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Tribal tattoos are one of the most common types of tattoos today and they have a long history. Since ancient times, to present days tribal tattoos keep their popularity.

They have stood the test of time. They continue to improve their beauty and complexity, thanks to skilled contemporary artists. We’ll walk you through the history of tribal tattoos to take you to the work of modern award-winning artists.

Anikaaro Harawira tattoo (1)

Tribal tattoos origins

Mankind always had tattoos. Before the birth of civilization, ancient men and women wore tattoos. This is proven by the discoveries of frozen mummies, dating over 5000 years B.C. Tattooing had religious significance to indigenous cultures from all continents. Tattooing was used to mark societal differences or status and had a spiritual purpose.

Desmond Kaleolani Alexander tattoo (5)
The tribal tattoo, the way we know it today can be found in the history of the Celtic tribes, Maori tribes, Haida tribes, Polynesian tribes and the tribes from Borneo. The present style is a reimagined variation of the traditional tattooing while keeping the original raw look of heavy black patterns and ornaments.

michelangelo tribal tattoo (1)
The Celtic tribes used images like birds and other animals, as well as spirals in their traditional tattoos. The Maori tribes originating from New Zealand used to tattoo their faces, with a lot of decorative elements. The Haida tribes, which are North American, tattooed animals, like birds, bears, fishes and also human faces. They used to believe, that the animal tattoo brings some of the animal’s strength to its wearer.
Polynesian and Borneo tribes both included an image from their world, history, and lives. These tribes were heavily tattooed and their tattoos were their symbolist language.

tribal tattoo up to date (3)

Tribal tattoos today

Modern tribal tattoos are different in the way they use elements from other styles. Artists are more aesthetically involved, rather than spiritually, in the process. The tribal tattoo today still keeps its meaning, but it’s more personal to the author of the tattoos. Tribal tattoo wearers need to have great knowledge about their history, otherwise, they’ll just have a pretty tattoo and potential offend the history and personal meanings contained within tribal art. Today’s tribal artists specialize in particular styles. They explore their specifics, symbolism, and meaning, both modern and ancient.

jim orie tribal tattoo design (2)

Best tribal tattoo artists

Here we list some of the best artists in a Polynesian tattoo for 2016, working in tribal style:
Anikaaro Harawira, Dmitry Babakhin, Tikiroa, Desmond Kaleolani Alexander. Deano Robertson, Jean Michel Manutea and Jim Orie. Oh, and the artist Michelangelo, which you need to start following now. They have proven their unique skills in tribal tattooing.
Just check out these amazing tattoo artists and you’ll see why tribal will always be up to date!

tribal tattoo up to date (3)

tribal tattoo up to date (2)

tribal tattoo up to date (1)

michelangelo tribal tattoo (4)

michelangelo tribal tattoo (3)

michelangelo tribal tattoo (2)

jim orie tribal tattoo design (3)

jim orie tribal tattoo design (1)

jean michel manutea tribal tattoo (4)

jean michel manutea tribal tattoo (3)

jean michel manutea tribal tattoo (2)

jean michel manutea tribal tattoo (1)

Dmitry Babakhin tribal tattoo (3)

Dmitry Babakhin tribal tattoo (1)

Desmond Kaleolani Alexander tattoo (4)

Desmond Kaleolani Alexander tattoo (3)

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