Skull tattoos are among the most popular and traditional tattoo designs. Popularity has grown from the Jolly Roger, associated with pirates and sailors, to various meanings for all types of people. Although many people associate skull tattoos with dark, gothic thoughts many people find them to be uplifting and inspiring. Both men and women get skull tattoos in various designs and placements.
The Jolly Roger is a skull and crossed bones that was traditionally used to signify a pirate ship at sea. According to some legends, a black flag meant that the pirates would be taking on prisoners while a red flag meant that there would be no survivors. Many people have adopted this symbolism as a sign of their strength and fierceness, or as a warning that they, also, take no prisoners.
Another popular skull tattoo is a more colorful rendition of the sugar skulls used during the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. It is thought that the sugar skulls replaced real human skulls used in native traditions to honor the dead after the Spanish came to present day Mexico. These skulls are often colored with bright blues, reds, and greens, and are used to symbolize the passage between life and death. These tattoos are popular with people who have Mexican heritage or are Catholic. However, as the celebration becomes more secular many people are adopting the symbolism to their personal beliefs and use these tattoos to honor a deceased loved-one or to remind them of the close relationship between life and death.
Another popular skull is the death’s head skull, which lacks the lower jawbone. This skull was used in England as a sign that the bearer was morally loose. This included prostitutes and rakes, however, in modern times it is often adopted by people who want to show that they have alternative moral viewpoints. Other common meanings behind skull tattoos include the concept of poison, signifying that the bearer is dangerous, the concept of loyalty until death, and the idea of either cheating death or being prepared for death.
The placement of a skull tattoo can mean as much as the design itself. Some people prefer highly visible placements such as the traditional upper arm tattoo for sailors, or on the calf. This placement allows the world to see the tattoo and draw conclusions about the symbolism. Other people prefer more private placement such as along the hipbone, or on the foot. This more hidden placement is sometimes used for intimate memorials of friends and family or when a person does not want to reveal too much of an alternative viewpoint to the general population. Skull tattoos tend to look good when they are paired with a boney part of the body, such as near the ankle bone or clavicle as an association can be drawn between the skeleton of the bearer and the tattoo. The proper design and placement of a skull tattoo can appropriately convey almost
any desired symbolism, and is a classic tattoo design that is not effected by fashion trends.
Check out our Skull Tattoos Design Ideas Gallery