Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Tribal butterfly tattoo featured image
Published on May 27, 2022

Featured image credit: Pinterest

Tribal butterfly tattoos are very popular. Many different cultures view butterflies as totems, tokens of good luck, or even symbols of fidelity and marriage. 

There are many different tribal tattoo designs that take their inspiration from these cultures and the various meanings they attached to the butterfly.

Here are a few butterfly tattoo design options you might want to consider when you approach your tribal butterfly tattoo.

Tribal Butterfly Tattoo Meanings

Tribal butterfly tattoo designs usually have a special meaning for the person being tattooed, but there are some universal associations with butterfly tattoos.

The Chinese consider butterflies to be a symbol of eternal life . The Japanese see a white butterfly as representing people who have passed on. In Greece, butterflies were an emblem of the soul.

Aztecs believed that butterflies took warriors souls to the nether world while many Maori people sport butterfly tattoos with a tribal design to commemorate heroes and deities.

Many people love getting inked with a butterfly when they enter a new chapter of their lives, e.g. a marriage, break-up, new job, or even just a new lease on life.

Best Tribal Butterfly Styles

Most people associate tribal tattoo art with Polynesian cultures, but thousands of cultures around the world have used tattoos to signal their entry into a tribe, remember a milestone, or just to decorate their bodies.

Today we use modern methods to create tribal butterfly tattoo designs, including traditional and neo-traditional tattoo styles, blackwork, classic Americana, Japanese, and stick and poke art.

Black ink is preferred, but many artists are doing interesting things with white and red ink with tribal tattoos. 

Best Designs For Tribal Butterfly Tattoos

There are several different designs to consider if you’d like a tribal butterfly tattoo. Here are a few examples from leading tattoo artists:

Blackwork and dots

Blackwork and dots tribal butterfly tattoo

We love this exuberant black butterfly. Thick lines with dotwork complete the effect. (Credit: Best Tattoo Design)

Small Tribal Tattoo

Small Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Tribal tattoos are usually big and bold, but they don’t need to be. This tiny design has a big impact, despite its small size. (Credit: F Mag)


combination tribal butterfly tattoo

You can combine your tribal style tattoo with a more conventional or realistic butterfly like this gorgeous retro design. (Credit: Ask Ideas)

Series of Butterflies

Series of Butterflies tattoo

There’s no need to limit yourself to one butterfly when a whole bunch will do! We love the series of butterflies on this shoulder tattoo.(Credit: F Mag)

What Are the Best Places to Get a Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Tribal tattoos can really flow with the natural curves and lines of your body. Here are a few spaces to consider:


tribal butterfly tattoo on stomach

This tribal tattoo dances around the belly button and waist. Bear in mind that stomach tattoos can warp with weight gain or loss, so speak to your artist about this option. (Credit: Ask Ideas)

Back of the Neck

tribal butterfly tattoo on neck

The back of the neck is a discreet but impactful space to show off your tribal tattoo. (Credit: Trend Spotter).


tribal butterfly tattoo on shoulder

The curve of this butterfly with its folded wings neatly follow the curve of the shoulder. (Credit: Design Trends)

Lower Back

tribal butterfly tattoo on lower back

Lower back tattoos have been the butt of many jokes in recent years, but butterflies emulate the shoulder blades and create real symmetry. (Credit: Trending Tattoo)


butterfly tattoo on ankle

Ankle tattoos last forever and look great with sneakers. You can easily fit in an bold tribal tattoo on your ankle or foot. (Credit: Pinterest )

Where to Buy

Picking the right tattoo artist is an important but intimidating decision. Make sure you research each artist and view a detailed portfolio of their work before making a decision. We can recommend these artists and tattoo parlors for your choices!

Other Tattoo Ideas

If you are still looking for inspiration, you’re in luck. Have a look at these other butterfly tattoo inspiration pages:


The butterfly is a powerful symbol of freedom, independence and joy. No wonder so many tattoo fans are interested in butterfly motifs.

Make sure that you do your research carefully before picking a design and artist. Tattoos are permanent, but they can fade or warp over time.

A skilled artist can provide the advice you need to preserve your tattoo and enjoy it for longer. 

Chloe Hynes-Nguyen
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