. Even imaginary creatures are popular in tribal design. Designs that include unicorns and dragons are very popular. Unicorns represent healing, integrity, purity and chastity. Dragons, especially Eastern dragons, represent good luck, fortune, supernatural power and knowledge. Many cultures see dragons as the marriage of matter and spirit (in the form of a bird combined with a serpent).
Here are some more animal meanings that you may be interested in for your tribal tattoo:
* Bears: primal strength and power, intuition, instinctive, motherly
* Boars/Pigs: good fortune, warrior ethos, protective, guardian, directive leadership
* Bees: Rebirth, immortality, messenger between the spirit world and physical world, order and community involvement
* Dragonfly: Shamanism, carefree living, optimism, happiness
* Hummingbird: Swift and decisiveness, optimism, good fortune
* Ram: Power, strong leadership, virility, fertility, accomplishment
* Wolf: Loyalty, guardian, perseverance, intuition
With so many animal choices, you're almost certain to find one that matches your spirit. All of these animals can be found in many designs that can be accessed online in our membership galleries. These galleries give you the best variety and most unique designs available! After all, you're one of a kind. Why settle for a tattoo design that's free and a million other people already have?