Tribal tattoos have been popular for decades due to their intricate, cool designs. Historically, tribal designs were used as a means to differentiate between local tribes and cultural groups as well as a way to demonstrate fighting ability and social status. Although tribal tattoos are primarily rooted in ancient traditions and cultures, today’s ink most closely identifies with guys wanting that badass look associated with power and strength.
If you’re considering this type of tat, it may be difficult to pick the best tribal tattoo. With so many cool tattoo ideas out there and so many different body parts to get inked, it’s important that you choose the right drawings that represent you. Whether you want a tribal tattoo on your sleeve, shoulder, arm, forearm, chest, back, or leg, you’ll love our collection of pictures below!
Here’s our guide to the top 75 best tribal tattoos for men!
Tribal Tattoo Meanings
When you get a tribal tattoo, it’s important to understand the symbols and meanings behind them. Tribal tattoos today often blend ancient symbols with modern culture. The interlocking spiral motif is often paired with sharp edges to evoke a more powerful image.
Of course, different cultures used certain geometrical images to portray specific motifs, but in today’s world that’s not always the case since tribal tats are simply sought and appreciated for their artistic beauty.
South American Tribal Tattoos
As scary as the Mayan predictions were for some people, their tribal tattoo motifs are equally intriguing for tattoo enthusiasts. The artwork of South American tribal designs is usually more complex than others. You can find numerous references to both good and evil symbols on any given South American tribal tattoo.
Some Hawaiian traditional men’s tribal tattoos depict shark’s teeth on them. It may look like just another use of geometrical figures to outsiders but for those familiar with the Polynesian culture, they have meaning. The shark tooth is said to symbolize protection.
Some tattoos are used to show someone’s status among the tribe. The Rock’s most recognizable tribal tattoo is the mark of a chief-warrior.
Celtic Tribal Designs
Celtic knots are popular and also come with history and meaning behind them. Celtic warriors were often inked in their ancient methods with various tribal designs. Some were meant to show power, wisdom, and union, while others were used almost like charms. There are many Celtic tribal tats for bringing luck and fortune to the ones who wear them.
Of course, not everything has to mean something. Because of the increased popularity of these designs, sometimes cool tribal tattoos for guys are just tattoos. Tattooing is a different kind of art and you don’t always have to search for hidden meaning in abstract ideas.
Best Tribal Tattoo Ideas
As tattoos are becoming less taboo, it’s obvious that there are no more limitations on what part of the body you should or could ink. Instead, let’s have a look at some of the more popular body parts to get a tribal tat.
Tribal Arm Tattoos
In plain sight and with plenty of canvas to work on, tribal arm tattoos are popular for males of all ages. The skin is not as sensitive so it’s easier to commit to long tattooing sessions.
Tribal Forearm Tattoos
Very similar to the arm area, tribal forearm tattoos are also preferred as this placement is easy to show off the design. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, then a tribal shoulder tattoo might offer the perfect location to easily showcase or conceal your artwork.
Tribal Sleeve Tattoos
Full Sleeve Tribal Tattoo
Tribal Shoulder Tattoos
Tribal shoulder tattoos may be the most popular spot to get this type of ink. This is because tattoos on the shoulder can easily be hidden under a dress shirt or regular t-shirt. Similarly, the shoulder muscle is sizable enough to prominently display this powerful ink.
Tribal Leg Tattoos
If you’re looking for tribal tattoos for your leg, they’re not hard to come by. Just like the arms, leg tattoos offer a great skin canvas when it comes to tribal designs. You can make use of the Celtic knots and wrap them around your calf, or make a strong statement with more sharp and abstract images.
Tribal Back Tattoos
Tribal back tattoos can be absolutely awesome and intimidating. It’s not uncommon to see the upper back inked with tribal designs that usually extend towards the shoulders. There are even plenty of tribal patterns that make use of the spine to better represent an image.
Tribal Hand Tattoos
Although the most visible part of the body, some men prefer tribal hand tattoos. While we don’t recommend this area because the bones in the hand make this a very painful place to get inked, if you’re dedicated enough, a hand tattoo can be done.
Tribal Chest Tattoos
Using the chest for a tribal tattoo location is rarer than you might think. Generally, you would see tribal chest tattoos that come down from the shoulders or extend upwards from the sides. Using only the chest for a tribal drawing may not do the intricate patterns enough justice.
Cool Tribal Tattoos
In modern day, the Polynesian, Samoan, Maori and Hawaiian cultures have become closely associated with the tribal tattoo, yet other ancient cultures such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Egyptians, Japanese, and Chinese have crafted their own depictions of the body art style. Some of the best tribal tattoos are created by blending elements of several designs into one.
If you’re excited about getting a tribal tattoo for men, then you’ll need plenty of designs and ideas before taking one to your tattooist. Check out these awesome tribal tattoos to find which one you want!