Origins of tribal tattoos
go back for thousands of years. The oldest tattooed body ever, the famous Ã–tzi mummy, was found in Italy. It belonged to a man died more than 5000 years ago, who apparently wore something like 57 tattoos consisting in decorative lines and dots: the first tribal tattoos in history.
Originally tattoos were a way to go along with the natural human feeling of belonging to something bigger, beyond our individuality. Thus tribal tattoos were the natural way to declare one’s membership to a group, a tribe. Today gangs, Mafia organization (just think of Yakuza in Japan) but also military members and student fraternities use tattoos to explicate their membership.
The popularity of tribal tattoos today depends on the same factors that made them popular thousands of years ago.
Tribal tattoos are cool
Were cool and will always be cool. Aesthetic has always been one of the major factors in tattoo popularity. Denying this point would be hypocrite. In every culture, whenever people chose to express themselves with tattoos, aesthetic has always been of primary importance.
But if beauty is today probably the most important aspect considered by those who choose to get inked, it has not always been so.
Tribal Tattoos are a form of art that has survived for thousand of years, not just because it was cool. There is much more behind a tribal tattoo. The connection with one’s tribe or family has something spiritual. The pain was a test a person had to endure if he wanted to be honored with a tattoo symbolizing his tribe. The loss of blood and the peculiarity of permanence inherent in every tattoo connected people with the eternal and divine world of gods.
Today tribal tattoos are usually chosen for their beauty. They decorate some more ore less little part of a body, like the lower back or arms surrounded by and armband tribal tattoo. They are particularly loved by women as sexy ornament for their body.
Nonetheless, tribal tattoos would not be so popular without their thousand-year history which makes them so fascinating even to people who know nothing about it.