20 African Warrior Tattoos with Their Meanings

Tattooing is a very common practice today. It is one of the most common ways people express their love or loyalty to others, things, ideas, and or certain beliefs. Getting a tattoo of something or a person simply signifies love for, pride in, loyalty to, or what it represents. Most celebrities have tattoos on a part or most parts of their bodies, and they have become tattoo influencers.

Although a lot of people, in Africa especially, don’t appreciate tattoos for religious beliefs, more people are getting tattooed. Africans who love culture and uphold their cultural heritage are now getting African Warrior tattoos. If you would love to know the meanings of some African warrior tattoos, stay glued to this post.

Best African Warrior Tattoos and their Meanings

Here are 20 flattering African Warrior tattoos to consider if you are hoping to get a tattoo that speaks volumes about the African culture.

1. African Lion Warrior Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

Lions are known as the king of the jungle and in African folklore, it is one of the symbols warriors often ink on their bodies as a sign of strength and dominion whenever they go to war. Aside from the fact that lions are warriors, they also contribute to Africa’s rich wildlife.

Although most people often get these tattoos for fun now, the African lion warrior tattoo is a favorite amongst men especially those who are keen on hunting or who just want to display strength. The best part of your body to get this tattoo is on your chest, arm, or back.

2. Elephant Ink Tattoo

The elephant is one of the biggest and heaviest animals known to older African societies and as such, it has been featured in many African folk stories to depict bravery, strength, and courage. These are just some of the qualities African warriors have in common with elephants. Hence, it is one of the most common ink designs African warriors wore.

For animal lovers today, there is a whole range of elephant tattoo designs to choose from. While such tattoos can be done on any part of the body, it is best done on the back if you want to get a full picture. If you prefer a bust image of just the face, ears, and tusks, you can get that in any size on any part of the body.

3. African Warrior Mask

African Warrior Tattoos

African art depicted a lot of masks that represent a whole of different ideas. They are often used for traditional rites of worship, masquerading, and more. But most importantly, the African warrior mask signifies faith and belief and has a lot of spiritual connotations attached to it. It is a common belief that the African mask protects from difficulties which is why African warriors are often masked while going to war.

As a result of the spiritual attachment this tattoo has, some people may not want to get it, but those who believe in African tradition will love it. There are thousands of masks that represent different parts of Africa, just pick the mask you want and let your tattooist modify it to a modern look for you.

4. Shaka Zulu Tattoo

Although this particular tattoo is peculiar to Zulu history, it is a beautiful warrior tattoo any lover of the Zulu kingdom would love to have for obvious reasons. Shaka Zulu is one of the most remarkable and influential Zulu monarchs of all time. He was responsible for reforming the Zulu military into a stronger and more formidable force in Southern Africa.

Years after his time, Zulu warriors still appreciate the kingdom’s cultural heritage and Shaka’s bravery and often ink their bodies with his picture as a sign of bravery and victory. In the modern world, most South Africans still appreciate this tattoo. As seen in the image, you can draw this tattoo on your arm, however, it still looks good on the chest and back.

5. The Black Queen Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

While most African societies are patriarchal in nature, there have been some African queens who stood out in history. Most of them were known to have been as strong-willed as men and led many warriors to victories. Back in those days, warriors often inked their bodies with photos of their queen to show allegiance and their willingness to fight to the death in service of their queen.

This kind of tattoo particularly denoted fearless service and loyalty. But more recently, it shows the strength of the black woman. The black queen tattoo is a favorite among women who see themselves as strong and brave. Some men also love this tattoo as a sign of respect for women.

6. African Warrior Tattoo

African warriors are known to be formidable in battle and often never give up. The African warrior tattoo denotes physical strength and courage. Because these features are some of the things most men aspire to, this tattoo is common amongst men.

People who wear this tattoo find inspiration and courage by looking at it especially when they face situations that require brute force. This tattoo is best gotten in a place where the wearer can easily look at it.

7. Warrior King Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

In almost every African tribe, there is always that Warrior king who led his people to war and conquered many other cities. As a way of associating with his bravery and honoring him, his warriors would often ink their bodies with a depiction of his bust to show their allegiance and pride in serving such a courageous king.

Lovers of history and epic stories would love this particular kind of tattoo. Moreso, there are a good number of such warrior kings to choose from.

8. Full Sleeve Mural Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

Mural designs are some of the major ways older African societies decorate houses. These designs eventually grow to include the kinds of ink decorations on people. They were advanced and different depending on who is wearing them. It is one of the major ways to identify people of certain tribes, men, women, maidens, and more.

If you can relate to mural designs, then this full sleeve tattoo is what you might be looking for. It is charismatic and might not be the definition of strength, but was also worn by warriors for the love of art. Unlike some other African warrior tattoos that can be drawn anywhere, this tattoo comes out better to the sleeves but can also be modified to the half sleeve.

9. Bow and Arrow Tattoo

In ancient times, Africans fought using bows and arrows which was among the most sophisticated war arsenal at the time. Sometimes, to signify what they do for a living, warriors wear inkings of bow and arrow on some of the more visible parts of their bodies like the forearm or the chest. The bow and arrow tattoos also signify precision, direction, strength, and power.

Some people who wear bow and arrow tattoos today also wear them for the love of the fictional arrow character in movies. The tattoo is also the symbol of the Sagittarius zodiac sign.

10. African Woman Fighter Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

Although men were known for fighting battles in African history, some societies were famous for having female warriors who were every bit as formidable as their male counterparts. These women also fought and won battles that helped their people at the time.

The African woman fighter tattoo as worn by many today, signifies bravery, aggressiveness, and the strength of a woman. This tattoo became even more common since feminism became an accepted concept.

11. Angel Warrior

Traditional African religions had the belief that man is watched over by a supreme being. These supreme beings also lead warriors to victory in times of war. In modern translation, these supreme beings are seen as warrior angels who guard human beings.

The depiction of the angel warrior in ink design was not common in the past but has since gotten different interesting tattoo designs. It has two different meanings because some see it as the representation of a guardian angel who protects the innocent or a warrior angel who fights against evil.

From the above, it is apparent that this tattoo has spiritual connotations and a lot of people who wear it believe that they have spiritual protection. This tattoo is best worn on the sleeves, however, it can be drawn on the chest, arms, neck, or even the back.

12. African Maiden Tattoo

African Warrior Tattoos

This tattoo denotes beauty, romance, desire, strength, good luck, and independence. African warriors often wore ink designs of their loved ones especially while going to war and that is the African maiden tattoo. It often announces who they have in mind and helps them stay strong while fighting. The maiden ink design especially reminds warriors that they have people awaiting their return.

In the recent clime, it is perfect for any lady who sees herself as strong and independent or who relates to the African ideal of womanhood and beauty. You can also just get this just for the love of a good tattoo.

13. Mayan and Aztec Fighters

Although Mayan and Aztec tattoos have their origin in central Mexico, their fighter ink designs were also worn by African warriors in time past. Mayan and Aztec tribes were known to be brutal in war even though they were also very fetish.

They were known for drawing images of demons on their skin alongside other tattoos that have spiritual connotations. This notwithstanding, their designs are quite popular now for tattoo lovers.

14. Maori Fighter Face Tattoo

African Warrior TattoosThis tattoo is usually gotten on the face because it is a belief that the face is one of the most sacred parts of the body. The tattoo also depicts a person’s social status in society. Because of how bold it is, it is more common with people who are going through extreme makeovers. 

There are also other recently modified versions of the tattoo that does not cover the entire face and are often used by people in the entertainment circle like DJs, rappers, and actors. The modified version either covers one side of the face or just the forehead.

15. Ankh Emblem

The Ankh emblem has its origin in Egypt and according to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, it means ‘life’ or ‘breath of life. This emblem speaks volumes about Africa’s rich culture and the belief in life after death which many other religions share now.

While the ankh symbol in itself is a simple crosslike image, it has thousands of versions as it is often modified to suit the needs of the person who wants to wear it. So whether you choose the modified version or the original design, you can get the tattoo on nearly any part of the body like on the sleeve, the thighs,  the waist, the neck, or even on the fingers.

16. The Queen Warrior

African Warrior TattoosThis tattoo symbolizes independence, good fortune, luck, and desire. It is a perfect tattoo for an independent African woman who upholds her culture and knows her worth. Ladies can have this tattoo drawn on their sleeves or back.

17. African Celtic Mark

This tattoo is fierce and denotes fertility, spirituality, and strength. The beauty of this type of tattoo is in the fact that there are different variants of the design, so you can go with anyone that you feel most connected to.

Having a touch of animal skin on the tattoo gives it more detail and beauty. The most common animals people use with this tattoo are snakes, horses, cats, and others. Beyond animals, personal totems can also be worked into it. This tattoo is best gotten on the chest or the upper back.

18. Pirate Skeleton Ink Picture

The pirate tattoo signifies bravery, courage, being tricky, deceit, loyalty, unity, freedom, and most importantly the love for adventure.

Individuals who love the way pirates sail the sea and are bold enough to take anything they want and do anything they want will love this tattoo. A man can get this tattoo on his sleeves, chest, or back.

19. Warrior Princess Tattoo

This warrior princess tattoo is very similar to that of the warrior queen tattoo, however, instead of getting the bust inking of the princess, it is spelled out and as such, it signifies more. It signifies family, fierce battling without fear of failing, and pride in a specific way of life. A lady can get this tattoo on her arm, back, or neck.

20. Coming of Age Warrior Body Tattoo

The coming of age ritual is well celebrated in most African societies. It signifies the crossing over of young boys into adulthood. At this time, they get body inkings that tell everyone they are ready to become warriors. It is not often a very elaborate tattoo and can be just about anything, from an animal to a name, a mural design, or even a flower. This tattoo is a symbol that a boy is now a man.

Tyna G
Tyna G
A digital nomad with a never-ending curiosity and passion for discovering new places, cultures and creative outlets - this author has been writing her way around the globe for many years. Everything from entertainment to biographies, reviews to travel tips, you’ll always find stunning high quality content coming from her


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