Last Updated on June 5, 2020
The skull has been a popular symbol throughout generations. It has become a near-universal icon that transcended both history and culture: almost all human cultures old and new had to include a skull as a symbol of choice.
While it has a simple, bold, and rather direct aesthetic, the skull has been adapted to a wide range of symbolisms. Skulls can symbolize courage in overcoming obstacles, or being ready in the face of danger. It has also been a reminder of death and mortality, and in cases, rebellion towards the world’s systems. Skulls are also used to take on a menacing or cool look when tattooed on somebody.
Some of the popular skull tattoos include bull skulls, which are a popular choice in Texas and the Western United States because it is a symbol strength, courage, and agility. The Celts used the skull as a representation of understanding, power, and transience due to it being the seat of the soul. Jolly Rogers, or the popular skull and cross-bones, are used either as an icon of poison, or the free-seafaring life of a pirate.
The Death’s Head, originated in Elizabethan England, was a skull without a lower jaw that represented moral looseness. The very popular Grim Reaper, adorned in black robes and holding a scythe, stands for courage, good fortune, and the cycle of life. The Mexican “Sugar Skull” is often used in Day of the Dead celebrations and has been regarded as a symbol of life.
The skull with the serpent signifies the persistence of knowledge, even beyond death. A less-known example is the Shakespearean skull, which was inspired from “Hamlet”, where the hero lamented the death of his jester, Yorick. Tribal skulls come in bold patterns that symbolize memories of those who lived before and can also be their “afterlife appearance”.
Whether it stands for sinister or sanguine purposes, the skull is a powerful and very relatable image. In this light, wouldn’t it be cool if you had one? If you’re not sure which to pick, here’s a collection of the most unique skull tattoos.