A Guide To Traditional Tattoo Designs
Find inspiration for your next tattoo or gain a greater appreciation for this beautiful art form. Tattoo designs have been around for centuries, each with a unique meaning. This article will explore the symbolism behind some of the most famous traditional tattoo designs. Traditional style tattoos are extremely popular, and their iconic designs can symbolise many personal meanings and are very versatile. You can customise traditional tattoo designs to suit your taste and create striking, unique tattoos. Read on to find out more!
Skull tattoos are often seen as a symbol of death or mortality. In some cultures, skulls represent the cycle of life and death and serve as a vanitas, a reminder that life is fleeting.
Ship tattoos are popular among sailors and those with nautical connections, representing strength, power, and courage. A fully rigged ship (depicting three or more unfurled masts) indicates the wearer has sailed the treacherous waters of Cape Horn, one of the most hazardous places in the world for sailors due to its brutal and unpredictable weather conditions.
Nautical star tattoos are another popular choice among sailors and those with maritime roots; sailors used these stars to navigate their way back home; today, they represent guidance and protection.
The tradition of tattooing a pig and rooster on one's feet is thought to bring good luck and protect the wearer from drowning. The two farmyard animals are not fond of water, so they would want quick access back onto land if stranded at sea with no other option but to swim!
The swallow tattoo originated in Georgian England. Sailing 5,000 miles entitled a sailor to get one swallow tattoo, and a sailor with several swallows could show off their nautical experience without saying a word. It also represented safety on the high seas because these birds migrate huge distances but always return home.
The anchor symbolises stability, steadfast faith and security on the ship. Sailors get an anchor tattoo after successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean. You may see the names of "Mum", "Dad", or a special sweetheart inked across the anchor to represent that person's grounding influence.
Interested in Learning More?
Find fascinating tattoo design ideas in our Tattoo Inspiration series.
Discover the Tattoo Inspiration Compendium: An Image Archive for Tattoo Artists and Designers Volume.1 (via eBook and physical book) and Volume.2 (via eBook and physical book) and our latest release, Tattoo Inspiration Compendium of Ornamental Designs (via eBook and physical book)