Tattoos have always played an important role in Aztec culture and were often used in rituals. The aspect of spirituality, which is associated with the art of tattooing in Aztec culture, gives each tattoo a special meaning. Extensive religious beliefs, coupled with their practice of the arts, led the Aztecs to create a very developed art form of tattooing that included intricate and complex designs often inked in various bright colors. These vibrant Aztec tattoos are still inked today, however, some tattoo enthusiasts choose to display their Aztec tattoos in tribal styles using only black or navy blue ink.
Within the Aztec culture, some tattoos symbolized a warrior’s rank and achievements, while most others were meant to honor and worship specific Gods. They were worn on adults and children alike carefully being inked on specific places of the body as each location carried a very different and significant meaning. For example, tattoos on the chest, wrist and stomach were areas considered to hold great power and were often chosen because they showed a deep commitment to a particular God.
Aztec tattoos are chosen for many different reasons. Sometimes they are chosen simply for their style and aesthetic value while other times they are selected to pay tribute to, or show a love for, the great Aztec culture. Often times, those of authentic Aztec bloodlines choose Aztec tattoos as their way of preserving and retaining a sense of connection with their ancestors.
Aztec Tattoo Design Placement
Most Aztec tattoo designs are extremely detailed and intricate. For this reason it is generally wise to get these designs inked on a larger area of skin so that the fine details can be fully appreciated. Popular body placements for large Aztec tattoos include the entire back, chest, stomach, bicep and forearm areas.
Sun God Tattoos
Also known as “Huitzilopotili,” the sun is quite possibly the most important symbol in Aztec culture as it represents the giver of life and the guardian of heaven. The Aztec sun is also seen as a symbol of strength in battle. Warriors believed that the sun gave them the power to defeat their enemies and, in return, would sacrifice those enemies to the Sun God. Today, these “Sun God tattoos” are often chosen by individuals looking to portray their beliefs in something particular—the afterlife, a divine power, or an intense oneness felt among their human counterparts.
Feathered Serpent God Tattoos
Also known as “Quetzalcoatl,” the Feathered Serpent God is believed to control the weather, fertility and creativity. This creature was depicted as having the body of a serpent that was covered in feathers. This design can mean a number of things when tattooed on a person, such as the ability to see oneself for who they really are or the belief of being able to be born again.
Night God Tattoos
Also known as “Tezcatlipoca” or “the smoking mirror,” the Aztec God of Night and all material things is said to have carried a magic mirror that gave off smoke killing his enemies. One of this God’s most revered attributes was the ability to shape shift, most commonly into a jaguar. Tezcatlipoca was usually drawn with a stripe of black paint across his face and a black glass mirror in place of one of his feet.
Eagle tattoos were often found on Aztec warriors because they symbolize power, strength and courage. This is mainly due to the eagle’s incredible flying skills, large size and strong nature. There are various images of eagles that one may choose from, but the most sought after design consists of an eagle with its head pointing towards the west, its beak open and several feathers sticking out from the top of its head.
The Aztec Warrior tattoo design is seen as a very important symbol since it is thought to help guide the soul in its journey to the afterlife. Aztec Warrior tattoos are often combined with images of eagles since it is said that the Aztec Warrior draws his strength from the Eagle.
The Aztec Crocodile is not exactly what you would expect a typical Crocodile to look
Like. It is more of a monster-like creature with similar qualities to that of a modern-day crocodile. This fierce looking creature is often used to depict a fearsome nature.
Ceremonial Daggers were once used by the ancient Aztecs to cut beating hearts out of human sacrifices as they paid homage to their Gods. Therefore, dagger tattoos are often chosen as symbols of sacrifice or to represent one’s broken heart.
Aztec Calendar Tattoos
The Aztec calendar is an ancient calendar that reveals an extremely decorative yet functional tool adorned with various cultural symbols. Since this calendar is based around the sun, it is common to find a grim looking sun settled in the center of it.
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