There are literally thousands of different styles of tattoos out there, and this can make it quite daunting when trying to choose what’s right for you. This is particularly the case with tattoos, because we certainly get them with the intention ‘that they will last a life time.’ With this being the case, the last thing you would want to get tattooed is something thats just a fad, and will be out of fashion in a few years. This is why many people are going classic these days when it comes to tattoos these days, that is, getting traditional and timeless art styles tattooed.
When it comes to traditional art forms, there aren’t too many more ancient than that of Aztec art. The Aztec empire dominated the majority of Mesoamerica in the 15th and 16th centuries. Besides the infamous Aztec pyramids, Aztecs were well renowned for their art. Aztec art is quite diverse, however there are often common influences within the art, such as; people, gods, animals, nature and geometric shapes and patterns.
It is often these traditional shapes, patterns and symbols that entice people to the idea of getting an Aztec themed tattoo. But before you go ahead and pick one that you think ‘looks cool’ from a google image search, we have put together a list of 40 Aztec tattoo designs for Men and Women. We have done our research in to some of the deeper meaning behind tattoo designs with Aztec influences, for when you get asked the age old question ‘what does that tattoo mean?’
Aztec tattoo with eagle motif
A symbol of the eagle warrior. The eagle warriors were an elite group of infantry soldier and were the most feared warriors. Their primary purpose was to capture as many prisoners as possible to later sacrifice to their god. Eagles were also the symbol of the sun.
Tattoo with skull
Aztec skull tattoos are quite popular amongst men. The skull represents the 6th day as well as the deity known as Death. It is also quite common for people to include their heritage around the Aztec skull design.
Tattoo with floral motif
Flowers denoted the 20th or last day on the Aztec calendar. Besides being a popular tattoo design for their intricate pattern, the Aztec flower design is also symbolic of a deity and the direction of south on a compass.
Aztec tattoo with serpent motif
Serpents were quite common in Aztec art and they represented regeneration or rebirth, as one of the serpents characteristics was its ability to shed its skin.
Tattoo with bird
Here is a different style of Aztec eagle that is worth showing. Aztec styles of art can vary a lot, and this is generally put down to their eclectic nature and exposure to so many different forms and styles of art.
Aztec warrior tattoo
As you can see this is a depiction of an eagle warrior, the most feared of the Aztec warriors, with jaguar warriors the second most feared.
Aztec tattoo designs with the sun
The Sun in Aztec terms represents the world and all its inhabitants. A world was believed to last 52 years. Whilst there was no Aztec sun god, there was a god of all living things, which amongst other things, included the sun.
Tattoos with the moon
The moon is quite an interesting one. Metzli was the so called moon god, and it was Aztecs belief that the moon was a failed attempt at a sun, and as such he was a lower god in charge of such things as creepy crawlies and worms.
Aztec god tattoos
In Aztec culture there are many gods, too many to list. They were divided in to groups and those groups would generally represent a direction on the compass. Aztec god tattoos can come up great, just make sure you do your research in to the god and their individual meaning before getting it tattooed.
The color theme and placement of Aztec tattoos
Whilst this tattoo may not be wholly Aztec, it is definitely influenced by common Aztec art themes such as nature and the geometric shapes and patterns that can work great in to forming more of a tribal sleeve.
Aztec’esque mandala tattoo
Common amongst women are mandala’esque tattoos on their shoulder blades that have Aztec style patterns and shapes, often including stars.
Aztec warrior symbol tattoos
Modern interpretations of Aztec tattoos can look like the above, where you can see arrows and more of a symmetrical, geometric pattern.
Tribal chest and sleeve tattoo
One of the more common choices of tattoos with bigger men is chest pieces that work all their way down in to a full sleeve. This is partly due with The Rock’s rise to fame and his popular tribal tattoo. Here you can see one with Aztec influences.
Aztec half sleeve tattoo
Some old ink and some new ink, all to form a great patterned Aztec tattoo.
Aztec calendar tattoo
A common symbol in Aztec culture is the calendar or the months, including night time and day time as you can see represented in the chest piece above.
Inter connecting shapes and patterns were very common in Aztec art and culture and these shapes and patterns can translate really well in to interesting tattoos, particularly ones on the chest, arms and back.
Another modern interpretation of a common Aztec symbol with a modern colorful twist.
Often the Aztec gods would be carved in to stone, which was an art form the Aztecs mastered and above is some of that style of carving translated in to tattoo art.
Tribal back pieces are particularly popular tattoos amongst men. The intricate artwork and patterns mean that they don’t necessarily need color and can look great in just black ink.
Segmented Aztec tattoo
This is a great example of a tattoo where you can see lots of different geometric patterns going on and all working together to bring the larger piece together.
Again, a great example of how shapes and patterns can all come together to make for an interesting and timeless forearm piece.
Epic back tattoo
This is about as epic as you can go with Aztec tattoos. This back piece would have taken many sessions and the result is phenomenal. If you look closely you can see a lot of different deities.
Tribal left chest piece
Here you can see a tattoo in progress that will no doubt form a chest and sleeve piece. Sometimes it can be the best idea to try get a piece like this in the same time frame so that all the ink colors match up.
Chest sun piece
Here you can see a great version of the Aztec compass tattooed on someones chest. He will never forget which way north is with this on him right?
Half sleeve tribal
Freshly inked, we love how all the different shapes and patterns intertwine in this one. Looks like it will be sore tomorrow!
In progress chest piece
This piece is coming together nicely but there are some areas of it that are still incomplete and can also see some of the line work isn’t perfect. When picking the right person for your Aztec style tattoo, it definitely helps if they have prior experience in that style.
Dragon shield piece
Shields were a common symbol of strength and warriors. What better way to combine the ultimate symbol of defence with that of the ultimate mythical fighting creature, the dragon.
Maze style tattoo
So much going on in this piece. We love the combination of the squad looking character in the middle intertwined with an intricate pattern that almost looks like a maze, we know we’re lost in it!
3D Aztec tattoo
As you can see clever shading on this traditional tribal symbol give it a great 3D effect, almost looks like the person has been freshly branded with a hot iron!
Chest and shoulder piece
This is a great use of how to work a couple of separate tattoos together in to one amazing looking piece!
Native bird tattoo
The face on the bird is common place in many tribes. We absolutely love the patterns on the wings on this piece.
Sun god shoulder piece
This is as good a result as you could hope for when picking a Aztec themed tattoo that includes the calendar and some very detailed line work.
3D Warrior tattoo
It’s scary how realistic this stone warrior piece looks, pops right off the skin!
Jaguar warrior back tattoo
Wow! This is absolutely breathtaking and just a little bit creepy. Note the jaguars at his eagle like feet. This is the ultimate warrior back piece, there’s no denying that!
Stone shoulder piece
If you’re wanting to go traditional, why not get a piece that looks like its made from solid stone. Great artistic work on this one!
Tribal necklace tattoo
This looks like an immunity idol straight out of Survivor. The shading on this necklace piece is incredible and best of all it’s completely hidden as soon as you put a t-shirt on.
Necklace tattoo on girl
It doesn’t get much sexier than this necklace tattoo on this girl. Sometimes simple patterns/ideas work best!
Stone sleeve piece
Here is another great example of a stone style tattoo that is heavily influence by Aztec art.
Tribal 3/4 sleeve
There’s a lot going on in this one and you can see how they have made sure that the lines work with there muscles and where the arm will bend, very cool indeed!
Half mandala hip piece
Another sexy looking hip tattoo with a tribal inspired half mandala on the hip.
Blackwork is an increasingly popular style of tattoo for those game enough where the majority of the piece will be black with the line work just using your natural skin tones.
Tribal shoulder piece
A great example of mixing curvy line work and intricate detailing to work in to a great looking shoulder piece.
Temple back piece
Getting temples tattooed on the back is becoming an increasingly popular style of tattoo. Maybe it has something to do with our body being our temple?
Heart tribal piece
Finally here is an example of a piece that’s mixing both ancient and modern pattern ideas to form one tattoo. Notice the heart rate pattern around where the heart is, love this one!