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Tattoo Education: Nautical Tattoos


In the next few editions of Tattoo Education, we will look at some of the most common tattoo designs around. Though common, these designs are highly symbolic. Let's look at some of these designs...

The Anchor Tattoo - The anchor has long been a favoured among sailors from all over the world, US Marines and naval aviators. Some designs that are commonly tattooed along with the anchor are sailing ships, mermaids, the nautical star, etc...

In ancient times, the anchor was a symbol with ties to the Christian church. An anchor tattoo can be thought of as holding one steadfast, like an anchor holding a great sailing ship safe in harbour, against winds and currents that might carry it astray.

The Bluebird Tattoo – The bluebird is another nautical tattoo with a long maritime history that dates back to more than a century. The sighting of a bluebird (swallow) after a long journey at sea, was seen as a sign of good luck. A sailor would get a tattoo of the bluebird on one side of his chest after logging 5,000 miles at sea. Once he logs another 5,000 miles, he would get another bluebird tattooed on the other side of his chest.

The Compass Tattoo - Here is another popular maritime tattoo. I reckon by now, you can see the link between tattoos and sailors. In fact, that's exactly how tattoos became popular. The sailors brought the art of tattooing all over the world. Anyhow, the compass tattoo is similar to the nautical star tattoo to what it symbolizes. A good sailor would solely use a compass and the North Star to get to his destination. With that said, a tattoo of a compass would help one navigate his way through life.



  1. Star Tattoo
    Of course the most notable aspect of a star is the light that it exudes. Many are the examples of churches, caverns, and even tombs with stars painted on the ceilings. Their place in the dark night SKY as symbols of heavenly beauty is also the source for their associations with hopes, dreams, and inspiration. They are also sometimes associated with the souls of those who have died and they figure in many ancient cultures and religions as omens of great import. The star in tattoo is done in many different styles and can be a straightforward five-pointed star with radiating beams of light or something more abstract, as if seen through rippled glass. But bright yellow light is almost always one aspect of the design.
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  2. My boyfriend got a compass tattoo on his left shoulder.  What is the meaning of that? Homosexual??????

  3. Why would that mean he is a homosexual? It doesn't make a difference where the tattoo is located. =)

  4. Then again, I would think otherwise if a guy has a compass tattoo on his butt cheek or even better, at the center of his lower back. Now that would be funny!


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