The intricacy and abstract nature of tribal armband tattoos has led to their continued popularity for hundreds of years. They are some of the most varied and eye-catching designs available anywhere in the world, and they have such a wide spectrum of meanings that just about anyone can find a tribal armband tattoo that fits with their life.
Tribal tattoos are native to the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands, and they were originally designed to create symbolism for each individual family, much like a coat of arms.
Most tribal designs have deeper meanings associated with them, but modern tribal tattoos are typically chosen for their aesthetic appeal.
Strength, family, love, and wisdom are the most common ideals meant to be illustrated by such tribal armbands. These tattoos often include barbed designs of incredible intricacy, weaving in and out of itself as it surrounds the arm. The continuity of these tattoos helps show the never-ending cycle of life.
Knotted tribal armbands are also quite popular, and they are typically symbols of power, continuity, and wisdom. These designs are usually simplistic and repetitive, but some can have intricate detail to make them more eye-catching or personally symbolic.
1. Dotwork Tribal Armband Tattoos
A growing trend in the tattoo world uses a meticulous application of fine dots to create different shapes and patterns, and these designs demonstrate how successful this approach can be when applied to tribal armbands. Whether using this method in Polynesian designs or more modern, stylized tribal pieces, dot work is a great choice that will help your tattoo stand out from other tribal inspired designs.
3. Upper Arm Tribal Armband Tattoos
The upper arm is a great choice for any tattoo, but these tribal armbands are especially well-suited for this placement. The prominent musculature of the biceps and triceps helps these tribal patterns to pop, while the overall shape lends itself to these designs that wrap around the entire arm.
4. Black Ink Tribal Armband Tattoos
There is something appealing about black ink designs. They have a more straightforward appeal than tattoos that use bright colors and the alternating patterns and intricate designs of tribal art are best applied in this monochrome scheme. These tribal armbands are great examples of the style and demonstrate what is possible with black ink.
5. Negative Space Tribal Armband Tattoos
Tribal tattoos do not typically incorporate colors, so another approach must be taken to create more interesting tattoos. By allowing empty, untouched skin to border areas of fully saturated black ink, these talented artists create the high levels of contrast that help these tattoo pop. These tribal armbands demonstrate just how striking these patterns are, despite their lack of color.
6. Heavy Black Tribal Armband Tattoos
While black ink is the most common method for tribal pieces, some people like things a bit bolder. These tribal armbands incorporate large swaths of fully saturated black ink to create designs that are simple yet eye catching.
7. Polynesian Tribal Armband Tattoos
By far the most popular of tribal tattoo traditions at the moment, Polynesian designs offer a variety of elements and patterns to choose from. Characterized by shapes that are inspired by life on these tropical islands, many Polynesian tattoos are reminiscent of thatched palm leaves, fish scales and other patterns found in nature.
8. Hawaiian Tribal Armband Tattoos
Traditional Hawaiian designs are very similar to Polynesian tattoos as the tradition was carried by the same peoples to all the islands of the South Pacific. These tribal arm bands exhibit the alternating patterns typical to the style and also incorporate larger elements like sea turtles and tiki masks. An expert application of fully saturated black ink is used to complete these striking tribal tattoos.
9. Geometric Tribal Armband Tattoos
Another trend that continues to gain popularity in the tattoo community incorporates geometric shapes and patterns into a variety of styles and designs. Traditional Polynesian patterns regularly utilize triangles and diamonds into their designs, however, these pieces take a less traditional approach and some of the pieces even incorporate elements of Sacred Geometry.
10. Innovative Tribal Armband Tattoo Ideas
Tattoos—like all art forms—are constantly changing and evolving thanks to thousands of dedicated artist who continue to push the boundaries of the medium. Innovation crashes head long into tradition in these unique tribal armbands.
An approach that is less focused on culturally accurate designs and more concerned with personal expression is taken in these pieces that better represent the wearer’s taste and sensibilities. These tribal armbands are great examples of what is possible when a variety of styles are incorporated into a single tattoo.
Tribal Armband FAQs
What do tribal armbands symbolize?
Tattooing arose independently in different places around the world, which demonstrates the intrinsic appeal of permanently marking the body with ink. From the Polynesian and Samoan designs that have become popular in recent years to the intricate knot work of Celtic designs, tribal patterns are as varied and diverse as the cultures from which they sprung.
While most people today choose to get these patterns and designs for their aesthetic appeal, there is a much deeper significance behind tribal armband tattoos.
The Samoan tattoo tradition is especially rich and vibrant, so it provides great examples of the symbolism behind the designs. In Polynesia, tattoos are used to tell an individual’s story, commemorating family, community and major life events. Within this tradition it is worth noting that most symbols and designs have multiple meanings; for example a sea turtle can be used to represent fertility, longevity and wellness. This broader significance means that just because someone has a tattoo that incorporates similar patterns doesn’t mean they have the same meaning to the wearer.
At the end of the day, tattoos are tools for personal expression, so what they mean is dependent on the wearer’s intention. These tribal armbands provide a great way to tell your life story, but a deep respect should always be observed when considering these culturally powerful tattoo designs.
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