If you have seen any Aztec tattoos in your life, then you know why they have become so popular. The style is unlike any other out there right now and you are pretty much guaranteed to turn heads if you have an Aztec tattoo on your skin. Not only do these tattoo designs look fantastic in most cases, but they also carry with them some interesting tattoo meanings. On this page we will take a look at the history of Aztec designs, Aztec tattoo meanings, and why you might want to get an Aztec tattoo yourself.
The isolated and legendary civilization of the Aztecs of Mexico is known for the intricate patterns and imagery that are rooted in their history. These images have long been used for historical purposes, for ceremonial purposes, and for communications purposes. While the Aztecs may have died out many moons ago, their unique style is still alive thanks to the fact that they found it extremely important to memorialize themselves with their creations.
Because of the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century, much of the Aztec culture is available and widely known. Weapons and other items with the Aztecs’ unique patterns can still be found in museums around the world, keeping both their designs and their history alive. Many of the Aztec tattoo designs that you see today are exact replicates of those found in museums, though plenty of people have found ways to alter those designs to make them a bit more unique.
The Aztecs’ dense mythology and religious beliefs created a plethora of artwork and roleplaying that is emulated into beautiful imagery. Those with Aztec ancestry usually find these meanings to work quite well for them, but people who simply like the designs will usually either come up with their own meanings or slightly alter the original meanings. In many designs the tattoo elements that are included have their own meanings even outside of Aztec culture so they are usually left unaltered.
The Aztec warriors have been reinvented and used to resurge Mesoamerican pride. Many of the Aztec tattoos that you see these days are considered to be warrior tats, which add even more meaning to the designs. For example, the Aztec eagle tattoo is a classic symbol that used to be put on warriors who had shown bravery and strength in battle. Those who get the eagle symbol these days could be in the military or they simply pride themselves on being brave and courageous.
In Aztec mythology, one of the most significant deities is Tlaloc, the water god and a fertility god who also ruled one of the worlds of the afterlife. His image is found repeatedly in the codices created by the infiltrating Spanish as well as the ones created by Aztec priests. He appears elaborately and colorfully armored with a headdress, bulging eyes and sharp fangs. Among the dozens of deities in the Aztec pantheon, Tlaloc is represented four times, as a symbol of each of the four corners of the universe.
One of the most prevalent Aztec tattoos is the image of an eagle clutching a rattlesnake in its talons, a symbol of the Aztec settlement at Lake Texcoco, what is now Mexico City. It is a representation of new beginnings, strength, and stability. The image also serves as a good omen, a sign of fortune to come. This is one of those Aztec tattoo designs that you can get designed exactly as it was 500 years ago. The meanings are still extremely important to people in the modern world, though if you do get this Aztec tattoo don’t expect outsiders to understand what it means without you explaining it to them.
Costumed Aztec warriors also create stunning tattoo imagery, draped in jaguars or other animal skins to enhance their intimidating appearance. They often wore elaborate headdresses as well, emulating the gods, complete with jewelry and colored feathers. The more successful the warrior, the more ornate his dress, on and off the battlefield. The fierce visage of a seasoned warrior creates a stunning image that conveys a formidable character. Accompanied by intricate decoration, the image of the warrior represents survival, integrity, and skill.
If you do plan on getting an Aztec warrior tattoo, you will want to work with a top artist since these usually include quite a bit of detail. One of the most popular styles that people implement is to have the warrior himself as just part of the tattoo with other Aztec imagery surrounding him. These tats often include many elements that add even more meaning, making it possible for the owner to get an extremely unique tattoo design. Aztec warrior tattoos make for some excellent sleeve designs, though you can get these placed pretty much anywhere on your body.
An extremely popular Aztec tattoo these days is the Aztec sun tattoo. This design has wavy flames and a unique face in the center of the sun’s circle. The Aztecs worshipped the sun, so this was one of their most sacred symbols. People who get the Aztec sun tattoo have it represent either protection or heaven itself. Considering the shape of this design it is most often either placed around the shoulder area or on the back.
Skull tattoos are popular in every form, but the Aztec skull tattoo might be the one you want to get if you want a larger skull design. These designs usually have a smiling skull with a headdress made of stones and feathers. As always, the skull represents death, though not always in a morbid way. Many people get their Aztec skull tattoos to show that they have accepted death as a part of life and are going to make the most of every moment they have here.
If you want to get a heavily detailed Aztec tattoo, then you might be interested in one of their many floral designs. Unlike other flower tattoos, the Aztec floral design is less about realism and more about getting intricate linework to make the flower outline. Even if you weren’t that interested in Aztec tattoos before but you were interested in flower tats, then you might want to check this one out. It’s a unique take on flower tattoos that looks great in black ink.
The Aztec serpent tattoo is yet another very popular design these days. This is another heavily detailed tattoo that includes a ton of line work and usually has a snake of some kind going along the outside of the design. These Aztec serpent tattoos symbolize the owner’s ability to change when life calls for it. This is yet another circular tattoo that works best on the shoulder or on the back.
Another Aztec option that you have at your disposal is the Aztec god tattoo. What’s great about this is that there is a huge list of Aztec gods to choose from, each bringing with it its own meanings. You will be tempted to get an Aztec god tattoo simply based on the way it looks, but we highly recommend researching each one before you commit to a design. Chances are you will be much more pleased with the final product if you know that it is something you will be proud to have on your body for the rest of your life.
Aztec imagery is rich and colorful, rooted in a complicated history. The warriors were notorious for their graceful and determination in warfare, which is why the warrior image is a perfect representation of that strength. Even if you get another Aztec design, you might want to consider adding in a small warrior to make your Aztec tattoo just a bit more meaningful (and cool looking).
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to getting an Aztec tattoo. You have to make sure that the meanings mean something to you, and you will have to decide how much detail you want in your design. The truth is that Aztec tattoos are usually people’s most detailed tattoos, so you’ll probably only want to choose one of these if you know that it will be one of your main tattoos.