Top 77 Aztec Tattoo Ideas – [2022 Inspiration Guide]
The Aztecs operated under a system of structure, ritual, and superstition that included tattoos as part of everyday life. The Aztec tattoo art 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 shapes, patterns, and geometric structures, and this style has flowed through to contemporary tattoo culture.
Popular Aztec tattoo designs are almost always etched in richly detailed black and gray. They look to deliver the stone aspects of their ancient cities and totems, as well as celebrate warriors, women, and images of bravery, strength, and spirit, such as the Aztec eagle tattoo design.
Read on for an insight into Aztec civilization and the 77 best Aztec tattoo ideas, featuring a range of stunning tattoos in a range of placements and degrees of detail.
1. Aztec Animal Totem Feature Tattoos
Key animal symbols in 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 culture and wider Central American art.
The , jaguar, and bear, for example, are symbols of fierce bravery and strength – hugely important characteristics to a tradition – while monkeys and frogs were popular for their more joyous personalities.
This Aztec tattoo below is awesome. Love the overall falcon image being broken into sections and then displayed as a variety of different popular Aztec patterns. The makes this a truly unique inside forearm well backed by skillful shading and linework.
2. Aztec Warrior Tattoo Ideas
venerated the deeds of their warriors, so many auspicious types of celebrate bravery and skill in battle. The proud, noble is a recurring theme in contemporary ; they feature the tough, handsome in a headdress who’s willing to die in battle for their people or the older Aztec chief who’s about to dispense wisdom.
This looks like a cross between a telenovela and the Road to El Dorado. The Aztec symbols in this piece are brilliant: handsome chief, black-specked jaguar, ancient temples, and jungle. The showed 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 .
Nice . This piece puts a fearsome chief at the top of a simply designed yet complex piece of . 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 are also cool. When this piece settles down, it will also fit well with the subject’s other .
This is a great realism in a traditional headdress. It contrasts well against the heavily patterned circular black/zero space image and stylized monkey featuring an stomach . These are all clearly different styles of linked cleverly by theme and quality execution.
3. Aztec Women Tattoo Design
Aztec women were just as fierce, brave, and brilliant as their male counterparts. They’re depicted often in contemporary Latinx as beautiful but strong women with flowing hair and an air of mystique and/or danger.
This is a beautifully executed abstract of a woman. The has created an overlay of black pattern and gray shadow to partially obscure the woman’s beauty, then utilized further fuzzy shading to incorporate this into other work surrounding it.
A beautiful Latinx woman with an Aztec feathered headdress in front of a huge stone disc. This is a funky ; I 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 lady’s eyes as if she had consumed a couple of extra glasses of tequila.
4. Aztec Chest Tattoo Idea and Application
There’s impressive detail crammed into these wonderful grayscale Aztec chest designs. The elements of broad block, stone style artwork in opposition to the more realistically styled humans and animals, whereas the importance of the sun disc is denoted by sharp, intricately detailed, and precise stone effects.
This great shows a beautiful Aztec aesthetic on both the feature chest piece and the corresponding bicep half sleeve. The newest is exceptionally shaded; the artist has been able to deftly deliver clearly defined differences between the stone cut into a statue and the rough stone left to join the subject’s other tattoos. This also benefits from the 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 form. It’s big, bold, and brilliantly etched. The absolute mastery of this ‘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.
5. The Ancient Aztec Sun Disc
Much like in the Ancient Egyptian civilization, the Sun God was all-important to worship for the . The was literally the center of the and responsible for the provision of life.
The was also central to the tribe’s zealous use of sacrifice, particularly in times of strife or unrest. The opposite of the was Tezcatlipoca, the of the Great Bear constellation and the night sky.
As these examples of ideas show, the sun still takes centerstage, even in contemporary descriptions of a .
This effective Aztec sun relies on heavy duty linework to convey imagery; it almost looks like it’s been gouged in with a thick needle and 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 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 in a headdress. Isn’t he a handsome fellow? Don’t forget to drop by the gift shop, where you can be wowed by a technically brilliant depiction of the . Please avoid trying to catch the dove!
This is a hectic leg with great examples of favorite . 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 a 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.
6. Smaller Aztec Art
These smaller 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 or the hectic placement on the neck of the reference to Quetzalcoatl — the Feathered Serpent deity, who also featured in Mayan culture — are good examples of moving away from large-scale black and gray illustration.
7. Skull Tattoo Designs
In designs about the — which thrived on the 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 an Aztec chief, a , and mystical dead guys can attest.
8. Aztec Back Tattoos
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 ‘s chair. They’re a remarkable testament to tattoo commitment.
Some of these examples show how closely the traditional Aztec style meshes closely with the more modern Chicano style of tattooing that developed in the Southern US prison system.
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, , 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.
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 . 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, and totems worshipping every creature from the to the Feathered Serpent deity were central to the ‘s life. Nearly all their grayscale shading has links to the stonework that underpinned the remarkable culture of the fierce .
11. Traditional Aztec Tribal Design
Modern Aztec style utilizes techniques and application styles that are very similar to that of Polynesian . This is a strong commitment to pattern, repetition, and the use of negative space in creation.
A nicely etched shoulder and chest . 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 . and traditional
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 skill goes into the execution of a badass Aztec . 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 FAQ
Did the Aztecs have tattoos?
The Aztecs operated under a system of structure, ritual, and superstition that included tattoos as a part of everyday life.
The 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 for avoiding death and conquering 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 the 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 on Latinx tattoos? Click on the links below for more cool tattoo art galleries: