A heart tattoo symbolizes friendship, love, passion, and even loss. Due to its wide range of meanings, hearts are common in tattoos. Many associate the origin of the heart symbol with certain aspects of the female body.
Table of Contents
- 1 Traditional Heart With Wings Tattoos
- 1.1 The Claddagh Ring Tattoo
- 1.2 Musical Hearts Tattoo
- 1.3 Flaming Heart Tattoo
- 1.4 The Sacred Heart Tattoo
- 1.5 Hearts with Wings Tattoo
- 1.6 Tattoo Placement
Traditional Heart With Wings Tattoos
Other theories suggest that the heart symbol originates from ancient medical practices. Ancient civilizations once used the Silphium plant as contraception. The heart-shaped seeds of this plant inspired the heart shape we are familiar with today.
The history of the heart as a tattoo touches more into folktales instead of history. According to the tale, an Irish sailor began singing the old Irish folk song, “Rocky Road to Dublin.” He stopped singing after the line, “Saluted father dear, kissed me darling mother.” Instead of singing, he continued to reminisce about his mother. He tattooed the old school “mom heart” across his chest, and the rest is history.
Approval for tattoos increased over the years and the incorporation of hearts remains a popular option for many. Now, tattoos with a heart symbol have come to mean more than a tribute to mothers everywhere.
The Claddagh Ring Tattoo
An Irish symbol, the Claddagh includes an image of two hands holding a heart, topped by a crown. The hands signify friendship, the heart signifies love, and the crown signifies loyalty.
Musical Hearts Tattoo
Musical hearts involve an inverted treble clef joined with a bass clef to form a heart. These tattoos often appear on musicians or those who consider music as an important part of life.
Flaming Heart Tattoo
A heart represents love or friendship, but a flaming heart is indicative more intense emotions. A flaming heart symbolizes passionate love. Religious use of a flaming heart, though, evokes a different meaning.
The Sacred Heart Tattoo
This Christian symbol includes a flaming red heart encompassed by a crown of thorns and pierced by a sword. The heart is then topped with a crucifix. The Sacred Heart represents Jesus Christ’s unconditional love for humanity. It also symbolizes the suffering He endured during His crucifixion.
Many choose the Sacred Heart as a symbol of religious devotion. Still, others may choose this tattoo to represent the passing of a loved one or another sorrowful experience.
Heart Lock Tattoo
People use locks to protect valuable possessions and, for many, one’s heart is a valuable item. A heart-shaped lock or locket with a matching key may show a person’s careful protection of his or her heart.
Couples can also make use of the heart lock/locket tattoos: one person receives the heart lock while the other receives a matching key. This variation represents owning the key to one’s heart.
Hearts with Wings Tattoo
People tend to associate wings with birds or angels, making them an important addition to a heart tattoo. A heart, emblazoned with wings, often symbolizes the loss of a loved one, such as a family member, a child, a friend, or a lover. Thus, a heart with wings often serves as a memorial.
Black Hearts Tattoo
A tattoo of a black heart evokes sad, dark emotions. While some black heart tattoos represent the loss of a loved one, there are other stories behind black heart tattoos. For some, these represent a traumatic day in one’s life. This tattoo is also often associated with the tragic events of 9/11.
Rose Hearts Tattoo
Roses and hearts both have a great deal of symbolism by themselves. Combined, they take on either positive or negative feelings, depending on the finished product. Certain variations represent romantic love by coloring the rose a shade of red. Others serve as a memorial for the loss of a loved one, or a devotional piece to a child or parent. Tattoos of the Sacred Heart also sometimes include these two powerful symbols.
People choose tattoos with EKG lines, also known as heartbeat lines, for a variety of reasons. This tattoo design is common in the medical industry. In general, the heartbeat tattoo symbolizes both life and love. Extra details offer more insight into the true nature of the tattoo. Artists can form the EKG line into names, dates, or even city skylines to represent loved ones, important times, or hometowns.
Anatomical Heart Tattoo
Realistic heart tattoos are growing in popularity. They have the power to represent love and passion without the romanticized nature of the typical heart symbol. If placed on the chest, this tattoo is representative of the wearer bearing his or her heart on his or her sleeves. These tattoos sometimes include a pair of hands holding the anatomical heart. This variation shows that the wearer’s heart is in the hands of another.
Small Heart Tattoo
Small heart tattoos are a common choice for those who want a tattoo, but also wish to keep it somewhat hidden. Small heart tattoos may fit behind the wearer’s ear or on fingers, ankles, neck, and more. This is a versatile variation of the heart tattoo.
Matching Heart Tattoos
Getting matching heart tattoos shows a strong bond between two or more people. With this type, the style of heart tattoo chosen varies. They can be simple, small, anatomical, Claddagh, and more.
Broken Heart Tattoos
The above heart tattoos don’t always have to symbolize something sorrowful. Broken heart tattoos, though, represent heartache. Whether at the hands of a lover or a tragic situation, these tattoos evoke grief and sorrow.
Some broken heart tattoos, though, appear stitched together. This can symbolize healing and strength.
Placement of tattoos is an especially important step when planning any tattoo. The heart tattoo’s placement, though, has the potential to affect the meaning of the tattoo. Small heart tattoos are small enough to fit behind the ear, on one’s ankle, or on a finger. A heart tattoo on the chest is close in proximity to the human heart, which increases the symbolism of the tattoo itself.
There are several other important things to consider when deciding on the placement of a heart tattoo. Some items include pain tolerance, sun exposure, and whether the wearer needs to hide the tattoo.
Back, foot, shoulder, ankle, and behind-the-ear tattoos are easier to cover up with clothing or hair. On the other hand, chest, wrist, and neck tattoos increase difficulty.