When talking about a nation with a rich history and great traditions, look no further than Mexico. This country is rich with ancient lore and stories that the people of Mexico have passed down for generations and they have a great pride in these factors. Because of this national pride, you tend to see a great deal of tattoos that revolve around the pride and history of Mexico. With the history of this country there are a plethora of symbols and images that are great for tattoos as you can imagine.
Mexican tattoos have long been a way to show your sense of pride for your home country. Whether you have moved to another country or still reside within the boarders of Mexico, a tattoo of one of the many images that represent the traditions of Mexico is a great way to show how proud you are.
In this post we will be discussing the history of Mexican tattoos and the symbolism behind these different symbols that are popular choices for tattoos. As you can imagine, there are many variations of Mexican tattoos. Because of this, we will talk about some of these, so you can have some ideas for your next Mexican tattoo.
About Mexican Tattoos
Tattooing in Mexico is an ancient and sacred practice. The early tribes of Mexico have been tattooing their bodies for centuries. During the Spanish invasion in 1519, the Spaniards were quoted as saying the indigenous people of Mexico (the Aztecs at the time) were hostile people that were resisting the expeditions and were “strange idolatrous people who wear body tattoos and practice human sacrifice”. It might have been strange to the Spaniards, but the Aztecs were a fascinating people with a rich history that should be celebrated.
The Spaniards all but destroyed any sense of culture for the Aztecs. Tattooing was a something most of the Aztecs partook in and was wiped from their culture and history. The native population had no idea as the Spaniards burned most books and destroyed hieroglyphic writing, temples, sculptures and native temples.
Tattooing was a major part of their culture. In the National Anthropological Museum, there are clay figures from the Olmec people that allow us to recognize the practicing of body adornment like head deformations and tattoo patterns. Much of the ancient tattooing revolved around basic marks on the sides or around the mouth. Other figurines that survived the Spaniards were located in the Yucatan Peninsula that show males with chins and cheeks tattooed.
Mexican Tattoo Meaning
The meaning of the Mexican tattoo will vary depending of the imagery and the variation of what is being tattooed. All of which will capture the pride of the traditions and culture of the Mexican people. Below are some examples of the more popular Mexican tattoos and their meanings.
Coat of Arms of Mexico Tattoo
One of the most important symbols in Mexican culture and politics is the coat of arms of Mexico. The coat of arms shows a Mexican golden eagle eating a rattlesnake sitting on a prickly pear cactus. This symbol has very strong religious implications for the people of Tenochtitlan. However, to the Europeans it has come to represent the conquest of good over evil. Many take the rattlesnake to represent the snake in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. You will also find this symbol on the Mexican flag.
There is also a version of this symbol called the Seal of the United Mexican States used by the Mexican government. In addition to using the symbol of the coat of arms symbol, the official name of Mexico is added to the symbol. It states Estado Unidos Mexicanos on the upper part of the crest in a semi circular shape.
The meaning of this Mexican tattoo is one of great pride in the heritage of those whose family originates in Mexico. If you are looking for a tattoo that is a great representation of everything cultural in Mexico, this is the way to go.
Sugar Skull Tattoo
The sugar skull tattoo is another symbol of Mexican pride and has ties to the Day of the Dead. These skulls were made of sugar because there was an abundance of sugar and those too poor to buy decorations would use the sugar to create their own decorations. It represents the soul of a departed loved one. The family would write the name of a loved on one the forehead of the sugar skull and placed on a mantle so when the spirit returns, they are honored.
To make a sugar skull is a time and labor-intensive process. They are beautifully decorated with bright colors and smiles which make them great choices to be tattoos that represent Mexican heritage. You will often see this image incorporated into other Mexican images that enhance the pride of the Mexican tattoo.
Day of the Dead Girl Tattoo
The Day of the Dead girl is an obvious ode to the Day of the Dead. They are also called La Catrina, sugar skull women or just Day of the Dead makeup on a beautiful woman. When you think of it, many people will get the image of a beautiful young woman tattooed on their body. To incorporate some Mexican culture into the tattoo, the Day of the Dead makeup is a great way to do it.
During this celebration, many people will have their face painted in this fashion. It just so happens this version has become extremely popular in modern tattooing, and you will find many of these tattoos in the portfolios of tattoo artists. Whether this tattoo is in black and grey or in full color, it is a great option for Mexican tattoo.
Aztec tattoo are creations of the Aztecs from centuries ago. When you put aside their unique look, the Aztec tattoos and symbols are often in line with beliefs, rituals, gods and the tribe’s traditions. It is said to get an Aztec tattoo is a way to gain the same positive energies and protection the Aztecs got from having these tattooed on their bodies.