03 April 2010

The Meaning Of Tattoos

The Meaning Of Dragon Tattoo

Especially the long and flexible dragon, who descends from japanese tattoo traditions, is one of the most popular tattoo motives. Due to his shape he practically fits on every part of the body. Covering full backs, winding himself around arms or coiling up on the chest of the carrier.

In the western culture the dragon, according to the snake, symbolizes evil and has to be fought therefore. Different the japanese dragon which is called Oni and stands as a symbol of luck. The japanese dragon has its roots in the chinese mythology. He was said to live in the skies and had the ability to bring out the rain which was of big importance for the rice cultivation.

The dragon reached japan as a live spending water symbol due to the close cultural connection between china and japan where he is highly honored and admired. It is important to keep him happy because after all he could easily cause a seaquake if begrudgingly. One of the most famous and most tattooed dragon legends, aside the display of the buddhistic gods of wind and thunder (Fu-jin and Rai-jin) who are riding the dragons, is the Tamatori Hime.

The Meaning Of Tribal Tattoos

The tribal designs widely used and applied nowadays go back to the black, silhouette like and geometric tatau ornaments of the polynesians. It was also tribal tattoos the sailors brought home to Europe, from their first journeys to Tahiti, before the influences of the sailors with maritime designs, the today called traditional tattoos, replaced the native motives.

The release of Tattoo Time, a tattoo magazine founded in 1982 by the american innovator Don Ed Hardy and Leo Zulueta started an amazing tribal tattoo boom. The title of the first issue was "New Tribalism" and it features native tattoos from Samoa and Borneo. From there on the tattoo scene re-discovered tribal designs as a tattoo style. Not only that, the black and gently swinging style of tribal weakened the negative associations made with tattoos in the years before. Only after half a year the black designs were among the most popular motive choices and tribal is still one of the most popular tattoo styles today.

There are a lot of tattoo artists who refuse to tattoo simple tribal because of the widely spread believe a tribal is not very challenging for the artist. This is not true. Tribal patterns should always be applied correctly, along the musculature and single muscle parts of the body and should come across as a grown part of the body. The colouring should also be very even and this is not the easiest to do.

The Meaning Of Celtic Tattoos

The Celts, inhabitants of Northern Britain which is called Caledonia, glorified the power of live and it's creators in which the male and the female principles were both equal and in harmony. For the Celts, live itself was the driving power in the universe. The power that reveals the highest wisdom and everything divine in it's varieties. Death just played a subordinated role. It was just a short interruption in the forever ongoing and always changing cycle of life.

Therefore typical celtic tattoos are devoured ornaments, complicated and twisted knots and spiral motives mostly done in black. Those symbols demanded a very high understanding of mathematics and geometry and were used by the irish monks in the early middle ages, from the 4th until about the 10th century after christ, for drawings in books and they were also found on monuments. Monuments made out of stone like the so called celtic crosses.

Faithful to the celtic believe the celtic cross symbolizes the unity of the opposite spheres. Up and down for heaven and earth and left and right for male and female. And the circle, the perfectly closed form and the divine symbol for the forever ongoing cycle, underlining this union.

The Meaning Of Japanese Tattoos

The most used japanese tattoo motives with an explanation of their meanings.

Hannya Masks
Against the wide-spread opinion Hannya Masks do not have anything to do with the devil or Satan. There is a concept of a hell in the Japanese Buddhism, but Hannyas are terrestrial monsters. Confused human feelings like passion, jealousy or hate can transform women into these dreadful monsters. In the classic Nô-Theatre of Japan, where the as drafts often used Hannya masks descended from, stories of such female demons are told, who can only be released of their inhuman shape over the way to Buddha.

Kiyo Hime
The best known story of a Hannya demon is the one from Kiyo Hime. Her father owned a harborage in which a monk stopped each year. Over the years Kiyo Hime developed a deep love to the monk but her feelings could not be returned by him. One night Kiyo Hime confessed her love to him and it came to a controversy between the two of them and in which process Kiyo Hime enraged and the monk had to escape. He found shelter in a close monastery and hid himself under an enormous bell. In the meantime, in the intoxication of its hate love, Kiyo Hime had transformed into a demon with the body of a snake and a Hannya head. It sought out the monks hiding place and melted the bell with its fire breath, thereby causing the object of its longing a painful death.

Kannon is a Bodhisattva of the Mahayana Buddhism. The task of the Bodhisattva is it to support humans on their way to illumination. There are Bodhisattva with several different tasks. Kannon is the Bodhisattva of sympathy and pity. In Japan Kannon is represented by a woman, usually riding a dragon. while in India, the country of origin of Buddhism, Kannon is represented by a male.

Fudô Myôô
In the buddhist hierarchy the Môôs stand under the Bodhisattva. They are also protectors of the Buddhism but in the contrary to the gentle Bodhisattva rather martial due to their armament. The most popular Myôô as a tattoo motive is Fudô Myôô, the imperturbable one. He is also considered the guard of hell and a knowledge king and is always displayed with a rope, with which he binds evil, and a sword, with which he fights Buddhism enemies.

The best known japanese motive is the dragon, for sure. In Japan it is regarded as a luck bringing animal. This may be justified due to the fact that the japanese dragon is a water symbol. He lives either in the clouds, from where he climbs down during thunderstorms, or also in rivers and lakes. It stands for an element which was of an enormous importance for the rice cultivation rice in Japan. Therefore dragons are highly respected and admired in Japan and weren't fought like in european tales for instance.

In Japan, a koi jumping or swimming up a waterfall is a symbol of strength, the ability to assert oneself and success. As a phallic symbol it stands for male strength and power.

Tamatori Hime
The legend tells that Tamatori Hime once stole the king of the underwater world who was an enormous dragon his most valuable possession, a precious bead. In order to swim faster on her escape, Tamatori Hime cut herself and hid the bead in her own body. Although she found her way ashore, she died on her injuries becoming a victim of her own greed.

Although there were never any tigers living in Japan, this majestic looking motive found its way into the forming arts of Japan really early. Drafts for Japanese pictures of these sovereign and at the same time strength defying animals were probably tigers who were introduced from India. The same as carps and dragons the tiger as a tattoo motive primarily is a symbol of strength and power.

Suikoden Warriors
In an ancient Chinese novel, which was was translated into Japanese in the middle of the 18. Century under the title Suikoden (Stories of the Beach), it is told from 108 rebels who carried some tattoos. The illustrations of many different Japanese artists to the adventures of these brigands were used as tattoo flash. Especially the color woodcut series of Utagawa Kuniyoshi was gladly used which was published by the artist in the year 1827.

In Japan the snake is also considered an animal with a negative character, although the association between snake and sin, biblically justified with us, is naturally missing there. When applying a full body suit a good Japanese tattoo artist attends to combine snakes only with designs of blossoms which actually bloom at the seasons in which snakes do not hold their winter sleep.

by: tattoojoy.com

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