Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aztec Tattoos and their Meanings

Meaning of Aztec Tattoos

One of the oldest traditions of tattoos, the Aztec tattoo art is popular and flourishing, even in today's times. The aspect of spirituality, which is associated with the art of tattooing in Aztec culture, gives it a completely different meaning and touch. Aztec tattoo art is representative of the Aztec culture and traditions. The origin of the Aztec tattoo is in Mexico. The Aztec Civilization was dominant in Central Mexico from the 14th to 16th century. Spanish colonizers are said to be the destroyers of this civilization. It is however very difficult to say whether today's Mexicans derive their ancestry from the Aztecs. Aztecs have great mythology, which is where Aztec tattoos and their meanings come from.

Aztec Tattoos and their Meanings There are some facts about Aztec tattoos, which are interesting to know.

  • Aztec tattoos in the Aztec culture were always done in honor of some Aztec God. They were done only during rituals.
  • These tattoos were also used to differentiate between people belonging to different tribes.
  • Aztec tattoos also symbolized a warrior's rank and his achievements.
The placement of the Aztec tattoos was dependent on which God you want to appease. Wrist, chest and stomach were the most popular body parts where the tattoos were made. These areas are said to be the seats of power and therefore they were selected for tattooing. The language which was used for this Aztec tattoo art was ‘Nahuatl’. Read more on Aztec story of creation. Now that we know some facts about Aztec tattoos, we will look at ancient Aztec symbols and meanings.

Sun: An Aztec sun tattoo was made in honor of the Aztec sun god, called Huitzilopochtli. The sun god was the most important god to the Aztecs as he was said to be the guardian of heaven. The guarantee of after life was said to be the sun, due to its constant rising and setting. Therefore, the meaning of the Aztec sun tattoo is ‘belief in afterlife’. It was also made to show adoration for the sun god. Read more on aztec mythology andAztec gods.

Eagle: Amongst the tattoos of animals and birds, the eagle was very widely used. The meaning of this Aztec symbol was power, strength and courage. These attributes were attached to eagles due to their amazing flying skills, large size and strong nature. A tattoo of an Aztec eagle was therefore often found on Aztec warriors. Although there are various images of an eagle that are available, the eagle with its head pointing towards the west, its beak open and several feathers sticking out from the top of its head , is said to be the authentic ancient Aztec tattoo symbol. 

Warrior: This Aztec tattoo was given high importance among all Aztec tattoos. The meaning of this Aztec tattoo design was the journey of the soul to its after life. Very often it is seen that many people get an eagle also tattooed along with the warrior. As an Aztec warrior is said to draw his strength from an eagle.

Calender: An Aztec calender tattoo contains images of various facial features. According to the Aztec culture each creature represents a month. This creature is said to be a harbinger of several mythical and spiritual properties. Uitzilopochtle, the god of the Sun is often shown in many different forms in the Aztec calender. There is a lot of importance that is being attached to this Aztec symbol and its meanings.

Crocodile: A crocodile is also a part of Aztec tattoo designs. This crocodile is not a crocodile in the strictest sense of the term. It is actually a monster like creature, which resembles the crocodile. There are also various variations which are available of this creature. This Aztec tattoo symbol became famous for this fearsome nature.

Feathered Serpent:Quetzalcoatl This Serpent God known as Quetzalcoatl, literally means a serpent with feathers. He is accredited to being the God of weather, fertility and creativity. Quetzalcoatl is not the most powerful of the Aztec Gods but finds his way into their everyday life, thus gaining an important role in their culture and in tribal Aztec tattoos 

Tezcatlipoca: This is the Aztec name of the warrior god. He is usually tattooed with his tongue sticking out. His face is very fierce and therefore, is also very popular.

One's creativity knows no bounds when it comes to tattoos and tattooing. Apart from the common and universally known designs, there are several other symbols that belong to different cultures and can be used as tattoo designs. One such example is the Aztec tattoo design and symbolism. The Aztecs were a group of people living in the present day Mexico, from 13th to 16th century. The Aztecs were powerful culturally and historically. Although the civilization no longer exists today, their symbolism and imagery still exists. Today, these symbols are used as tattoo designs and are quite popular all over. Among the several different Aztec tattoo designs, the warrior is the most loved and favored symbol. Let us have a look at it in detail.

Aztec Warrior Tattoos
In the Aztec culture, Tezcatlipoca is considered as the lord of kings and warriors. Tezcatlipoca symbolizes strength, power and all qualities associated with a warrior. Similar to all the ancient civilizations, warfare was a part of the life and culture of the Aztecs. Therefore, Aztec warriors symbolized bravery and courage. Sporting a tattoo depicting Tezcatlipoca represents discipline, honor and supremeness in battlefield. It is also believed that the Aztecs worshiped sun god and his images were very commonly used in different art forms. On the other hand, warriors of the Aztec civilization were classified either into the eagle or jaguar warrior types. Those belonging to the respective family wore respective outfits during battles. The eagle and the jaguar warrior symbols are famous among tattoo lovers and also widely accepted. Other Aztec symbols are the shield with fringes all around it and the warrior armband used by the Aztec warriors. Read more on Aztec tattoos and their meanings.

Aztec Warrior Tattoo Designs
Although in earlier times, the Aztec tattoos were made only by Mexicans, today they are a favorite among people all over the world. If you wish to have a colorful tattoo depicting ancient art, you can go for the Aztec warrior tattoos. However, you should note that the Aztec tattoos are quite large and very colorful (sometimes to the extent of gaudy) in appearance. But you can still have your own color choice and style. Here are some design ideas for the warrior tattoo of the Aztec era.

If you wish to make a classical Aztec warrior tattoo, then the picture of Tezcatlipoca is the best design. This lord of warriors, with his tongue sticking out is very popular among abstract art lovers. Secondly, as the sun is a popular and sacred symbol, it is found in several Aztec tattoos. In fact one can even make use of the image of the sun in Aztec warrior tattoo designs. The eagle Aztec warriors and the jaguar Aztec warriors are two beautiful tattoo designs that typically portray the Aztec culture. Also, an Aztec shield with fringes made with the sun god in the center is yet another tattoo design that you can consider. Tribal Aztec tattoos also look equally attractive and can be made by those who do not wish to have the uber colorful tattoos.
If you are thinking of the placement of these tattoos, then one should note that the Aztec warrior tattoos are quite larger in size and hence, it is advisable to have it made on the upper arm, shoulder or the back. Similarly, for a smaller version, you can have the warrior armband or the warrior shield tattoos and sport them on arms, wrist, etc. As these tattoo designs are complex, it is recommended to have a printed copy of the design and check out its appearance before going for it.

Aztec warrior tattoos portray the ancient art of the Aztec culture. Lastly, the colorful and dramatic Aztec tattoo will always be 'in' and will never fail to catch the eye of the viewer.

Tribal Aztec Tattoos

Aztec was a cultural group living in the present day South Central Mexico, from the 13th to the 16th century. They were also known as the Nahuatl as they spoke that language. The Aztec culture was very developed as in diverse fields like politics, social system and arts. The Aztecs were religious people and believed in human sacrifices for pleasing their Gods. The several characters and designs from there are equally popular today and are also used as symbols in tattoos. These tattoos are known as Aztec tattoos. Let us have a look at it in detail. Read more on Aztec mythology and Aztec Gods.

Tribal Aztec Tattoos
Interestingly, tattoo making was known to the Aztec people and they used it extensively. They believed that making tattoos of religious symbols would portray their devotion to the Gods and hence, tattoo making was a common practice. Sometimes, tattoos were also used as a mark of distinction between different tribes. There are several symbols that specifically belong to the Aztec and the Mexican culture. These include Huitzilopochtili, or the Aztec sun God; Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent and Tezcatlipoca, the God of warriors. These symbols were widely used by the Aztecs and are equally popular even today. However, other designs and symbols including stars, eagles, the moon and princesses are also commonly used today. Read more on Aztec tattoo art.

Tribal Aztec Tattoo Meanings
All the symbols belonging to the Aztec culture have certain meanings related to them. The Sun God was believed as the guardian of the heaven and hence, was very much respected. The Aztecs also believed in 'after life' which was similar to the setting and the rising of the sun. Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was considered as the God of immorality. It also symbolized fertility and creativeness. The eagle represents power, strength and vigor. It was also believed to be the source of inspiration for the warriors during wars. Tezcatlipoca, the God of the warriors, is often made with his tongue sticking out and hence, is loved by the lovers of eccentricity and abstract art. Among the several images, the designs of the Sun God and other deities are more popular today. Read more on Aztec tattoos and their meanings.

Tribal Aztec Tattoo Drawings
If one is a follower or believer in the Aztec culture, he should surely go for the Aztec tattoo. If not, you can still think of having it as all the symbols have powerful meanings associated with them. On the other hand, the unique appearance of Aztec tattoos make them really attractive and fashionable. Although Aztec tattoos can be made in different colors, the tribal Aztec tattoos are in vogue these days. Made with black or blue ink, they do not fail to catch the eye of the onlooker. Aztec designs and symbols look attractive when made larger in size, therefore, you can have them made on shoulders, stomach or the back. If you do not wish to have large tattoos, you can have their smaller versions made on the wrist, ankle or back of the neck. Read more on Aztec tattoo designs.

A visit to any of the Aztec temple will be helpful to know more on the beauty of the Aztec designs and art. If you have decided to sport tribal Aztec tattoos, it is better to look our for a professional and skilled tattoo artist who is well aware of the actual Aztec designs. Other way, it will be beneficial to research a bit and try out different designs on the paper before finalizing one.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Amazing explanation. I'm thinking about a "Mexican inspired" tattoo, mainly because of its design, but was trying to find the associated meaning (so that I wasn't walking around passing some message with which I did not agree). Thanks for this article.

  3. Aztec tattoo art is representative of the Aztec culture and traditions. The origin of the Aztec tattoo is in Mexico. The Aztec Civilization was dominant in Central Mexico from the 14th to 16th century. Spanish colonizers are said to be the destroyers of this civilization. It is however very difficult to say whether today's Mexicans derive their ancestry from the Aztecs. Aztecs have great mythology, which is where Aztec tattoos and their meanings come from.

    Aztec Tattoo Designs

  4. Some tattoos have their own meaning. I salute writers like you for doing a great job. I appreciate efforts made for these Sun Tattoos

  5. Wow! Your blog shows all symbolic meaning of Sun Tattoos. Great blog. thanks

  6. i have a warrior tattoo on my back but i have never seen it on any of the tattoos that are published . it is a aztec with half face of death and half of his own holding a skul spear and dressed with the spaniards armor?