Tribal tattoos are a huge category of tattoos, within which we can find cultures from all over the globe, with techniques and designs between the most various meanings. Hard to say what is a tribal tattoo, except that it is an ancient symbology used by many tribes to communicate among its members and with other communities. Today it is perhaps a little “abused” in the West the use of these symbols, which generally lose, in modern humans, the “modus” of communication for which they were born.
In particular, tribal tattoos, also because of the “artisanal” techniques with which they were executed, were stylized to symbolize religious, social and family status, but even simple luck and protective talismans or amulets of love to find the right person.
Tattoos could only be practiced, very often, in the tribes, from a certain age, or after special tests of courage or reached a certain status, such as marriage or the period of fertility.
The meanings could be the most different, and certainly different from tribe to tribe, from continent to continent. It is therefore easy to imagine that moving in the galaxy of tribal tattoos is not easy, and every ethnic group, or each category, from the religious to the talisman, should be investigated separately.
SOCIAL STATUS AND TRIBAL TATTOOS
How many times reiterated, tribal tattoos are born within the archaic communities to communicate certain social status, or religious, or at least is only as talismans. They were not, in their original function, a way of beautifying the body, as it does today Western man, but a way to communicate to others.
So the chiefs could use certain tattoos to communicate to the members of their community, their leading position or to other communities, so that another head was safe to talk to the right person, and that person was in turn sure that his interlocutor was speaking on behalf of his tribe. A little as the seal of a king of days gone by, or today’s letterhead, tattoos were also the function to referencing the person.
But the Warriors used tattoos to advise other “members of the army”, of their “degree”, or even to intimidate their enemies.
In particular, specific tattoos showed in their “comrades” its war resume, and the opponents their valor in battle, often expressed as the number of enemies killed. These warriors tattoos were considered very important, and often intimidated the other hand, in the face of very experienced fighters.