Tribal Tattoos For Men & Women – Amazing Designs & Ideas

The Origins of Tribal Tattoos & Tattoo Art in Polynesia

Tribal Tattoos For Guys ImageHistorically there was no writing in Polynesian culture so the Polynesian’s used tribal tattoos & tattoo art that was full of distinctive signs. They  used this to express their identity and personality. Tattoos would indicate status in a hierarchical society as well as sexual maturity, genealogy and ones rank within the society. Nearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society was tattooed.

The Polynesian islands that were first visited were the Marquesas Islands, which were found by European explorers. The Spanish navigator, Alvaro de Mendana de Neira, in 1595. The European navigators showed little interest due to the lack of valuable resources.

Captain James Cook was the first navigator trying to explore the aforementioned Polynesian triangle.

The Year 1771 The Word “Tattoo” Appears In Europe

Tribal Tattoos BullIn 1771, when James Cook first returned to Tahiti and New Zealand from his first voyage. This is when the word “tattoo” appeared in Europe. He narrated the behaviours of the Polynesian people in his voyage, which he called tattaw. He also brought a Tahitian named Ma’i to Europe. Since their arrival tattooing started to become rapidly famous. Predominantly because of the tattoos of Ma’i.

There were legends of sailors emblazoning tribal tattoos on their own bodies. European sailors liked the Polynesian tattoos so much that they spread extremely fast in Europe is another.

The tradition of Polynesian tattooing existed more than 2000 years ago. However in the 18th century the Old Testament strictly banned tattooing. Since it’s revival in the 1980s, many lost arts were revived. However problems did arise such as sterile tools. Because of that, the wooden and bone tools that were used for the tattooing process were banned the Ministry of Health in French Polynesia in 1986.

The revival of the art and practice of tattooing, particularly in Tonga. In recent years is predominantly referred to as a result of the work of scholars, researchers, visual artists and tattoo artists.

Tonga and Samoa

Tribal Tattoos Manta Ray Back PieceIt was in Tonga and Samoa that the Polynesian tattoo developed into a highly refined art. Tongan warriors were tattooed form the waist to the knees with a series of geometrical patterns. These designs consisted of repeated triangle motifs, bands and areas of solid black.

Priests who had undergone training and followed strictly prescribed rituals. Taboos frequently took place during the tattooing process. For the Tongan people, the tattoo had profound social and cultural significance.

Ancient Samoa Tattooing Important in Religious Rituals

In ancient Samoa, tattooing also played a important role in both religious rituals and warfare. The tattoo artist held a hereditary and by the same vein, a highly privileged position. The artist tattooed groups of six to eight during a ceremony attended by relatives and friends. A Samoan warrior’s tattoo began at the waist and extended to just below the knee.

Tribal Tattoos ButterflyIt was not unusual for Samoan women to be tattoo as well. The images were limited to things such as a series of delicate flower-like patterns geometrical in shape, on the hands and lower parts of the body.

Around 200AD voyageurs from Samoa and Tonga settled in the area of Marquesas. Over a period of more than 1000 years one of the most complex Polynesian cultures that evolved was Marquesan.



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