Aztec tattoos were symbolic of the Aztec devotion to their gods. Sun tattoos were among the most popular forms of Aztec tattoo designs out of devotion for Huitzilopochtli, the sun god. Quetzalcoatl, the most powerful of gods, was also used in many Aztec tattoos. He was used to represent both intelligence and wisdom.
Aztec tattoos were often used to help differentiate among different Aztec tribes. Tribal tattoos were generally specific to the god the particularly revered by each tribe. Tattoos were also used to help identify the rank of warriors within a tribe. In fact, the tattoo art also depicted the warrior’s accomplishments. The god Tezcatlipoca, who was the god of warriors, was found on many Aztec warriors.
In modern days, people choose to wear Aztec tattoos for a variety of reasons. Many with Aztec roots wear them in order to pay homage to their heritage. Others wear them to pay respect to the ancient and powerful cultures. Yet others choose to get Aztec tattoos for the symbolic meanings behind them. For example, because the Aztecs believed the first sun was responsible for guarding the heavens, those who seek sun-related Aztec tattoos believe them to symbolize rebirth or a belief in the afterlife.