Top 55 Tribal Tattoo Designs For Men And Women


Interestingly enough, many individuals who choose a tribal tattoo containing some sort of tribute to the Buddha aren’t even Buddhists themselves. The founder of the Buddhist faith is worshipped by followers of the religion, but his image is also commonly associated with peace and spiritual enlightenment. A tribal design including the Buddha is the perfect choice for you if you are someone who takes a great interest in world religions or existentialism.

Bear Claw

Whether the entire tattoo is in the shape of a bear claw, or the bear claw is simply an element in a larger design, a tribal tattoo of this nature usually has a deeply personal meaning for the person who is wearing it. The bear claw is most commonly associated with Native American culture and is usually seen as a spiritual guide for the person who chose the design. Bear claw tattoos can also signify a person’s deep connection with the environment and the natural world.


The shark is a popular element of Polynesian tribal designs, being that sharks represent power and protection within the Polynesian culture. They are also considered to be extremely sacred; in ancient times, those with tribal tattoos containing sharks or sharks’ teeth felt that they were protected from any form of evil that may have crossed paths with them.

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Symbolically, panthers are often associated with inner strength. This unique and popular tribal design featuring a panther in the shape of the perseverance symbol is a tribal tattoo that holds special meaning in particular for Polynesians, who hold the creature in the highest esteem.



The chances are high that you know at least one person who has a tribal tattoo containing the yin-yang symbol. While it may be common, it holds deep meaning for the person who has chosen it. An ancient Chinese philosophical concept, the symbol stands for the complementary forces, the yin and the yang, that create life. Yin is generally associated with earthly things, while yang represents the spiritual heavens, and the two images combined show how the spiritual and physical worlds collaborate to create the beauty of life.


Rather than opt for a realistic-looking design featuring their instrument of choice, many musicians are now opting for tribal depictions of guitars, pianos, and music notes. This particular design features the bold tribal elements in the shape of an electric guitar, undoubtedly giving tribute to the importance presence of music in this person’s life.



An extremely common tribal element is the presence of fire or flames. It’s rare to find a tribal tattoo that doesn’t contain some sort of pointed flame in a long, symmetrical shape, whether it’s in the forefront or the background of that tattoo. While some people may choose them simply because they are aesthetically pleasing, flames also represent renewal and rebirth across most cultures.


Signifying rebirth and rejuvenation, the phoenix is a mythological creature that is professed to have built its own funeral pyre, only to rise from its own ashes three days after death. While most schoolchildren learn about the phoenix in the context of Greek mythology, the phoenix is a symbol that appears in myths from dozens of cultures from all over the globe. A common symbol in tribal tattoos, most people who choose to have a phoenix inked on their bodies do so after going through a life changing experience that felt like a rebirth.



With as popular as gecko tattoos have become, the chances are very high that you have seen your share of designs containing the little lizard. While some may have a gecko inked on them just because they think the animal is cute, the gecko holds great symbolic significance within most Native American tribes. Often associated with a natural intuitiveness, a tribal tattoo containing a gecko represents your ability to know or understand things before you know all of the details.

National Flag

Throughout ancient history, tribal tattoos were used to mark warriors of honor from their particular tribe. Just as individuals were members of specific tribes back then, most of us have patriotic feelings towards the country or province in which we were raised. A growing trend is to take one’s national flag and have it somehow transferred into a tribal design, like this one featuring the red and white stripes and white stars on a blue background that we associate with the United States of America.

Zodiac Sign

While some may see astrology as a joke, many find that once they look into their particular zodiac sign, several (if not all) attributes of their zodiac animal resonate in their own identity. For individuals who feel that their zodiac sign describes their personality quite well, incorporating that sign into a tribal tattoo is a personal form of expression that allows others to know more about them.

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