Tribal tattoos are generally influenced by tribal art from native and indigenous tribes. The tribal tattoo art comes from the older tribes such as the Celtics (Ireland, Scotland, & Wales), the Maori Tribe (indigenous people of New Zealand), the North American Tribal, the African Tribal, the Marquesan (Polynesian inhabitants of the Marquises Islands) and the tribes of Borneo.
Celtic Tattoo Art
Celtic tattoo art come from Ireland. Celtic knot tattoos are some of the most popular and most common designs, featuring loops with no end that symbolize a never ending cycle of dying and rebirth. There are also Celtic cross and animal tattoo designs as well
Mori Tribal tattoo Art
The Maori, the aborigines of New Zealand, call their tribal tattoo "Moko" and Mori art is incredible to behold. To the Maori, a person's Moko designs enhanced their prestige and show transition from one social status to another. At its highest level, Moko designs proclaimed the sacredness of chieftainship.
North American Tribal Art
There are many Indian tribes in North America and many different traditions for tribal tattooing. It was very common for tattoos to denote rank within the tribe. Take the Illinois Indians for example. It was quite common for weapons of war to be tattooed upon the men and it is suggested by some that the women received tattoos of tools used for labor. The tools of war outranked the tools of labor. This was, to the best of my knowledge, their tradition. They seemingly kept their practices to a minimum.
Samoa Tribal tattoo art
The Samoan tribal tattoo was done with a carved boar tusk, sharpened with a piece of coral, attached to a turtle shell, and then affixed to a stick. This tool is used to carve the designs into the flesh by tapping it against the skin and then a mixture of candle nut soot and sugar water is rubbed into the resulting wound.
Marquesan Tribal tattoo art
Sea-faring Polynesians from Samoa colonized the Marquises Islands as early as 300 A.D. They were warring tribes who sometimes cannibalized their enemies. Marquesan art is very uncommon. Most tribal tattoos are done with one specific object and the size variation is minimal. This is not so with the Pacific.
African Tribal tattoo art
Tribes in Africa do not use pigment for tattooing, they cut the skin and either the wound is packed with a substance so that it becomes raised or it is rubbed with ash or sand until the wound rises up, then the scar is the tattoo.
Borneo Tribal tattoo Art
Borneo is the third largest island in the world. The Dayak people reside here for centuries, they believe that spirits are in everything around them. For this reason they believe that by tattooing an object or creature on them they can draw energy from these spirits.