Kanji tattoos

Monday, December 24, 2012

Death tattoo: the Death's hourglass

Very often, various symbols of the relentless flow of time (like hourglasses, watches, sundials, old pendulum clocks, timepieces, horologes) are included in the Death tattoo designs. The presence of the time-related symbols is a reminder that the time is running out and the life is slipping away.

Among these, the most popular is the traditional symbol of mortality - the Hourglass.

The image of the hourglass, sometimes with the addition of metaphorical wings, is a symbol of the human life's fleeting, and that the "sands of time" will run out for every human life. The Hourglass also represents the belief that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of something new, as the hourglass can be turned to start over. The hourglass is also a symbol of the patience (the symbol of Death patiently waiting for every human being).

This design often uses the hourglass as the focal point in the tattoo. The hour glass design can be made to look almost as menacing as the Grim Reaper.

Death tatoo / Grim Reaper tattoo / hourglass tattoo
Death's hourglass tattoo / Grim Reaper's hourglass tattoo - if you like this image you can find it on my web site, seiza.ro

Death and the standing nude woman; reverse copy after Sebald Beham; Death as a winged skeleton standing behind a nude whole-length female figure in frontal view, grabbing her wrists; in the lower-right corner can be seen an hourglass.

Related posts:
Death tattoo - various elements which can occur in a Death tattoo
Death tattoos: the main depictions of the Grim Reaper
Death Tattoos / Grim Reaper Tattoos: themes and meanings

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Death tattoo - various elements which can occur in a Death tattoo

A Grim Reaper tattoo design is often combined with a variety of other design elements in order to make a truly unique tattoo design. The number of these design-elements is very large (up to several hundreds) and for this reason even their mere enumeration is an extremely difficult task. In this post I will attempt a brief overview of the most popular elements which can be seen in a Death tattoo.

1. Skulls and skeletons are probably the most common elements which can occur in a Death tattoo; sometimes Death himself / herself is depicted as a skeleton carrying a scythe. Anyway, a skull tattoo can have a different meaning than a Grim Reaper tattoo: triumph, anarchy, white race supremacy, etc (read more here).

Death tattoo on the leg: Grim Reaper holding a skull
Grim Reaper holding a human skull

2. Symbols of the inexorable flow of time: hourglasses, watches, sundials, old pendulum clocks, timepieces, horologes, etc.

Death tattoo covering the shoulder and the arm: Grim Reaper holding a timepiece
Death tattoo - Grim Reaper holding an watch - a symbol of the inexorable flow of time

3. Objects related to the culture of death: crosses (especially gothic and celtic crosses), candles, and tombstones.

Death tattoo covering the shoulder and the arm: Death in a graveyard

4. Animals: the Death's horse, the Black Dog, Cerberus, venomous snakes, birds which are usually seen as bad omens that foretell of death like ravens and crows, some insects (especially the moths).

Death tattoo: Death riding his horse
Death riding his / her horse

5. Weapons: the most common is, of course, the famous Grim Reaper scythe, but many other weapons appear as well: swords, spears, lances, javelins, knives, daggers and even modern guns

gangsta tattoo: King Death
gangsta tattoo: Death holding a gun

6. Objects related to magic and alchimy: orbs, magic compasses, magic crystal ball (a reminder of the fact that Death can see every single corner of the world), the five pointed star, old magic books or papyruses.

Death tattoo: Grim Reaper holding a magic orb
Grim Reaper holding a magic orb

7. Latin maxims and aphorisms: Memento Mori (Remember your mortality, Remember you must die or Remember you will die), Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Thus passes the glory of the world), Carpe Diem (Seize the day), Ubi sunt...? (Where are...?) or Ubi nunc...? (Where now...?) - both of them are shortened variants of the Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? Where are those who were before us?)

Memento Mori: Dance of Death tattoo
Dance of Death tattoo

8. Fate-symbols: dices, playing cards, Tarot cards

Death tattoo: Grim Reaper playing dices
Death tattoo: Grim Reaper playing dices (probably the stake of the game is someone's life)

Death tattoo: Death depicted on a playing card. If yoy like this tattoo design you can find it in a larger format (600 x 500 px) on my website, www.seiza.ro

9. Symbols of power: thrones, highly decorated swords, chains, royal crowns, rings, lightning strokes

Death tattoo: Death wearing a royal crown

10. Nature elements (these elements occur especially in the large tattoos): dead trees (very common in a Death tattoo), the Moon, mist, clouds, dark waters, swamps, lightning strokes

Grim Reaper tattoo on the shoulder and arm
dead trees are a very common element in the Grim Reaper tattoos

11. Elements associated with the Underworld / Hell: flames (the flames of Hell), thrones decorated with human skulls and bones, demons and monsters, the five pointed star. These elements occur very frequent in the so-called satanic tattoos

Lord of the Underworld: Death on the throne
Grim Reaper - lord of the Underworld

12. Other elements: handlamps (used to see in the dark), flowers (the symbol of ephemerality), hearts, scales (as a symbol of equity, justice and impartiality, as well as a symbol of the divine will).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dragons tattoo 2

Hi, everyone.

In this post I'd like to show you several dragons tattoo designs available on my website, www.seiza.ro.

tribal tattoo / tiger and dragon tattoo

First, a black and white tiger and dragon tattoo design, combined with some tribal elements. I think that this design could be a good choice for a shoulder tattoo or for a back tattoo. If you like this image and want to see it in a larger format (600x500 px) you can find it on my website.

back tattoo / tribal tattoo / dragons tattoo

Next: a (relatively) symmetrical tribal tattoo, appropriate for a back tattoo (an upper-back tattoo or a lower back tattoo). If you like this image and want to see it in a larger format (600x500 px) you can find it on my website.

dragon tattoo / bracelet tattoo

Next: a chinese dragon bracelet tattoo design. Read more about the Chinese dragons and about the main types of chinese dragons.

dragons tattoo / tribal tattoo / chinese writing tattoo

A tattoo design for the persons born in the Chinese year of the Dragon; the design combines some tribal elements, two Chinese dragons (in fact, is just one dragon mirrored) and the Chinese ideograms for the Year of the Dragon: 龙年; (pinyin: lóngnián).

red dragons tattoo

The last image for today is a tattoo design which depicts two stylized dragons sitting back to back.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Aztec tattoos: Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of the dead

In the Aztec mythology Mictlantecuhtli was a god of the dead and the king of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld. He was one of the principal gods of the Aztecs and was the most prominent of several gods and goddesses of death and the underworld. The worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around the temple.

His wife was Mictecacihuatl, and together they were said to dwell in a windowless house in Mictlan. Mictlantecuhtli was associated with spiders, owls, bats, the eleventh hour and the northern compass direction, known as Mictlampa, the region of death.

Mictlantecuhtli was depicted as a blood-spattered skeleton or a person wearing a toothy skull. Although his head was typically a skull, his eye sockets did contain eyeballs. His headdress was shown decorated with owl feathers and paper banners, and he wore a necklace of human eyeballs, while his earspools were made from human bones. He was not the only Aztec god to be depicted in this fashion, as numerous other deities had skulls for heads or else wore clothing or decorations that incorporated bones and skulls. In the Aztec world, skeletal imagery was a symbol of fertility, health and abundance, alluding to the close symbolic links between death and life.

aztec tattoo on the forearm: Mictlantecuhtli aztec tattoo covering the shoulder and the upper arm

His arms were frequently depicted raised in an aggressive gesture, showing that he was ready to tear apart the dead as they entered his presence. In the Aztec codices Mictlantecuhtli is often depicted with his skeletal jaw open to receive the stars that descend into him during the daytime.

aztec tattoo covering the shoulder and the arm: Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of Mictlan

Most of the tattoos depicting Mictlantecuhtli are inspired by the statues found in various archaeological sites, especially the Ceramic representation of Mictlantecuhtli exposed at the museum of the Templo Mayor in Mexico City and the statuette of Mictlantecuhtli exposed in the Museo de Antropología in Xalapa, Mexico

Ceramic representation of Mictlantecuhtli
recovered during excavations of the
House of Eagles in the Templo Mayor, now
exposed at the museum of the Templo Mayor
in Mexico City

Statuette of Mictlantecuhtli
exposed in the
Museo de Antropología
in Xalapa, Mexico