Tribal Tattoo

Tribal Tattoo
For the most part tribal tattoos are derived from ancient tribal art. In many cultures, getting tattooed was (and still is) a rite of passage. Modern tribal tattoos are based on ancient designs. ... These cultures use their art to depict rites of passage, social status, and family identification. Tribal art is the visual arts and material culture of indigenous peoples. Also known as ethnographic art, or, controversially, primitive art, tribal arts have historically been collected by Western anthropologists, private collectors, and museums, particularly ethnographic and natural history museums.
Tribal tattoos are a popular choice for first tattoos. They're simple to design and most tattoo artists have made at least one in his or her career. Because they are usually inked only in black, they tend to hold up well with age and wear. At the same time, for the same reason they are difficult to remove and cover, especially if they include thicker lines and larger designs. Tribal Tattoos and Their History Tribal tattoos get their bad reputation due to their resurgence in popular culture thanks to the “back to nature” mindset that began in the late 80’s and became a trademark of Generation X. Gen X-ers, particularly in the late 80’s and early 90’s, delved deep into indigenous cultures around the world. They co-opted a number of cultural assets ranging from clothing styles to food and, eventually, body modification which included tattoos and “gauged” earrings or “plugs”. The most important aspect of this cross-cultural adoption was the introduction of tribal tattooing to the modern American counter-culture that ultimately eliminated  the historical and cultural ties between traditional tribal tattoos and the people choosing to have these designs tattooed on them. The Origin and Tradition of Tattooing in Island Cultures The style of tattooing commonly referred to as “tribal tattoos” has an incredibly long tradition reaching back over thousands of years. Many of the tattoo styles we are familiar with today were rooted in tribal tattooing in one form or another. Tribal tattooing began as a style of tattooing that is (or was, at least) unique to a particular culture or sub-culture, typically as a means of differentiating themselves from other local tribes or cultural groups. The purpose of the tattoo in tribal culture Of all the remaining primitive tribal tattoos left in the modern world, the styles we associate with the term are really a bastardized blend of traditional Maori, Polynesian, and Samoan tattoo styles. In their respective cultures, these tattoos were used to identify wearers as members of a specific tribe, displayed their social status, and in some cases were employed in medicinal and religious rituals. The figures and shapes used in these tribal tattoo styles were often representative of animals or other elements of nature and tribal life. Depending on the design elements used, these tattoos told a story. The tattoos of warriors often included animal and other nature-inspired designs that illustrated the warrior’s strength and prowess in battle. Images that represent the sea were also common as all of the cultures associated with tribal tattooing have traditionally lived near the ocean.
Traditional tribal tattoos: distinct styles Most of us are familiar with the modern tribal tattoo, but you might be surprised to see how little the modern tattoo style resembles the traditional artwork. While modern tribal tattoos adhere to a barbed, flowing, and often “tangled” looking design, traditional artwork in the tribal style was incredibly varied. The variety of styles from one tribe to another and from culture to culture were necessary to serve their original intended purpose: to help give the wearer a distinct physical appearance that could quickly and easily associate them to a specific tribe. Tribal styles often included short line elements, circles, patterns utilizing lines and/or chevrons, and in some cases large sections of solid black bands akin to the modern tattoo style called “blackwork”. All of these elements could be employed or just a single element depending on the tribe. Placement on the body was also of importance and could symbolize the wearer’s status within the tribe. It was very common to see patterns that formed a sort of “woven” look using a combination of patterns that set wearers apart not unlike the tartan plaids of Scottish clans. Modern tribal tattoo designs By and large, the tribal tattoo in modern culture is purely aesthetic. In addition to losing their original symbolism, modern tribal tattoos often incorporate modern images, designs, and subject matter, but employ the flowing shapes common to the traditional tribal tattoo style. There are a growing number of people who choose to wear these tattoos to celebrate their own cultural heritage, as well. The wearing of these tattoos by people who are not culturally or historically tied to them has tainted the art in the eyes of the general public, though those within tribal communities still respect them for their original purposes. In tattoo cultural at large, the modern tribal tattoo is mostly considered trite, a tired trope for the artistically ignorant or unimaginative. It’s not necessarily true for all tribal tattoo wearers, but its a common enough occurrence to warrant its widespread belief.
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