There seems to be an explosion in the popularity of tribal tattoos. Specifically, shoulder and back tribal pieces. Everywhere you look, from celebrity to Average Joe, someone has got a beautiful, striking tribal tattoo on their shoulder. Or they have the the tribal tattoo that goes from one shoulder, across the back, and down the other shoulder. Why are they fast becoming the most popular tattoo? How do you choose the best tribal tattoo design for you? Do a little research. Check out tribal tattoo designs in your culture or heritage. You are sure to get tons of ideas. I did a little research on tribal tattoos, and I now have a few theories as to the popularity surge. Probably the most important of all of these theories is that tribal shoulder tattoos look so cool!
Tribal tattoos were used in different cultures to delineate between the tribes. They were also used to distinguish between classes or rank within the tribe. Everyone in the tribe had some form of the tattoo. In most cultures, the tattoos were given in a ceremonial way, to celebrate the passage from childhood to adulthood.
It is widely believed that the Polynesian culture brought us our most popular tribal tattoos. The Samoans, the Maori, the Hawaiians. The most detailed of these are the Maori. These tattoos are intricate and curvilinear in nature. They are based on the spiral which give them such powerful movement within the design. The design begins in the center and radiates out, forming beautiful curves that are filled with pattern. The tribal tattoos were carved into the skin and rubbed with ash. Maori tattoos were placed on the face, back, chest, and arms. The more important you were, the more tattooing you had.
The traditional Samoan tattoo consists of very detailed geometric patterns. Traditionally, they cover a man from his waist to his knees. Woman have the same tattooing, but it is not as detailed or dense. A more modern Hawaiian Tattoo is the shoulder tattoo. Images are rich with geometric design.
The Celts and Danes tattooed their family crest on themselves. The ancient Egyptians tattooed themselves as a form of adornment.
In Japan, woman that were of age and getting married were tattooed. If a woman was not properly tattooed, she was thought to have committed a sin and was sentenced to death. (Yikes!)
The Christians tattooed Jesus Fish on themselves. The Native American Indians tattooed animals and images that linked them to a tribe. The ancient Mexico, the Aztecs tattooed images of their slain enemies.
So, each culture seems to have some form of tattooing in their ancient history. Does our love affair with tribal tattoos have roots in our wanting to belong? Is it pride in our heritage? Is it our personal passage into adulthood? I think it is all of the above. A little bit of heritage, a little culture, a feeling of inclusion. There is nothing like a powerful, beautiful shoulder tattoo that is meaningful to you.
Whatever your reason, tribal tattoos are really intricate in nature, and powerful in design. Find the right one and you will be happy with it forever. Don't spend enough time looking and tweaking the design, and you will be very unhappy. Tribal tattoos are generally large and most have a lot of black. Difficult to cover over, and difficult to remove. Think hard, do your research, find an excellent tattoo artist, and you will be all set. Peace always.