Throughout recorded history tribal tattoos had various purposes but were mainly a means of identifying members of a particular group or clan. This enabled you to easily identify one another, or recognize distant relatives. But it was also generally believed that your tattoos would allow you to find your tribe and join it again in the afterlife. Today, fraternal orders, gangs, members of the military and other organizations also have designed tattoos that are recognizable to their fellow brothers and sisters. This allows members to form a close bond or kinship around particularly significant symbols. In the case of street gangs, it enables members to readily identify friend from foe. In Asian cultures certain tribal tattoos are a personal history of accomplishments. In the organized crime world of these cultures it can also describe rank and allow your inclusion to very secret societies. While these tribal tattoos may have fallen out of favor with the general public there has recently been a resurgence of the motif. Even to the extent that it’s now rare not to see the tribal design. And a trip to your local tattoo parlor would probably present thousands of examples of this simple yet exciting tattoo genre.
Tribal tattoo designs account for nearly a third of all tattoo design search requests. The term "tribal" of course covers an astonishing array of tattoo design possibilities, from the traditional tribal tattoos of indigenous and aboriginal cultures, to the latest in graphic design for the body. There were three major factors that took the practice of tribal tattooing from the realm of art and into the plane of the spiritual: pain, permanence and loss of blood. This mystical trio elevated the tattoo from a mere art form and transformed it into a chance to draw people into a relationship with the gods, magic powers or vision quest. Many of the tribes from Borneo believed that tattoos would not only be enough to get them to the proper spirit world, but that their tattoos also offered them special qualifications for advantageous occupations upon their arrival. It has been found that most primitive tribes used some form of body marking in various rituals. Some include tattoos, scarification or the use of temporary body paints. This art prevailed worldwide until the arrival of civilization as we know it, when the tattoo fell into a temporary loss of popularity. It was until the 1990′s that the tribal tattoo designs began to gain popularity once again.
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