The ornamental style of tattooing imitates wood carvings on the body. These images consist of lines, spirals, waves, and crosses, often united in patterns. Such drawings look especially beautiful on a large scale, but small ornamental tattoos can also be successfully done.
- Clear, fine lines
- Using mainly black inks (rarely with the addition of red)
- The tattoo is filled with various interlacing and nodes
- Geometrical figures like circles, squares, and triangles
- Popularly depicted are images of the sun or moon, flower, or ocean themes
In general, ornamental tattoos are easy to distinguish due to their main feature - the presence of ornament. Moreover, this tattooing style has different subtypes, as listed below.
Sketches of ornamental tattoos for men
Ornamental tattoo ideas for women
Classifications of ornamental tattoo style
According to the tattoo technique used:
- Linework - this is characterized by very thin, neat, lines
- Blackwork - patterns have thick lines, following tribolic patterns
- Dotwork - applying ornaments in the dotwork technique, i.e. dots.
According to the origin of the depicted drawing style:
- Celtic patterns. Such patterns have a large number of interlacing, which are similar to braids and basket weaving.
- Polynesian patterns. They consist of geometric figures, stylized images of sea creatures (turtles, octopuses, sharks, etc.), the sun, and masks representing different island spirits. The Polynesian pattern is characterized by a complete black painting of lines.
- Indian patterns. These are the typical patterns of the peoples of North and South America: Maya, Aztec, Maori. For example, in Mesoamerica (the Mayan and Aztecs) tattoos involved patterns and images of mythological beings typical in Indians of South America. In Haida, totem pole images of animals and deities of Haida tribes are depicted.
According to the motif of the drawing, the patterns are classified as
In addition to the above, there is a wide variety of ornamental style tattoos which do not fall under a specific classification.
Besides the fact that an ornament is a charming decoration, it often has a hidden meaning. Ornamental tattoos, first of all, symbolize special protection. Many have amulets tattooed on their skin which they believe offers protection and helps in difficult situations.
Such symbolisms and meanings are influenced by the emergence of tattoo ornaments; as they originated from the time when our ancestors would ask for help from different deities. Depending on the elements of the image, the ornament could mean fertility, power, beauty, wisdom, sacred knowledge, well-being, and a connection with the universe, amongst others.
Since the ancient times, it was believed that floral and deciduous ornaments symbolize harmony, femininity, protection, and family happiness; red was also a very popular color. The lotus flower in ornamental style tattoos means solar energy, morality, purity, and longevity. Regarding color, our ancestors believed that the color red warded off bad energy.
Often tattooing was performed as a coming of age ritual, indicating a child’s transition to adulthood.
However, nowadays, ornamental tattoos need not have a secret meaning or connotation and can just be a beautiful and captivating image.