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The swallow for loyalty (swallows have a single mate for life), to guide a sailor home (finding birds at sea mean you're near land/swallows always find their way home) and also to signify sailing 5,000 nautical miles (one swallow for every 5,000 miles).

A rooster and pig on the ankles, knees, calves, or top of the feet are to prevent a sailor from drowning. These animals were originally carried on most ships in wooden crates. When a ship went down, the crates would float, then catch currents and wash ashore with the other debris from the ship, making the pigs and roosters often the lone survivors of a shipwreck. Also signified, "Pig on the knee, safety at sea. A cock on the right, never lose a fight."

A tattoo of King Neptune or a turtle standing on its back legs or a "shellback" for crossing the equator and being initiated into King Neptune's Court. Sailors who cross the equator are nicknamed "(Trusty) Shellbacks", those who cross the equator at the 180th meridian (International Date Line) are then known as "Golden Shellbacks", while the rarest title of "Emerald Shellback" is reserved for those who cross at the Prime Meridian.

Crossed anchors on the web between the thumb and index finger for a Bosun's (Boatswain's) mate.

Royal Navy tattoos of palm trees for the Mediterranean cruises in WWII. Palm trees, hula girls and pin-up girls were also popular tattoos from the WWII era.

The words HOLD and FAST were tattooed on the knuckles to help hold line and to keep from falling overboard.

An anchor tattoo for sailing the Atlantic or to signify being in the merchant marine, a full-rigged ship for sailing around Cape Horn or to signify a literal or figurative journey (sometimes accompanied with a banner, reading "Homeward" for those loyal to home and family), a dragon for crossing the International Date Line or serving in China.

Rope around the wrist for being a dockhand.

A compass rose, or one (and sometimes two) nautical stars to ensure always knowing the way or being able to find your way home (sailors once navigated using the stars). In more recent times, the color of the star could also denote port (blue or green) or starboard (red).

Guns or crossed cannon for military naval service and harpoons for the fishing fleet.

Crosses on the soles of one's feet to ward off sharks.

A tattoo of a shark, octopus, leviathan, etc. shows that the sailor is not afraid of death at sea.

A dagger through a rose signified a willingness to fight and kill even something as fragile as a rose. A dagger through a swallow signifies a lost comrade.

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โˆ™ 2008-07-24 15:46:50
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Q: What are traditional nautical tattoos?
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Related questions

Why are henna tattoos different from traditional tattoos?

Henna tattoos wash off, or wear off, while traditional tattoos are permanent.


What is the symbolism of a barn swallow?

Bluebirds and swallows are traditional nautical tattoos with a long history of use. They symbolise happiness and good fortune. The swallow was a tattoo a sailor got after traveling 5000 nautical miles.


How many nautical miles equal a nautical star for sailors tattoos?

1000 miles per nautical star.


What is the significance of the traditional nautical tattoo of a shark?

From what I've gathered any traditional tattoo of a shark, octopus, leviathan, etc. shows that the sailor is not afraid of death at sea. Today, Navy Divers get shark tattoos.


What is the meaning of 2 nautical star tattoos on your chest?

The meaning of 2 nautical star tattoos on your chest can mean a number of things. There are no standard meanings for tattoos, it is up to the person getting tattooed. Often nautical stars are used as symbols of moving forward, or of being able to follow your path.


Which group of people commonly uses nautical star tattoos as an informal signifier?

The group of people that commonly use nautical star tattoos as an informal signifier are the United States Armed Forces. Nautical star tattoos are made to look like a five-pointed star in a dark and light color.


What is the meaning of the sparrow tattoos?

The tat may have a religious significance... see Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Sparrow (swallows, you may be confused with) are traditional nautical/Navy tattoos that signify that the sailor has traveled a certain amount in his life. Same with Nautical stars.


What does a purple and black nautical star mean?

Nautical stars are popular tattoos. The nautical star was originally a symbol for sailors but in present times, despite color, they do not have a meaning.


What are traditional tattoos?

Tattoos that look like they were drawn by a 12 year old.


What does green and black nautical stars mean?

Green and black Nautical star tattoos to my knowledge are a symbol for Irish strength and diversity


How long does it take to get a nautical star tattoos?

It takes around one to two hours to get a nautical star tattoo. The exact length of time depends on how big the tattoo is.


What is the meaning of a beveled star tattoo?

The beveled star or "nautical star" is seen often in early American traditional tattoos. It was first made popular by sailors. The star was used to represent the north star and coincided with finding one's way home.


What do the stars on the knuckles tattoo mean?

Tattoos of stars on knuckles can have different meanings to them. They can have a nautical meaning or they can just be decorative.


What does a nautical star tattoo look like?

Ok It's like a regular star but it's points (limb) are split in half and they are usually a different color. (ex. one side's black and the other side is white. Or try google.com or yahoo.com Go here: http://www.malutattoo.com/traditional-arms.jpg and you will see a photo of two Nautical Star tattoos. Enjoy!


Do sparrow tattoos sybolize hope?

Hope and Homecoming. Sailors used to spot them when nearing land, which is why they factor into traditional american style tattoos


What are the most common designs for chest tattoos?

Chest tattoos can be as varied as their owners. The most popular designs are frequently nautical and used by sailors. Dragons and birds, especially eagles, also figure prominently.


What is the symbolism of a bluebird tattoo?

Bluebirds and swallows have a long history in nautical tattoos. Both symbolise happiness and good fortune.


Do star tattoos symbolize homosexuality?

Not all star tattoos represent homosexuality. Some lesbians have historically used a nautical star or purple star tattoo to represent their sexuality without breeders really knowing about it.


Meaning of the Nautica star?

The nautical star is a symbol for sea services of the armed forces. It is used a lot in tattoos and it is a 5 point star.


Does Hebrew religion believe in Hebrew tattoo writing?

No. Traditional Judaism forbids tattoos of any kind, however, in Reform Judaism, decisions like tattoos are made at a personal level.


What do nautical star tattoos on your breast mean?

good luck. when red, they might mean that the person is an enemy of the state in certain countries [its the communist star].


How are Henna tattoos different from traditional tattoos?

Henna is painted on and is temporary, but a traditional tattoo is permanent.Henna "tattoos" are applied topically, using a stylus or other implement to apply a paste, which is left to set (dry) and then washed (or peeled) off leaving a red-ish brown design.Henna tattoos are a temporary personal adornment. Well attended a henna design will last 2 days to a week.Henna designs vary from simple pieces the size of a half-dollar, to complex traditional pieces that take a whole day to apply.Traditional tattoos are applied by using an implement (needle, gun, etc.) to break the skin and allow pigment to permanently stain the design into your flesh.A traditional tattoo is a permanent form of personal adornment. With care they can be crisp and clear for years, but time and gravity work on the skin and its elasticity making older tattoos less crisp.Certain of the colours now found in permanent tattoos have "fading" issues and may need to be retouched over time.Traditional tattoos can be removed using laser treatments but there is always some scarring.Traditional tattoos also come in many varied sizes and designs, from the size of a quarter to full body.There are some tattoos used cosmetically, to make "permanent" eyeliner, lipstick etc, or to cover some scars/blemishes.The traditional tattoos seen today include such things as portraits, team logos, cartoon characters, as well as tribal designs, florals, quotations, religious symbols,zodiac signs, and anything else the person wearing them can think of and have an artist design.


What are the major differences between traditional ta moko and tattoos?

that they use tattoo machines instead of chisels


What does a blue five-point star tattoo symbolize?

Star tattoos have multiple meanings and are subjective based on the person. The most common type in Nautical stars.


What is the symbolism of a swallow and cherry blossom tattoo?

Bluebirds and swallows are traditional nautical tattoos with a long history of use. They symbolise happiness and good fortune. The swallow was a tattoo a sailor got after traveling 5000 nautical miles. Cherry blossoms are a Japanese metaphor for life (the brief blooming and inevitable fall) as well as a Chinese symbol of the feminine principals. In the Victorian Language of Flowers it means love, and a good education.

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