10 Ancient Mayan Tattoo Designs

Revel in the beauty and symbolism of ink designs inspired by the lost civilization.

Written by Nisha Baghadia
Edited by Subhrojyoti Mukherjee
Fact-checked by Shreya Mukherjee  • 

Mayan tattoo designs are unique, not just for the art form but also in the traditional way of inking on the body. Anyone who has a thing for ancient art forms and history cannot resist Mayan tattoos.

They are monochrome and made just with black ink. The intricate inking with the bold indigenous designs makes gorgeous artwork on your body, presenting a beautiful picture.

These tattoos are works of imagination and creativity, and no matter what you want, the tattoo artist can draw them in the Mayan style. They are inspired by the history and culture of pre-columbian Central America. If you have decided to get inked, here are some gorgeous tattoos inspired by the history and elements of the Mayan civilization. Scroll down to check them out and flaunt an intricate traditional tattoo!

Top Ten Mayan Tattoo Designs:

1. Mayan Calendar Tattoo:

In recent times the Mayan calendar has become infamous owing to the attempts of various so called experts at predicting the end of the world. However, this Mayan calendar tattoo is worth appreciating for its artistic value alone. This intricate piece of tattoo artwork is sure to take time and much effort put in by an expert tattoo artist with a body of work that is impressive.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Get this tattoo inked on a bigger surface like your pectoral region, back, or thighs to do justice to its intricacy and majesty.

2. Legends of the Hidden Temple Tattoo:

This piece of tattoo art is clearly inspired by the Legends of the Hidden Temple, which is game show for kids inspired by Mayan legends and folklore. Apart from the reference to the children’s game show, there is apparently nothing childish about this piece of art that stands out for its intricacy and quality.

3. Mayan Skull Tattoo:

Skull tattoos have long held a place of pride in tattoo art and this skull tattoo with an elaborate Mayan headgear is an impressive example. Make a note of the fine details used to accentuate this ornate skull tattoo. Feathers, beads and other embellishments, this Mayan Skull tattoo has it all.

4. Mayan Symbol Tattoo:

This is a tattoo of Hunab Ku, the Mayan symbol for peace, unity, balance, wholeness and the universe. Much like the Indian Om symbol, the Hunab Ku symbol was an inspiration for the ancient long gone Mayan civilization that is being used in tattoo art even today.

5. Mayan Sun Tattoo:

Mayan symbols are all about bold black geometric patterns and this tattoo effectively uses that to its advantage. This tattoo depicts the Mayan Sun symbol which is of significant value. As it is no secret that Mayans were sun worshippers, a fact that is seen in cultures and religions around the world even today.

6. Mayan Ouroboruos Tattoo:

The Mayan Ouroboruos symbol is that of a snake or a dragon eating its own tail. This tattoo symbolizes regeneration, rebirth or the process of constantly recreating oneself to adapt to new surroundings and situations. This tattoo should hold great inspirational value to those who believe in the need of constant image and mental makeovers to meet their goals and ambitions in life.

7. Mayan Earth Symbol:

This tattoo simply depicts the Mayan Earth symbol which is synonymous with nature and growth. Keep this tattoo bold, black and simple. While having it replicated on your skin by a seasoned tattoo artist however you are free to experiment with placement. This simple piece of art would look good on your ankles and wrists.

8. Mayan Jaguar Tattoo:

The Mayan Jaguar depiction is symbolic of the inter relationship between man and the earth, the underworld, life and fertility. So if you are looking for a Mayan tattoo with symbolic significance, then this Mayan jaguar depiction is the apt choice for you.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you want to make the tattoo vivid, use shades of red, yellow, blue, and green since these hues are frequently used in tattoos with Mayan influences.

9. Mayan Upper Arm Tattoo:

This tattoo inspired by Mayan temple art stands out for its intricate details and fine shading work that gives it the photographic quality of an image from the ruins of a decrepit Mayan Temple. Apparently this fine piece of art would need a seasoned tattoo expert to be replicated as depicted here.

10. Mayan Serpent Tattoo:

The serpent is symbolic of agility, mystery, potency and rebirth in most cultures and the same values apply in Mayan symbolism. This Mayan serpent tattoo stands out for the effective use of bright colors and its relevance to the Mayan theme.

Infographic: Top 5 Ancient Mayan Tattoo Ideas

The bold and black Mayan tattoos have captured people’s imagination today. These creative and important symbols of the ancient culture are truly a sight to behold. If you love these beautiful tattoos and need some help choosing the right one for you, you have come to the right place. Check out the infographic below for the top five ancient Mayan tattoo ideas you can take a look at.

top 5 ancient mayan tattoo ideas (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Mayan tattoos are popular for their unique monochrome designs. These are made with black ink in the traditional way of inking on the body. The designs are earthly pictures that represent Mayan culture mythology, and history. They are works of creativity and imagination. The elements from the Mayan civilization hold a special place in these designs. The designs are mostly inspired by Mayan tradition, legends, folklore, and symbols associated with the civilization. Follow the list mentioned to choose the most suitable tattoo for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Mayan tattoos mean?

Historically, Mayans got themselves tattooed for social status, personal aesthetics, and to please the Gods. They got legends and lores about their Gods tattooed on themselves or inked sacred and meaningful symbols that have distinct patterns and have become an art form by themselves. They were a deeply spiritual race, and Mayan tattoos have spiritual or religious implications.

Did the Mayans have ink?

Yes, they did. They used charcoal, ash, and soot mixed with water to form black. They also used indigo and other colored pigments found in nature to make ink for writing, painting, and tattooing.

Which is older – Aztec, Inca, or Mayan?

Mayan records date back to 2600 BC, and they had collapsed as a civilization by 900 AD. While the Aztecs came to Mexico in the early 13th century and the Inca civilization rose in the Andes mountain region in the early 1200s.

What is the difference between Aztec and Mayan?

The main difference is that these civilizations came about in different periods, centuries apart. The Mayans were fierce warriors but also a spiritual and gentle civilization, skilled in sea trading and science, while the Aztecs were land-oriented and warriors who practiced human sacrificial rituals.

What are some Mayan symbols?

The Mayans had over 1000 symbols that they used as glyphs in their temples, rituals, tattoos, etc. Some popular Mayan symbols are the Kukulkan – the feathered serpent God, Itzamna – an important creator God of the sky, Chaac – the rain God, Jaguar – the ruler of the underworld, and so on.

Discover the ancient tattoo art of Mayans! Learn about the history and symbolism behind these beautiful designs, and how to get your own Mayan tattoo from the video below.

Image source: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10

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