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Dice, cherries and swallows... what do these symbols mean?

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Aug. 25th, 2009 | 10:45 pm
posted by: kittycat_black in kittycatblack

People often ask about the significance of symbols such as the dice and cherries in my jewellery designs. Well, beside the fact that they are fun, striking shapes, I decided to include a little more about the history of the symbols seen in many of my jewellery designs.

Kittycat Black is primarily about fun so the key is to not take too much, too seriously. That said, a lot of symbols that pop up in alternative culture, and therefore alternative fashion, actually have quite an interesting background. The following descriptions have been summarised from "The Vanishing Tattoo - Tattoo Symbol Index". This site covers many, many more symbols than I have listed here and it's a fantastic read. Check it out for yourself!

Dice games, by their very nature, tend to rely much more on luck than skill. As tattoo designs, dice are a metaphor for life. As players we can no more determine or predict the numbers that will turn up on a pair of dice than we can predict the future in a capricious universe. Sometimes in life, as in games of chance, it is more important to be lucky than to be talented.

Certain fruits have strong fertility symbolism, and a deep red, ripe, juicy cherry is perhaps the most prominent example. The juice of a ripe cherry is both intensely flavored and strongly coloured and it has often been compared to the first taste of love. In appearance, cherries have long been said to resemble a lover's lips, and when you bite into a cherry, the fruit gives the appearance of bleeding. There has long been an erotic connection to the fruit of the cherry tree!

As a tattoo symbol, the cherry has come to represent feminine chastity and purity as the fruit ripens on the tree. Once plucked, however, a cherry represents the loss of innocence and virtue. A cherry tasted, its flesh pierced by appetite, is a virgin no more. A cherry surrounded in flames speaks of unquenchable desire, passion and lust.

In ancient times, the swallow was associated with the 'imperishable' stars and the souls of the dead. According to Greek legend, secret texts told how to transform into a swallow, something the ancient deities liked to do.

For more than a century the swallow has been a favorite tattoo motif for sailors. It's often a sign that land is near. During migrations that can be thousands of miles in distance, swallows are known to travel far out to sea, but would alight on boats when close to land - a welcome sign for the sailor hoping for landfall. It's a tradition for sailors -- after logging 5,000 miles at sea -- to sport the swallow (or depending upon your belief, the bluebird) tattoo. Two swallows proclaims 10,000 sea miles. And a swallow with a dagger through its heart is a memorial for a friend lost at sea.

Cats/Black Cats
Independence, quick recovery and freedom of thought, that's the spirit of the domestic feline, of which there are an estimated 600 million worldwide. The cat's famed agility - almost always seeming to land its feet after falling from great heights - has earned it a reputation for having nine lives. The Black Cat may symbolize a belief in feminism, independence from male domination, or an admiration for Pagan or Wiccan spiritual beliefs. There is also a strong element of the erotic, sensual and sexual in
the black cat tattoo.

The Jolly Roger or Pirate's Flag of a glaring Skull over Crossed Bones or Cutlasses goes back to the very roots of a life at sea. Pirates flew their flag when they intended to take no prisoners. It would be a fight, quite literally, to the death. It was meant to instill enough fear in a potential prize that when a ship spotted the pirate's Jolly Roger, the ship's Captain and crew would immediately give up their cargo without a fight.

It's loaded and it's deadly. Power, violence, and a determined personality - these are the messages meant to part your hair like a bullet when you lay eyes on a well-executed gun tattoo.

Devil Girl
As a tattoo, a Devil design symbolizes a mischievous, lascivious, and perhaps slightly wicked nature with a predisposition towards all manner of sinful behavior and other vices!

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Comments {7}

Believe it!

(no subject)

from: kittycat_black
date: Aug. 26th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)

There is actually HEAPS more info even on each of these symbols over on that tattoo symbols website. Definitely a very interesting read...


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