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Tattoo

Announcement: Body Tattoos – Tattooed World

Getting Inked is one of the most important decisions you can make – body tattoos are permanent, they are a statement of who and what you are. It presents to the outside world a statement of self that cannot be argued with, it tells much of how you perceive yourself and how you want to be perceived by the wider world. At Body Tattoos I want to bring together every aspects of Tattoos and Inking, a one-stop Tattoo Studio online, let me know what you want and how you want to see it…but first, Welcome to Body Tattoos.

Body TattoosBody Tattoos have been part of our culture forever. They may fall out of fashion every now and then but we will always have them.

There is all kinds of speculation about why we have them but there isn’t a single answer – it is just something we do. We probably have a different reason for every Tattoo that we have.

Tattoos for Men, Tattoos For Women, there are so many different styles and types. Each one we have is unique, there will never be two tattoos that are exactly the same. Each is a thing of beauty in it’s own way.

Butterfly TattooTattoo is a living art form, it is a very public statement of who and what we are. It’s not something to be done without thinking about it carefully first, but it’s not something to be afraid of either.

Whether you want a small, hidden tattoo or to have a complete suit the choice is yours and we aim to provide you with lots of knowledge, ideas and inspiration. If you have a Tattoo you want to show off – contact us.

There’s no membership – you are free to browse and see what you want on the site. We add more to our sites every week so its worth subscribing to our free RSS feed so you’ll know whenever there’s anything new. Look around and enjoy…

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Body Tattoos

Butterfly Tattoo Meanings

ButterflyTattoo Meanings

Butterfly Tattoo meanings vary from culture to culture, but just because of that it doesn’t mean you have to choose one just because of some deep meaning.  They are just beautiful and there is no reason you can’t have one just because of that.  In fact, you could say that the meaning for you is simply it’s beauty.

Transformation is one of the key Butterfly Tattoo meanings, the caterpillar transforms to the butterfly and moves on to a whole new phase of life, what could be more representative of a change in your life than the ephemeral beauty that is revealed when the chrysalis breaks open and the butterfly emerges.  This also equates to a sense of freedom that moves through many of the different cultural meanings of the Butterfly and also Butterfly Tattoos.

In many cultures the Butterfly symbolises spirituality, but not the kind that is associated with a religion, more a personal sense of spiritual harmony, the kind of spirituality that we lose as we grow up and if we are lucky, regain.  The struggle of the caterpillar to emerge from and survive all the trials in life before it transforms echos that journey of growth and development in the human spirit until we reach a point of harmony with ourselves and with the world around us.

The Butterfly is seen mainly as a feminine image, but the Aztecs saw them as the embodiment of the spirits of dead warriors whose courage was unquestioned.  The journey from caterpillar to Butterfly was seen as the journey of the soul from it’s earth bound home to the spirit realms of the gods.  The Mayans also saw the Butterfly as the spirits of the dead returning to their earthly home for a brief visit. Many cultures held this belief in slightly different forms.  It is Butterfly Tattoo meanings like this that make them cross gender, rather than just tattoos for women.

 

Butterfly Tattoo Designs

 

The Greeks believed that each time a butterfly fought free from its cocoon, a new human soul was created by the gods.  This belief was also found in the Germanic cultures of Middle Europe where the sighting of a butterfly was seen as a sign that a birth was imminent.  In Eastern European cultures, where the term witch meant ‘Wise Woman’ rather than the meaning we ascribe to it today, the Butterfly was the soul of the witch.  In the Middle Ages spiritual beings often had Butterfly wings rather than the now traditional feathered wings, much as we see in images of fairies today.  These beliefs can be tracked back to ancient times through the excavation of high status burial mounds, where female occupants are often found to have butterfly tattoos.

Native American cultures, Arapaho, Hopi, Apache, Piute see the Butterfly as a symbol of abundance and good harvests, a belief that carries through to Mexican descendants of the Mayas and Aztecs.  The ‘Bulitikibi’ Butterfly Dance of the Hopi Indians is a moving prayer to the Gods for a good harvest.  The symbol for the Morning star is the Butterfly, the coming of a new day as night is transformed by the dawn, so here the butterfly tattoo meanings are health, abundance and wealth.

The Butterfly is firmly rooted in the feminine in Asian cultures, the transformation of a girl into a young woman, the cycle of birth and death and thus the immortality of the human spirit, the return of the spirit to earth to continue its journey of transformation to a higher level of spiritual understanding.  Having said that their is little less feminine than the Japanese Samurai Warrior tradition where Butterflies were a traditional symbol and they are often included in some of the Yakuza tattoos.

So Butterfly tattoo meanings can represent any, all or none of these.  For each of us, they have their own meaning and purpose, and a beauty that is so stunning we want to wear it permanently.  The dainty, gossamer wings or the strong definition of a tribal butterfly tattoo all look equally effective.  The nature of the shapes means that they move with the muscles and the skin giving an illusion of flight a sense of freedom, as if they are about to take off into the wide blue skies of life.

Photo courtesy of Sylvie Szafranski

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Body Tattoos

Butterfly Tattoos

Butterfly Tattoos are probably the single most popular tattoos for women at the moment, closely followed by flowers. The reasons behind that could be speculated on for ever but, at the risk of  being accused of gender bias, they go well with the generally softer female personality.  As Body tattoos go, they have a splendor all of their own and can be as true to life or as fantastical as you like to suit your personality and style.  The simple fact that they are so versatile in size and style is one of the big attractions, few designs are more popular.

Position is all important with any body art, Butterfly foot tattoos are often chosen because they fulfill the dreaded ‘safe for work’ attitude of many employers, though there are still a lot of tattoo artists who are not over keen on doing foot tattoos because of the potential problems.  They are ideal as first tattoo, or a fill in,  as even small ones, say an inch or so, can be striking.  Many women want something bigger so will go for a lower back tattoo which looks really good, and gives the artist plenty of scope to work. The bone and muscle structure of the lower back really lends itself to Butterfly Tattoos as they are usually so symmetrical, though I do like designs that stray away from the mirror image effect of the two wings.  Even a huge Butterfly can look delicate if you choose your colors and design carefully.

 

Butterfly Tattoo Designs

 

Having said that Butterfly tattoos are generally the choice of women, it’s not exclusive.  A lot of men go for Butterfly tattoos, usually tribal in style, more structured in a single color they pick up muscle definition well.   A very effective combination is a colored butterfly at the center of a tribal design in black.  They make quite a statement, so you need to be sure about the design and be guided by your artist.

Like most body tattoos, Butterflies carry a lot of different cultural meanings, along with your own reasons for having one.  They can have a fragile beauty, they are often seen as a symbol for the spirit within, mystical and magical reveling in the sunlight.  Equally in some cultures they are seen as symbolic of wealth and abundance, bright, glittery and jewel-like.   Flying high, bright and free, with their brief life span they are a reminder of  how precious beauty and freedom are to us.

Butterfly Tattoos are amongst the most versatile of designs, add a flower, a swirl, a subtle background and you have something unique and stunning that says much about how you view yourself and the world around you.

Image Courtesy of  Earl53

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Body Tattoos

Getting A Body Tattoo – The First Step

Body tattoosFull body tattoos are spectacular pieces of work, not to be undertaken lightly. Having a major body tattoo is not just a passing thought, it is something that requires commitment on many levels.    It is going to take time, it is going to be expensive, it is going to be painful and it is a lifestyle statement.  You need to think about all the steps involved before the needle touches your skin.

First, you need to be sure that you are ready for a major piece of work, how will it affect you and your lifestyle, rightly or wrongly some employers in some career areas do not look kindly on tattoos, particularly large body tattoos.  Provided that decision is out of the way then design has to be the next step.  If you are going for a full body tattoo, it can be worth looking at some of the tribal body tattoos which have a simplicity and clarity of design that lend themselves to a large piece of work. There are a huge number of good books on Body Tattoo Designs.  It might be that you have an image in mind that means something to you. Either way clarify your ideas, get some sample pictures and designs that you can discuss with your tattoo artist.

You might want to create a tattoo from a number of smaller parts, or link together some older work to create a single large body tattoo.  If that is the case it is critical that you discuss the progress of the work with your artist and make sure that everything is consistent – lettering styles, depth of color, style and structure.  This is easier if you are working from scratch, but a good artist will unify a series of older images even if it means touching up and overworking some of the originals.

Choosing your artist is as important as choosing your design, a good artist will work with you to create the image you want and won’t object however many times you tweak and change the design until you are happy with it.  Once the work is started it is far harder to make changes so everyone wants to make sure it is right first time.  I often think the first step should be to discuss the work you want with your artist before you start planning your body tattoo as they will be able to give you design and style ideas that will work with your body.

Before work starts make sure you have the whole body tattoo planned out, get a stencil done and placed on your body so that you can see how the design will flow around the body and how the movement of muscles will affect it.  Also think about what will happen if and when your body shape changes – and it will.  Body tattoos look spectacular when they are fist done but without maintenance, both your tattoo and your body will deteriorate and a beautiful image will become nothing but a faded remnant of a once beautiful piece of body art.

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Tattoo Tattoos For Men

The Vanishing Tattoo

In the final part of the series Lance and Tom have a tattoo and Eddie talks about what the traditional symbols of the Iban mean to him and their importance. The search for vanishing tribal symbols continues, but there is the start of a resurgence in interest within the Iban tribes for their heritage. A fantastic series of videos, this completes the story and highlights the importance of tattooing in our cultures.

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Tattoo

Into The Tribe

In Part 5 of the series, the Iban Tribe acquires a new member and the symbolism of the Tattoo is explained. Following his Tattooing in the traditional manner, VIncent is adopted into the Tribe and discovers his coming was seen in a dream by his adoptive father

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Tribal Tattoos

Hand Tapped Tribal Tattoos

Part 4 of The Vanishing Tattoo series continues with the filming of a hand- tapped tattoo. Following the death of a great Tribal Tattoo artists, and after a gap of almost 40 years, an Iban master applies a tattoo…

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Tribal Tattoos

The Strength In Tribal Tattoos

The guys explore the world of Iban tattoos further and prepare to be tattooed. Iban women are also tattooed to protect them from the dangers of their daily lives. There are some fascinating insights into the spiritual beliefs associated with the traditional tattoos and the strength their wears draw from them.

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Tribal Tattoos

Tribal Tattoos and the Spirit World

In part 2 of The Vanishing Tattoo documentary, the importance of the spirit world in the tribal tattoo designs and placement is explored. The Iban use tattoos to identify themselves and to place themselves in the world.

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Tribal Tattoos

The Vanishing Tattoo

Tribal Tattoos are definitely my main area of interest at the moment, and whilst web wandering I came across the documentary by Thomas Lockhart and Vincent Hemingson from a couple of years ago.  It still makes good viewing and it’s a real insight into Tribal Tattoos in the truest form so I’m going to post the videos over the next few days to make up the series.  There is a short intro so there will be two videos in this post then the others will follow.  Well worth watching.

In part 1 Canadian tattoo artist Tom Lockhart, and tattoo writer and historian Vince Hemingson set out to document the ancient tattoo practices before they vanish foreverThey set out on a tough journey deep into the heart of the jungles of Borneo to meet the last remaining Iban tattoo artists…