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MAIN Arrow to Art Art & Culture Arrow to Body Art Body Art Arrow to Tattoos Tattoos Arrow to Tribal Tattoos Tribal Tattoos

traditional maori shoulder & half sleeve tattooFor its unique look, and its historical connections to ancient and mysterious rituals, the tribal tattoo has become one of the most popular tattoo designs ever - especially among trend-setting celebrities.

Boxer Mike Tyson goes for in-your-face tribal look. Sandra Bullock has a tribal tattoo just below her navel, while former Bay Watch babe Pamela Anderson has a tribal design on her lower back.

However, among the famous who are inscribed with a tribal tattoo, the one who wears it most authentically is wrestler and actor, Dwayne Johnson - better known as The Rock - who is of Samoan descent and has a tribal half-sleeve tattoo on his left upper arm and shoulder.

Samoan, in fact, was the language that gave us the Polynesian word tatau, or tattoo, which was later adopted by early European sailors exploring the South Seas where tattooing had been practiced for thousands of years.

Also originating in Polynesia, the Maori migrated to New Zealand around 1000 AD and brought with them the custom of blackening their faces for battle. The abstract lines were later permanently applied as tattoos, most notably in ta moko face designs that became a rite of passage and status symbol for young Maori warriors.

Elsewhere in the South Pacific, the graceful swirls of Borneo's ancient tribal designs are one of the most popular today, and sometimes incorporated with Samoan motifs in a 21st century reinterpretation of Oceanic art and modern primitive.

On the Web, discover more on the topic in virtual travel tours, photo galleries and feature stories about the history, mystery and wild popularity of tribal tattoo designs ...

More information about tribal tattoos around the Web:

Starting our Tribal Tattoo Journey
- Take the virtual tour through Borneo, San Francisco, Hawaii, Yokohama, Japan, Polynesia, the Bering Sea, Alaska, Philippines & Scotland with extensive photos, history & tribal tattoo trivia, from Vanishing

Captain Brett's Tribal Tattoo Photos - Huge collection from the Newport, Rhode Island studio featuring dozens of tribal tattoo photos and a brief history of tribal art & symbolism.

Tribal & Blackwork Tattoos - Visitor-submitted photos of their favorite tribal tattoos in hundreds of picture galleries, but be prepared to register to view the entire collection.


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