Tribal Tattoos and Their Origins

Over the last handful of years, tattoos have become a lot more mainstream and far more people are getting them than in the past. While there are a ton of different styles of tattoos that can be obtained, one of the most popular and classic styles of tattoo is tribal. Tribal tattoos have a long running history and are perhaps some of the first tattoos that were ever put on a person’s body.

Tribal Tattoo Origins

Where tribal tattoos originate from is stated right in the name, as tribes used to mark their bodies with tattoos to signify their tribe of people. You can think of tribal tattoos as a way of identifying a person, in terms of where they are from and what region they belong to. Some of the first tribes to use these types of tattoos were the Maori and the Celtic, as well as the majority of island chains in the Pacific Ocean and French Polynesia.

Purpose of Tribal Tattoos

While the majority of people that get tattoos today are simply getting them because they like the way they look on their body, as it has a sort of sub culture that is appealing to a great deal of people, they meant very different things to the people who started them. Tribal tattoos were really only a means of identification and were not being used as a way to modify their bodies to make them more appealing to the eye. Tribal tattoos have been a major way for tribes to identify each other, which was a lot more important when things were a lot more primitive. Tribes around the world essentially speak their own language, made up of their own words in their own dialect, so communication was something that was a lot more difficult than it is today, although there are a lot of areas of the globe, particularly remote island areas, where this is still how things are. Tribal tattoos were a sort of unspoken way of letting other people know who you are and where you are from, which could literally have meant the difference between a peaceful engagement or a violent one.

Getting a Tribal Tattoo

If you want to get a tribal tattoo the way they were originally done, you may have to go through a lot more pain than getting a traditional tattoo. In tattoo shops around the world, tattoo guns are used, which are essentially machines that allow a tattoo artist to draw on a person’s skin. Originally, tattoos were done by using a sharp pointed object, such as a needle with a hollow center, which is dipped in ink. The object is then placed on the skin and tapped on the other end, which implants ink several layers under the skin, creating a dot of the tattoo. This continues over and over until the desired design is completed. While you can still get a traditional tribal tattoo in this manner, as there are a bunch of areas of the world who still tattoo like this on a large scale level, most people these days prefer to walk into a shop and get tattooed with a professional machine.

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