Tattoo art has been ruling the fashion world for decades now, with some original designs and others, which are added day to day by the creative tattoo artists around the world. The design elements vary from natural objects to tribal designs and religious ones. One of the religious symbols which find use in tattoo art is the cross and cross tattoo has been a leading choice among tattoo lovers from the beginning of this art. There are various types of cross tattoos, depending upon the culture they originate from, and each one has a different meaning. The common thing about these tattoos is that all of them stand for faith and belief in the Almighty.
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Designs And Symbolic Meanings of Cross Tattoos
Here are the meanings related to cross tattoos in different cultures around the world:
Pre-Christian Cross Tattoos
Cross has not been rooted into Christianity. In fact, contrary to the popular belief, it is a much older symbol, which traces back to pagan religions. In ancient pre-Christian cultures, the vertical bar of the cross represented the male phallus while the horizontal one stood for the female vagina. Similarly, it was seen as a phallic symbol by Celtic druids too. The Assyrian cross signifies four cardinal directions while the Egyptian culture associated it with the union of Osiris and Isis. In ancient Babylonian culture, the symbol was related to the moon deity. Therefore, different pre historic cultures relate cross tattoos with diverse meanings. Check our collections of Biomechanical tattoos, Maori tattoos, Henna tattoos for creative ideas.
The advent of Christianity in the world added a new meaning to the cross symbol. It was now used to represent the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans. In religious context, the cross tattoo signifies the victory of Jesus over dead. The variety in design of Christian cross is immense. The basic cross design, called the Latin cross, signifies the union of the divine and the world, which are indicated by the vertical and horizontal sections of the cross respectively. Some Christian designs show a cross along with a rosary, while others may include design elements such as nails and crown of thorns, all these elements originating from the Christian tradition and relating to crucifixion of Christ. Though cross is related to the Christian religion, it does not imply that a follower of some other religion cannot bear the tattoo design. Conversely, it is a design largely preferred all over the world, irrespective of the religion of the bearer.
Holy Cross Tattoos
Like Christian cross designs, the holy cross tattoos express the firm belief of the bearer in Christian religion. Such tattoos may include some religious quotes or text to add to their meaning and strengthen the faith.
Greek Cross Tattoos
Greek symbolism renders the cross as the symbol of religion, using the cross tattoo either in a simple form of a crucifix or adding intricate detailing to the same to make it more meaningful as well as to add aesthetic value to it. The idea behind it is to make the simple design more attractive, yet retain its original meaning.
Celtic Cross Tattoos
One of the most popular versions of cross tattoos is the Celtic or Irish cross tattoo design, which has the simple cross within a circle, which represents the sun. The circle lies at the intersection point of the vertical and horizontal lines of the cross and is enhanced with Celtic knot art work. Such tattoos are eye catching, usually done in black or blue, though some people may have it done in vibrant Celtic green to make it even more appealing.
Gothic Cross Tattoos
Gothic cross tattoos resemble with Celtic cross designs and usually bear elaborate and intricate patterns. The difference is that they usually bear darker elements such as bats, skeletons and blood and are inked in such a manner that they seem to have been carved into the Gothic cross.
Tribal Cross Tattoos
Tribal cross tattoo designs are featured in bold curves and lines and focus more on making the design attractive and eye catching. They are usually done in bright colors.
Other Popular Cross Tattoos
In addition to the aforementioned cross tattoo designs, which are related with different cultures and traditions, there are some other designs which are the result of pure creativity of the designers. Still, they have deeper meanings attached with them. The upside down cross design stands is a negative symbol of mocking the faith, while the cross pattee design, which features a narrow cross that expands at the tips, stands as a symbolic of honor and courage. Other lesser used and unique cross designs are the Coptic cross and the lauburu. The Coptic cross is similar to the Greek cross design in appearance and it stands for evolution. In case of the lauburu, the simple cross pattern shows a variation in the form of tear shaped curves at the arms.
Common Design Elements Incorporated in Cross Tattoo Designs
Like all other tattoo designs, cross tattoos are also sometimes incorporated with some other design elements, with the dual purpose of adding visual appeal as well as symbolic meaning to the basic design. These elements are picked up on the basis of preference of the bearer and also keeping in mind, the meaning he wants to depict with the tattoo. Some may go for butterflies added to the cross as they signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The stars and stripes, which are related with the American flag, add a patriotic symbolism to the cross tattoo design. Some other classic elements added in this design are the heart, angel wings, skull and praying hands. Similarly, verses of the Bible or some religious text can also be used to enhance the meaning of the cross tattoo. Dragon, phoenix, fish, lion, wolf, elephant, celestial objects stars, moon, birds and many other elements such as flowers, dreamcatchers, feathers, anchors, arrows, compass, geometric, musical symbols, heart, infinity, trees, angels, wings can also be used to enhance the cross tattoo designs.
Placement of Cross Tattoos
Cross tattoos are equally popular among men and women. Their placement is determined by the size and design as larger designs need a larger surface area and vice versa. Men are usually seen bearing cross tattoos on their arm, stomach, rib, shoulder, thigh, back, spine, chest, and legs, while women prefer small and more feminine designs, which are suitable to be inked on sleeves, ankles, wrists, lower back, back of the ear, neck even as finger tattoos.
Cross tattoos have always been related with faith and religion, which is the reason why caution should be exercised in having this design inked. One has to be careful that there should be nothing about these designs which may hurt the sentiments of others. You might want to check our collection of Mother & Daughter tattoos, Best Friend tattoos, Sister tattoos, White Ink tattoos.