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traditional native american tattoos

traditional native american tattoos

Native American tattoos

Most tattoos around the world, developed by Vikings and ancient Egyptians, have some spiritual meaning. For example, Vikings attributed birds with the power to make their skin invisible to enemies. One of our favorite ways of storytelling tells the story of the Creation, which begins with the fall of the original Native American culture and the introduction of the shaman.

TATTOOS

Many of the tribes believed that after death, spirits would block their path into the next world if they did not possess the appropriate tattoos during their lifetime. The Sioux tribe especially believed this, and had a specific legend regarding this matter. It was told that after a warrior died, he would mount a ghostly horse to set forth on his journey to the “Many Lodges,” which is what the Sioux called Heaven. During this journey, the warrior would encounter an old woman on the path who would block his way and demand to see his tattoos. If the warrior had none, she would refuse to allow him to pass and turn him back, condemning him to a life of wandering as a ghost for all eternity amongst the living.

Tattoos were also very important amongst the Native Americans as a way to mark status and accomplishments. Warriors were marked with their achievements in battle, and this tradition was taken very seriously amongst the tribes. Only those that had earned the privilege of being tattooed were allowed to have them, and if a tribesman was found to have a tattoo that he hadn’t earned, the tribe’s council of elders would declare that the tattoo would have to be removed, usually by cutting the marked flesh right from the transgressor’s body. (Source: www.cloakanddaggerlondon.co.uk)

DESIGN

If you want to add color in an uber-traditional way, check out the ways in which Native Americans used color in their everyday lives. There are many beautiful examples online of Native beadwork, blanket weaving, painting and other mediums in which the Native Americans used color to brighten their lives. The war paint used when going into battle was often quite bright, and represented two main aspects of battle. Warriors used colors and patterns which aimed to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. They also used war paint and its application as a way to mentally prepare for combat. Either of these aspects could become a personalized use of color in your Native American tattoo design

Keep in mind that a history-based Native American tattoo design is very different from the “tribal” designs you may have chosen at 3AM after a few too many beers. The hugely popular tribal designs of the 90’s were generic and, in most cases, not based on any historical tribe. Be sure to use an authentic design to properly pay homage. In addition, be aware that while these designs are simple, they’re far from simplistic. They require precision linework and a bold use of saturated color in order to properly mimic the artwork from which they were inspired. (Source: nextluxury.com)

IDEAS

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Aesthetic considerations aside, the painful sensations and subsequent bloodletting associated with permanent body marking corresponds metaphorically to the process of being born, or rather, rebirth [5]. People gain new knowledge of themselves through painful stimuli like tattooing, and these sensate experiences model ways in which humans arrive at their ideas of existence and identity through imprinting new memories upon their consciousness and bodies [6]. (Source: www.karger.com)

 

 

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