People have been fascinated by tribal tattoos for a long time. In today’s modern world, African tribal tattoos are still widely celebrated.
You will see them in a Western culture very often. Besides their beauty, each design carries a meaning.
If you are new to African tribal tattoo designs and want to learn about their history, read further.
Origin of the African Tattoo Design
Read: Trophy Hunting in Africa
African tattoos came from the African culture. The first African tattoo was found in 1994 BC on a mummy, and some tattoo designs also date back to 2000 BC.
These tattoos are used to protect the wearer from harm throughout his life.
It was considered s a protected mark accompanied by power. In modern society, most tribal tattoo designs are worn for decoration or simply because a person is fascinated with tattoos.
But traditionally, people used to wear them because tattoos protected them from evil spirits. They also considered that tattoos make them more than just humans, and they make the supernatural.
The African Tattooing Rituals and Beliefs
In Africa, people used to choose Polynesian tattoo designs according to their character. Today, you would probably pick a tattoo because it is appealing, but tattoos symbolised bravery, courage, and other virtues that one wanted to possess back in the day.
That’s why they were ready to go through the excruciating process of getting a tattoo marked on different parts of their bodies.
Due to their dark skin, Africans could not choose black dye to get a tattoo. They would follow a process called cicatrisation to get their skin tattooed. As per this process, small openings were created on the skin to form wounded designs.
Ash was then rubbed on the wounds to make them heal fast, and the scar would become permanent.
The pain associated with the process was also used to evaluate the person’s strength, and it would reveal whether a person is strong or fragile.
Females who couldn’t bear the pain were bound to remain single for their lifetime since it was believed that they would be able to go through the pain of childbirth.
Males who couldn’t take the pain were considered cowards and were not allowed to go hunting with the rest of the male crowd.
Fortunately, today, anyone can get a tribal tattoo design on their skin regardless of colour since multiple coloured inks are now available. The process has become fast and less painful due to the use of machines.
Africans considered that the person with the most tattoos ranked higher. That’s why the chiefs used to get the more intricate designs. It was a part of the culture for women to get tattoos on their chins and lips.
Africans also referred to tribal tattoos as their gods since tattoos were considered a way to protect themselves and heal. They used to pray to ensure their tattoos looked attractive.