Tribal Tattoos: History of the World’s Most Common Tattoo Design

The term “tribal tattoo” is something that gets thrown around often, but it can actually have two different meanings. These days, “tribal tattoo” has most frequently come to be a way to refer to a specific tattooing style characterized by areas of solid black and curving, abstract forms. However, tribal tattoos are much more than that. This term can actually also refer to the long, extensive history of tattooing amongst tribal people in places all over the world, especially among the Maori, Samoan, Iban, Chinese, Japanese, and Celtic cultures.

If you’re a tattoo lover, artist, or simply have an interest in the origins of tattooing practice, learning about the long, fascinating history of tribal tattoos can truly enrich your understanding of where tattooing comes from and what it has come to mean today. In this article, we’ll explore the rich, extensive history of tribal tattoos from their largely Polynesian roots to the adoption of them by North American culture, as well as where they may be expected to go in the future.

It’s undeniable that this tattooing style and practice has become an important part of our culture. Here, we explore why that may be the case.