Tribal tattoo designs may be quite contemporary, but actually they are the oldest forms of tattoos. Tribal tattoos have passed through many ancient civilizations. As the name implies, they first came from ethnic groups. These days, tribal tattoos are very popular since many actors, musicians and sports figures wear them. Angelina Jolie wears a neo-tribal tattoo on her belly and Mike Tyson has one on his face.

In the past, tribal tattoos had more significance than today. Having a tribal tattoo was a rite to achieve adulthood in tribes. In some ethnic groups, if a female who could not bear the pain of tattoos was considered to be fragile and bound to stay single since she does not have the tolerance to undergo childbirth. If this happens to a male, he was considered a coward and is not capable of joining hunts.

New Zealand tribes take a lot of pride in their tribal tattoos. The higher is your tribal rank, the more elaborate the tattoos you wear. Tribes in Hawaii use tattoos to show symbolism. They have strong beliefs in tattoo gods. They will pray first to the tattoo gods if they want to have a tattoo done. Polynesian tattoos are considered to be pioneers of the modern ones. James Cook who was a sea explorer landed in Polynesia and when he went back to England, his men sported tribal tattoos that are similar to the neo-tribal designs today.

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