There continues to be a fascination among tattoo enthusiasts for any body art that is derived from the artwork of ancient tribes and civilizations and this includes those designs that emulate original Aztec tribal tattoos. The Aztecs were an ancient civilization who lived hundreds of years ago in the area of what is now the Southern Central region of Mexico. This particular tribe was surprisingly developed considering it existed from around the 13th to the 16th centuries and was renowned for their advanced skills in everything from building and the arts, to politics and their social system. They worshipped a wide range of Gods and were renowned for their human sacrifices to appease these deities so many of the designs used in body art of this kind can appear rather dark and sinister at first glance.
Many of their rituals, including the practice of tattooing were implemented in honour of one of the many Aztec Gods. The use of body art however was also used as a means of denoting the individual’s clan, rank and status as well as detailing their life achievements. However the original Aztec tribal tattoos were created during a special ceremony and consisted of a variety of different symbols and images which would vary depending on the deity they were devoting them too. The most widely revered of these include the Aztec Sun God Huitzilopochtili, the God of Warriors Tezcatlipoca and the feathered serpent God known was Tezcatlipoca. While the latter was not the most significant of these deities, he was believed to symbolize the weather, fertility and creativity which all had an impact on Aztec daily life thus earning his place for worship.
The most important of all the Gods however was of course the Sun God, who was deemed to guard the gates of heaven and lead his followers to a guaranteed afterlife. As well as showing adoration for this god, a tattoo of this kind would also represent a belief in the afterlife. Other celestial bodies such as the moon and stars were also widely used in Aztec body art. The warrior God is generally illustrated with his tongue sticking out and a ferocious expression on his face, often with the image of an eagle incorporated into the design. It was believed that combining the two would enable the individual to draw from the eagle’s most potent attributes so that he would become invincible in battle, An Aztec eagle depicted on its own also symbolizes similar attributes such as bravery, courage, power and great strength. However, if this particular image appeals to you and you want to emulate authentic Aztec tribal tattoos it is important to watch the positioning of this bird. The original artwork depicts the eagle with its head turned in a western direction and several feathers sticking out from it, plus its beak should be open. Other popular animal images that were sacred to the Aztec tribes include the crocodile, jaguar and the serpent. In fact the serpent was held in such high esteem that there were several Gods that took this form all of which remain favourites for modern depictions of these ancient abstract designs.