Cultural tattoos can signify everything from religion to class status.
Cultural Tattoo Meanings
In some cultures, tattoos have more meanings than others. Japanese Tattoos have been used to show that a person is a criminal or to tell a life story as in the case of the full-body style known as Horimono. Other Tribal Designs show whether you belong to a specific tribe, such as in the Maori culture, or designate you as having a specific role in the tribe. Traditional tattoos have been performed on both children and adults in many cultures, although Western culture would frown upon inflicting such pain and permanent markings on a child.
Choosing a Tattoo by Culture
Before you choose a cultural tattoo, be sure to research the meanings of your tat thoroughly. Nothing could be worse than having a permanent reminder that you didn't choose carefully, so you'll want to make sure that your ink is saying the right thing to the world at large. Reputable tattoo artists and shops will be happy to explain the meaning of your design, and they'll be able to define the kanji or other symbol you're contemplating.
Many people choose to get a cultural tattoo based on their own culture or ancestry, such as in the case of Celtic Tattoos, while others choose to express themselves via the designs of a different culture. It doesn't matter which type of tattoo you choose - just as long as it holds an important meaning for you.