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Tattoos are a form of self-expression, but the art has been part of many traditions, cultures and religions all over the world. Whether you want to represent your totem animal or wear something symbolic, we rounded up the most meaningful Mayan tattoos for you.
What Makes Mayan Tattoos Special?
One of the most influential indigenous societies of Mesoamerica, the Mayan civilization had gained dominance around the sixth century A.D. Apart from their contribution to mathematics, astronomy and complex calendar systems, they became known for many forms of body modifications from tattooing to piercing, inlaying jade stone into a tooth and deforming a baby’s skull.
In place of needles, reeds were used for tattooing the skin. However, these practices were more than just a personal decoration or social status—the Mayan people did them to please their gods. It’s said that the more drastic a modification is the braver and the more powerful the individual. No wonder, Mayan tattoos feature mystical symbols, images of the gods and spiritual animals.
Some even honored their gods by portraying their legends in tattoos. Some of the most powerful animals in the Mayan culture were jaguars, eagles and serpents. In fact, Kukulkan, a Mesoamerican deity, was represented by a feathered serpent denoting wisdom and spirituality. In some Mayan tattoos, there were jaguars that symbolize power and bravery, as well as eagles that represent foresight and flight.
Back in the time, even the commoners in their society, both men and women wore tattoos and filed their teeth. In fact, Mayan tattoos were regarded a sacrifice to their gods, giving their blood and suffering. Nowadays, reasons for getting tattoos are varied from region to region, but most of the time, the goal is to express oneself and symbolize something significant though body art.
Today, the descendants of the Mayan still live in Central America, particularly in the modern-day El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and some regions in Mexico. A great thing, Mayan tattoos can be more personal to the wearer than cultural and religious. They can be a sort of narration of one’s life story, a remembrance of a loved one, a reminder of victory, as well as a talisman—and everyone can wear them!
Mystical Mayan Tattoo Inspirations for You
A Reflection of Mayan Culture
Before the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Mayan Empire was known for its palaces and temples in a stepped pyramid shape, including celestial symbols and religious iconography. Infuse a bit of history into your body art with this Mayan tattoo, paying homage to the ancient civilization.
A Mystical Mayan Tattoo
The Mayan people decorated themselves with a variety of different images, from their gods to celestial entities and symbolisms. While the Mayan tradition of tattooing has largely faded away, you may help to preserve their heritage with this Mayan tattoo.
Mayan Tribal Tattoo
Back in the time, tattoos were a representation of their religious power, social status and specialized skill. Nowadays, many still show their faith with Mayan tattoos, which can go from traditional designs to modern styles far beyond the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Mayan Temple Tattoo
Most of what historians know about the Mayan people comes for their monuments, temples, palaces, buildings, as well as inscriptions and stone carvings. In fact, many of them can still be found in some surviving cities. This Mayan tattoo will remind you of one of the greatest civilizations ever existed.
A Symbol of Bravery
Mayan tattoos depicted totem animals, symbols of the gods and various spiritual motifs to express their faith and tradition. As a symbol of bravery, this Mayan tattoo will give you strength of mind and courage to bear pain and challenges in life.
A Symbolic Mayan Tattoo
Did you know the Mayan people who got tattoos were admired for their bravery during the painful process, making the body art associated with fortitude and sacrifice? They had a number of symbols that meant many things, and this Mayan tattoo might also inspire you to a new path in life.
A Symbol of Strength
It’s said that drastic body modifications were a symbol of strength for the Mayan people, from exotic piercings to flattened foreheads, filed teeth and painted bodies. While these might sound too drastic in our modern times, having this Mayan tattoo will embody the same strength and boldness.
An Astronomical Mayan Tattoo
Mayan people were known for their astronomic and mathematical achievements, along with the impressive prediction of the movement of the sun, moon and stars. If you want to infuse some celestial symbolisms into your body art, this Mayan tattoo will make everything bolder and unexpected.
The Totem Animals
If you want to make your Mayan tattoo more of a spiritual guide or good luck, think of your spiritual animal. Nowadays, the lion symbol is associated with strength and courage, and having it on your body art shows you have the ability to create your own destiny.
The Great Artists of Mesoamerica
The Mayan people were known for their exotic beauty, defined by symbolic body paintings and eccentric piercings. Whether you want a Mayan tattoo to remember a special person in your life or simply make you a stronger person, this one is a great inspiration.
The Mayan Skull Tattoo
Did you know that the Mayan people even had a god of scarification and tattooing? Macabre and ghastly, this tattoo might be personal to the wearer, but it reminds us of their meaning of sacrifice, bravery and courage.
A Modern Mayan Art
If you find Mayan tattoo quite intimidating for your personality, incorporate some playful motifs such as flowers, geometric designs and artistic patterns. This body art looks hip and trendy compared to the traditional macabre and tribal designs.
Mayan Collar Tattoo
If you want to make a fashion statement, think of this Mayan tattoo that can replace your statement necklace and jewelry. It’s a great choice for women who want to make a difference, representing their independent nature and bravery.
The Symbolic Bird Mask
Did you know that ancient Mayan kings and queens would wear masks during performances to impersonate some of their deities? The hooked beak in the Mayan tattoo design reminds us of the images of a raptor, which represented one of their animal spirits. After all, animals were of mythological, religious and symbolic importance to their culture.
The Mayan Symbolisms
It’s no doubt that the Mayan civilization introduced diverse symbolisms, which were difficult to interpret for many years. This Mayan tattoo reminds us of their complex history, but it’s important to remember that its value isn’t just aesthetic.
The Mystery of the Mayan
Historians suggest that their architecture makes no particular distinction between their non-religious and religious structures, making this Mayan tattoo more universal. In fact, most of their structures were positioned to take advantage of celestial events of their time.
The Pyramid of Calakmul
The Mayan people were great architects, and managed to build pyramids, palaces, temples and cities of stone that remain even thousands of years had passed. This Mayan tattoo reminds us of the 180-foot-tall pyramid in Calakmul, an archeological site in Campeche, Mexico.
The Symbolic Skull Tattoo
It’s said that skulls and caves played a huge role in Mayan religion, especially in their belief of the underworld. In fact, human sacrifices were made on some of their special occasions including religious rituals and designation of a new ruler.
The Lost Empire of the Maya
It’s no doubt that the Mayan Empire in Central America flourished at the time, and this tattoo reminds us of their legacy. Like this inspiration, you may incorporate some Mayan architecture, symbolisms, animal totem and cultural imagery into your body art.
The Ancient Mayan World
The modern-day Mayan people still live on the same region in Central America and Mexico where its ancient civilization first developed. A great thing, this Mayan tattoo will keep their heritage and history alive.
The Mayan Eye of Providence
The mysterious Eye of Providence, an eye set within a triangle, has been of great importance to many cultures around the globe. If you want to put some twist to the traditional body art, incorporate some Mayan symbolisms and inscriptions to the tattoo.
The Ancient Mayan Calendar
At first glimpse, this Mayan tattoo doesn’t look like a calendar at all but just a piece of art with an elaborate design. If you’ll look closely, symbolisms are depicted on it, which represent the planets and the stars the Mayan people used on predicting planetary cycles.
The Mayan Snake Deity
The dragon-like serpent figure in this Mayan tattoo represents one of their deities. To make your body art more personal, think of your spirit animal instead. The real meaning behind a snake or a dragon tattoo is up for debate, but for some it represents wisdom, change and good luck.
The Art of the Mayan People
This Mayan tattoo reminds us of their culture and civilization. Did you know that the Mayan people regarded sculpture as a reflection of themselves? It’s said that most of their artworks was created from carvings in stones, clays, woods, shells and bones.
The Mayan Prophecy
Highly symbolic and mystical, this Mayan tattoo reminds us of their deities and astronomical observations, in which certain movements of celestial bodies were linked to their religious ceremonies, prophecies and even wars.
The Mayan Religion and Mythology
Did you know that the Mayan people had a huge pantheon of gods that they depicted in their body art? If you find it too religious and cultural for a tattoo, you may incorporate your personal interpretation to these symbolic creatures.
Mayan Calendar Tattoo
Back in the time, the Mayan people used their complex calendar system to monitor some celestial events including solar eclipses and lunar cycles. If you’re into astronomy and zodiac signs, you may think of this Mayan tattoo as the unexpected yet expressive body art to align your life with the stars.
The Mayan Glyph Tattoo
It’s said that the Mayan people were interested in earthly matters, which is evident in their glyphs. Some even suggest that their writing was deeply associated with astronomical themes. While this Mayan tattoo has a deep association with their culture, you may also personalize it with your own set of symbols.
The Mystical Creature
Ancient Maya tattoos were religious, but they can still be an inspiration to represent your totem animal or good luck charm. While dragons have gained a negative reputation, they remain a symbol of wisdom and strength to some people.
A Historical Nod to the Mayan Culture
If you want to infuse a bit of history into your body art, think of this Mayan tattoo. It depicts the simple village life of the Mayan people during the Pre-Classic Period around 1800 BC. It was long before the construction of their grand pyramids, temples and ball courts.
Cosmography of the Mayan Religion
It’s said that astronomy and mathematical calculations were deeply connected to the Mayan religion, from their rituals to feasts and sacrifices. While this Mayan tattoo might be associated with the wearer’s faith and beliefs, you may personalize it with your own symbols and astrology sign.
An Ancient Mayan Woman
Modern-day Mayan continues to inspire the lives of many people in parts of Central America and Mexico today. If you admire them, you may also think of this tattoo to represent your independence and carefree nature.
A Portrait Tattoo
Whether you admire the Mayan people or want to incorporate a portrait of someone your love in your body art, this Mayan tattoo is a great inspiration. It’s done in realism technique that results to something that looks like a portrait photograph.
The Mayan Hieroglyphs
It’s no doubt that the ancient Mayan people had a complicated system of hieroglyphs. Did you know that these writings are preserved on their pottery and stone monuments? If you want a mysterious vibe in your body art, think of this Mayan tattoo but don’t forget to research on the real meanings behind them.
The Mysterious Mayan Calendar
In some cultures, the Mayan calendar was used by many to predict the end of the world. However, this Mayan tattoo is worth appreciating for its intricate and creative design. Also, it’s a great way for inscribing a piece of history onto your skin.
As we have seen, tattoos have been used for thousands of years as a representation of one’s faith and individuality. Whatever you reason for getting Mayan tattoos, they more than just a trend and they’re here to stay.