105+ Symbolic Mayan Tattoo Designs – Fusing Ancient Art with Modern Tattoos

If you do not have a Mayan tattoo or have never thought of getting one you are missing out on one of the trendiest types of body art. The Mayans are one of the most talked about civilizations from the ancient world.

According to historical texts they were a very advanced race compared to other civilization in the same period but even with all this they still had a lot of respect for their traditions and culture.

Tattooing was one of their many forms of body modification, and there was a belief that drawing images on your body would please the gods.

Apart from tattoos they would also file their teeth, pierce their body and in some instances deform a baby’s skull to create an elongated shape.

All this was part of their culture, but tattoos still stood out because only brave people would have them because they were not only painful but they were also perilous due to infections. And so if you have cool images inked on your body everybody in the society would respect you.


History of Mayan Body Art

The Mayans are an ancient civilization that existed between 3000 and 5000 years ago. Historians believe that they were a very advanced race for that time with knowledge an understanding of various things.

They even invented their calendars and some people also think that they could predict the future using some mysterious science. The art of tattooing was always part of their culture, and both men and women would have them.

Boys would wait until they got married to tattoo their body while girls would have it from an early age. However, ladies were only allowed to tattoo the upper part of the body but not their breasts.

Tattoos were a way of pleasing the gods because most of the images that the Mayans would have would symbolize their gods. They were also a sign of courage and bravery because anyone that would withstand the pain and dangers that come with these body markings would get a lot of respect.

Some types of tattoos would also be a symbol of social status because there were some for elders and others for the young warriors. There are some certain types of tattoo that the Mayans would get to show the transition from one stage of life to the other.

When the Mayans captured their enemies after a battle, they would tattoo them as a way of warning others not to attempt to attack them. It was also a way of showing their might or domination over their enemies.

Thieves would also get a permanent totem on the forehead so that everyone would know what they are. The modern day Mayan tattoo concept is relatively new, and its popularity is as a result of the various discoveries on the Mayan civilization that have been happening over the years.

back to menu ↑

Meaning and Symbolism of Mayan Totem

Most people will get a Mayan tattoo just because they think it is trendy and so few bother to know its meanings and symbolism.

These body markings are some of the most symbolic that you can ever get, and so it is important to do some research and find out what your particular image symbolizes because this will make it more attractive.

  • Mayan Tattoo 105
  • Mayan Tattoo 107
  • Mayan Tattoo 106

Although the meanings will vary according to the particular totem that you have, there are still some common meanings that you can associate with these totems. Devotion is one of these meaning because the Mayans would always have them to show their loyalty to their gods and their culture.

Mayans would also use their body markings to symbolize the unity of all life forms because of their respect for everything in this world and so having one of their tattoos can also mean the same.

The other meanings that you can associate with the symbols will depend on the type or design that you have. If you prefer to have a Jaguar, it can mean power, stealth, and bravery.

An eagle, on the other hand, is a symbol of flight and foresight while the feathered serpent represents wisdom, spirituality and the god Kukulkan. The image of the demon breathing fire which is also very popular symbolizes cruelty, intimidation, evil and imbalance of power.

Mayan body markings can have endless meanings and so before you decide on what to draw it is important to read a little history on their culture to make sure you understand what you are getting.

back to menu ↑

Types of Mayan Totems

Everything about the Maya civilization is interesting, and this includes their form of communication to their way of life. And so if you know even little about them there are endless things that you can draw that one can still associate with them.

  • Mayan Tattoo 103
  • Mayan Tattoo 104
  • Mayan Tattoo 102

However, some designs seem to catch the attention of most people and so they are what most tattoo lovers prefer to draw. Although there are many famous Mayan tattoo designs, the following should give you some ideas on what you can try out.

Hunab Ku Symbol

The Hunab Ku was an important symbol of the Maya civilization, and this is why it features at the center of their calendar and wheels of time. It is vital in understanding their myths and the cycle of life, and this is what makes it an attractive body marking.

This symbol is also very symbolic because the Maya people saw it as a representation of the cycle of life and the infinite power of life.

Mayan Calendar

Maya people were one of the few civilizations in the ancient time that developed calendars. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that it was very accurate and detailed. It has some unusual patterns that represent various heavenly bodies such as stars and planets.

The patterns in the calendar are also very intricate, and this is what makes it an excellent choice for tattoo art.

Mayan Emperor

The Mayans had a lot of respect for their emperor because they believed that he was appointed by their gods to watch over them. Having a tattoo of the emperor in his royal attire or dressed as a warrior is a sign of respect for their culture.

If you get a good artist that can depict the emperor accurately, you can be confident of a fantastic totem.

The Sun God

Mayans had many gods, but they also worshiped the sun as they believed that it was the giver of all life. They saw this heavenly body as the all-powerful giver of life that had power over everything else in the world, and so they would also draw it in tattoos.

This design is also a favorite of tattoo enthusiasts of today, but most prefer to adjust its appearance by having a skull at the center of the sun instead of a simple circle.


The Ouroboros is a famous Mayan tattoo symbol that is a snake or a dragon that is eating its tail. It is a symbol of regeneration or rebirth, and the Maya people would use it to show the process that people go through when they want to adapt to new situations or surroundings.

It is perfect for anybody that believes in constant mental or image makeover. Although people nowadays draw it in different colors, it looks best in black ink, and it is also more symbolic than drawing it in colors.


Jaguars have a special place in the Mayan culture, and they are one of the animals that these ancient people respected a lot. According to their culture, this majestic animal was the ruler of both the underworld and the night.

When you have this symbol as your tattoo, it can represent many things including strength, divinity, life, and fertility. In the old days, people would only draw the outline of Jaguar, but modern technology makes it possible to draw a realistic looking one or even have it in 3D.

back to menu ↑

Where to Place Them

In the Maya civilization your gender, age and status in the society are what would dictate tattoo placement. Ladies would only have their tattoos on their upper body while men would have them on the back, legs, and arms and even on the face.

However, in this modern times tattoo placement is a matter of personal choice, but things like the design and the size of your totem still influence its location.

Whereas most men will prefer to have their totems on the upper arm, others are comfortable having it on the back and chest because they can make it huge.

Ladies are still conservative and seem to favor the wrist, behind the ear, back of the neck and their ankles when it comes to placement of their Mayan tattoo.

  • Mayan Tattoo 99
  • Mayan Tattoo 100
  • Mayan Tattoo 101

In Short…

When ancient art combines with tattoos, you can be confident of an amazing body art. The Mayan body markings are awe-inspiring, and they also offer you the opportunity to choose from dozens of designs.

And so if you are looking for a stylish symbol with traditional touch you should try a Maya-inspired body marking.

  • Mayan Tattoo 96
  • Mayan Tattoo 97
  • Mayan Tattoo 98

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Register New Account
Reset Password

Send this to a friend