Top 77 Aztec Tattoo Ideas – [2021 Inspiration Guide]
The Aztecs operated under a system of structure, ritual, and superstition that included tattoo as a part of everyday life. Aztec tattoo was important to their amazing worship of the sun and displays of art and culture.
Aztec imagery developed a variety of intricate designs, patterns and motifs that focused on repetition and development of shape, pattern, and geometric structures, and this style has flowed through to contemporary tattoo culture.
Aztec design is almost always etched in richly detailed black and gray and looks to deliver the stone aspects of their ancient cities and totems, as well as celebrating warriors, women, and images of bravery strength, and spirit, such as Aztec Eagle Tattoo.
Read on for an insight into Aztec civilization and the 77 best tattoo designs, featuring a range of stunning tattoos in a range of placements and degrees of detail.
1. Aztec Animal Totem Feature Tattoos
This is awesome. Love the overall falcon image being broken into sections then displayed as a variety of different popular Aztec patterns. The design makes this a truly unique inside forearm tattoo well backed by skilful shading and line work.
Key animal symbols in Aztec culture included those closest to the people such as Jaguars, bears, monkeys, frogs and eagles. The animals acted as totems for Aztec peoples’ personalities and behavior. These motifs are frequently recurring for both tattoo culture and wider Central American Art.
The Aztec Eagle, Jaguar, and Bear for example, are symbols of fierce bravery and strength – hugely important characteristics to a warrior tradition – while monkeys and frogs were popular for their more joyous personalities.
2. Aztec Warrior Tattoo Ideas
This tattoo looks like a cross between a telenovela and the Road to El Dorado. The Aztec symbols in this piece are brilliant; handsome warrior chief, black specked jaguar, ancient temples, and jungle. The artist shows mastery in black and gray shading throughout the entirety of this piece, right down to the shading of the damsel’s foot. It’s an exceptional piece of Aztec/Latinx crossover body art.
Nice tattoo. This piece is puts a fearsome warrior chief at the top of a simply designed, complexly delivered piece of pattern in the Aztec style. The use of sharp black lettering to emphasize the chief’s own tattoos is excellent, while the contrasting shades and maze like quality of the pattern is also cool. When this piece settles down it will also fit well with the subject’s other Aztec tattoos.
This is a great realism tattoo featuring an Aztec warrior in traditional headdress. It contrasts well against the heavily patterned circular black/zero space image and stylized monkey stomach tattoo. These are all clearly different styles of body art linked cleverly by theme and quality execution.
Aztec culture venerated the deeds of their warriors, so many auspicious types of body art celebrate bravery and skill in battle. The proud, noble Aztec warrior is a recurring theme in contemporary Aztec tattoo design – they feature the tough, handsome eagle warrior in headdress willing to die for in battle for their people, or the older Aztec chief about to dispense wisdom.
3. Aztec Women Tattoo Design
This is a beautifully executed Aztec abstract tattoo of a woman. The artist has created an overlay of black pattern and gray shadow to partially obscure the woman’s beauty, then utitilized further fuzzy shading to incorporate this tattoo into other work surrounding it.
A beautiful Latinx woman with Aztec feathered headdress in front of a huge stone disc. This is a funky tattoo – really like how the headdress and disc combine to seem like one, while the artist has done an excellent job making you see double for the ladies’ eyes, as if there’s been a couple extra tequila’s consumed.
Aztec women were just as fierce, brave, and brilliant as their male counterparts. They’re depicted often in contemporary Latinx tattoo art as beautiful but strong women, with flowing hair and an air of mystique and/or danger.
4. Aztec Chest Tattoo Idea and Application
This great tattoo shows a beautiful Aztec aesthetic on both the feature chest piece and corresponding bicep half sleeve. The newest body art is exceptionally shaded – the artist has been able to deftly deliver clearly defined differences between the stone cut into statue and the rough stone left to join the subject’s other tattoos. This tattoo also benefits from strong use of negative space in the smoky tendrils threading through the statue which creates pale contrast to the gray.
Okay, so this is like one of those claymation Disney movies laid out in tattoo form. It’s big, bold, and brilliantly etched. The absolute mastery of this tattoo’s negative space is hard to explain, so take a good hard look at the arm sleeve and ask yourself: how often have you seen this type of work executed? It’s not very often. Also, props to the sun disc image on the chest and side balancing layers of circular pattern in stone struck gray shading.
There’s impressive detail crammed into these wonderful grayscale Aztec chest tattoo designs. The elements of broad block, stone style artwork in opposition to the more realistic styled humans and animals, whereas the importance of the sun disc is denoted by sharp, intricately detailed and precise stone effects.
5. The Ancient Aztec Sun Disc
This effective Aztec sun tattoo relies on heavy duty line work to convey imagery – it almost looks like its been gouged in with a thick needle then covered over with bits of white ink. It looks rough hewn and rustic, but given the way it’s consistent all the way through this seems to be by design rather than misadventure.
Welcome to the excellent tattooist’s guide to Mesoamerica. At the bottom you’ll see the glorious ruin of Chichen Itza dappled in sunlight, while on your right is the prototypical warrior in headdress. Isn’t he a handsome fellow? Don’t forget to stop in at the gift shop where you can be wowed by a technically brilliant depiction of the Aztec sun. Please avoid trying to catch the dove!
This is a hectic leg tattoo with great examples of favorite Aztec artworks. The shading in this piece is well supported by the use of white ink to create unusual highlights inside the sun disc. They’re a unique method of making various curls and points stand out. The use of traditional Aztec temple at the top of the artwork is clever placement, while the balancing shade work to each side of the main image creates nice cracked stone effects.
Much like Ancient Egyptian civilization, the Sun God was all important to worship for the Aztec Empire. It was literally the center of the Aztec calendar, and responsible for the provision of life.
The Aztec sun was also central to the tribe’s zealous use of sacrifice, particularly in times of strife or unrest. The opposite to the Aztec sun was Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec God of the Great Bear constellation and the night sky.
As these examples of Aztec sun tattoo ideas show, it still takes center stage even in contemporary descriptions of tribal tattoo.
6. Smaller Aztec Art
These smaller Aztec tattoo ideas show off a bit more range than some of their counterparts. Sure, the central themes are there – the sun, stone art, and warriors – but how they’re depicted tends to be a little different.
The solid black in the Aztec Eagle tattoo design, or the hectic placement on the neck of the reference to Quetzalcoatl –the Feathered Serpent deity, who also featured in Mayan tattoo culture – are good examples moving away from large scale black and gray illustration.
7. Skull Tattoo Designs
Aztec society – which thrived on the Warrior ethos as well as massive amounts of superstition and shamanism – there are going to be a lot of skulls. These tattoos very much fall into the latter category, as the headdress wearing skulls of Aztec chief, warrior, and mystical dead guys can attest.
8. Aztec Back Tattoos
A heady mix of traditional Aztec style tattooing merged with modern day Chicano script. The detail of the background elements are popular Aztec tropes such as temple, warrior, and intertwining patterned art. The central, focal point images are the zero space Chicano fonts, hollowed out and unblemished they thrust forward against the busy gray background.
These uniformly massive full back tattoos demonstrate the commitment to quality, intricate black and gray shading work. These examples are rich in both detail, and time spent in the tattoo artist’s chair. They’re a remarkable testament to tattoo commitment.
Some of these examples show how closely the traditional Aztec body art style meshes closely with the more modern Chicano style of tattooing that developed in the Southern US prison system.
9. Sleeve and Half Sleeve Tattoo Ideas
These sleeve and half sleeve depictions are fantastically rich in detail and personality. They’re very much the hallmark idea of traditional Aztec style tattoo. These pieces take the important elements – warriors, symbolism, stone effects or the sun – and tie them into elaborate half or full-length sleeve designs.
10. Aztec Tribe Stone Art
Temples, housing, totems worshipping every creature from the Aztec Eagle to the Feathered Serpent deity – were central to the Aztec tribe’s of life. Nearly all their grayscale shading tattoo has links to the stonework that underpinned the remarkable culture of the fierce Aztec people.
11. Traditional Aztec Tribal Design
A nicely etched shoulder and chest tattoo. The artist has cleverly used negative space to draw wide lines of black, shadow filled ink to combine and offset the more sharply detailed, intensively gray shadowed skull warrior and traditional Aztec sun.
Modern Aztec style tattoo design utilizes techniques and application styles that are very similar to that of Polynesian body art. The is a strong commitment to pattern, repetition, and the use of negative space in design creation.
12. Unfinished Pieces
I’ve kept this range of unfinished pieces inside the gallery, as they do a wonderful job displaying just how much time, effort, and design skill go into the execution of a bad ass Aztec tattoo idea. These are in various stages of completion – they’ve already taken a huge amount of time and effort, with a hell of a lot more time in the chair left to come.
Aztec Tattoo FAQs
Did the Aztecs have tattoos?
The Aztecs operated under a system of structure, ritual, and superstition that included tattoo as a part of everyday life.
Aztec tattoo was an important part of their amazing displays of art and culture, developing a variety of intricate designs, patterns and motifs that focused on repetition and development of shape, pattern, and geometric structures.
The expressive Aztec art style was based upon their passion to avoid death and conquer disaster, which is part of the reason why the Aztecs took sacrifices to an unprecedented level.
A lot of fundamental Aztec designs are still incorporated into modern day Latinx tattooing across the southern USA, Mexico, and Central Latin America.
What do Aztec symbols mean?
Different Aztec tattoos were ascribed meanings reflecting key elements of everyday life. For example, the sun is a recurring, hugely important sacred part of Aztec tattoo that symbolized the giving of life and was central to everything, such as religion, crops, and the Aztec Calendar.
Other key Aztec symbols included animals close to the Aztecs such as Jaguars, bears, monkeys, frogs and eagles. The animals acted as totems for Aztec peoples’ personalities and behavior.
Aztec symbolism also venerated the deeds of great warriors, so many auspicious types of body art celebrated bravery and skill in battle.
The Aztecs also carried a visual language akin to Egyptian hieroglyphs that were incorporated into their tattoo practice.
Did you enjoy this glimpse of Aztec society and the continuing influence of Aztec design in Latinx tattoo? Click on the links below for more cool tattoo art galleries:
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.