Unlike today, where sporting a tattoo is a style statement, the tattoos of the good old past were a means to identify a particular tribe. Besides, it was also a popular medium to express ones spiritual belief. The plain black and white tribal tattoos for instance, said a lot about the person's social status and achievements.
It is believed that animal tattoos represented the guiding soul or the guardian spirit. To say the least, the tribes believed that it was the animal that choose the person, and not vice versa. Traditionally, the person begins to get visions about their appropriate animal. These animals represent a part of the needs or qualities of the person in question.