Kanji tattoos

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Death tattoos: the main depictions of the Grim Reaper

There are a variety of different ways that the Grim Reaper can be portrayed as a tattoo symbol. Most Grim Reaper tattoo designs portray the Reaper in a long black robe with his famous long scythe. The Grim Reaper can be shown holding his scythe in a variety of different positions, such as the front or over his shoulder. Due to the length of the robe, only certain parts of the Reaper are usually shown. Skeleton hands are usually seen holding the long scythe. Mostly, the legs are not visible and the Grim Reaper is depicted floating at some distance above the ground (occasionally surrounded by some green or blue mist). The face of the Grim Reaper is usually portrayed as a skeleton skull, with an evil grin and burning eyes. However, some Grim Reaper tattoos show the Grim Reaper as "faceless".

grim reaper / skeleton tattoo on the arm
Grim reaper tattoo - the most common representation of the Grim Reaper: a skeleton wearing a flowing black cloak and carrying a scythe; the skeleton has an evil grin on his face


faceless grim reaper tattoo / angel tattoo
faceless Death


floating Grim Reaper carrying a young girl
floating Grim Reaper; the legs are not visible


Sometimes, the Grim Reaper is depicted riding his legendary pale (or sometimes black) horse. This reference is from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as mentioned in the Christian Bible. Each horseman is named after the power he represents. The fourth horseman - the Death - is described as riding a pale horse. Sometimes the Greek word “chloros” translates the horse’s color as “green” or “pale green” which could be a reference to the green skin color of the deathly ill or recently deceased. It is actually the third horseman that rides a black horse; however many grim reaper tattoos feature the Reaper riding this horse possibly due to the traditional interpretation of the color black representing famine, decay and death.

Death / Grim Reaper riding his black horse
Grim Reaper riding his legendary Black Horse


the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Death is riding the pale-green horse


In some tattoos, the Death / Grim Reaper is depicted seated on a throne of skulls or on a throne decorated with human skulls. Sometimes, the Death's throne is in the top of a huge pile of human bones and skulls.

the Death's throne, decorated with human skulls
The Death's throne, decorated with human skulls


Other depictions (e.g.: Grim Reaper sitting on the bed of a dying man, sitting on branch of a dead tree, sitting on a cross, etc), although present in some tattoos, are not so popular as the above mentioned depictions: the floating Grim Reaper, Grim Reaper riding his horse, Grim Reaper on his throne.

faceless Death waiting for a new victim
Death looking for a victim


mother Grim Reaper and a Grim Reaper child
unusual depiction of the Grim reaper with a baby Grim Reaper


Related posts:
Death Tattoos / Grim Reaper Tattoos: themes and meanings
Death tattoos: angels of death - themes and representations (1)
Death tattoos: angels of death - themes and representations (2)
Death tattoos: angels of death (1)
Angel of Death tattoos: examples and ideas

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