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The Origins of Today’s Cross Tattoo Designs

The Origins of Today’s Cross Tattoo Designs

Invested with deep spiritual meaning, virtually all variations of cross tattoos draw their roots from the world’s ancient religions, when such sacred symbols were worshiped for the power they were believed to enclose. Religious symbolism is often reflected in both old and new tattoo designs, and along with other similar spiritual icons, has become very common nowadays among tattoo enthusiasts from all over the world.

Although Christianity popularized the common representation of the cross we are familiar with today, this symbol is actually a lot older and more widespread than you may be tempted to think. The symbol of the cross dates back from prehistory, and archeological discoveries suggest it was part of rock carvings found in Neolithic Europe. The shape of the cross was also predominant in America, Asia and India, where it was associated with the solar cycles, as well as the succession of the four seasons. In modern times, cross tattoos have penetrated into virtually every culture and civilization.

cross tattoo design
In many cultures, the cross is regarded as a symbol of life and immortality, fertility, the joining between the earth and the sky, as well as the sun and the stars. The four arms of the cross indicate North, South, East and West, can lead to the idea of the four winds, or the elements. Representations of the cross were commonly used in the past and are still being used today to act as protective talismans or to invoke benign spirits and chase away demons.
Cross tattoos borrow from different representations of the cross specific to their particular culture of provenience. The Latin cross tattoo design, in the shape of the letter “t”, is one of the most commonly seen designs, followed by the Gothic cross tattoo design – very similar to the Latin cross, with the difference of being thicker and darker, and usually encompassing depictions of thorns, red roses or blood.

The Celtic cross tattoo type has only recently come to achieve more exposure. It usually includes a lot of detail, and is depicted together with complicated knotted patterns and a circle in center, which is known to symbolize the image of the sun. Also referred to as the sun cross, the Celtic cross is a symbol with pagan origins, which was used as a vehicle for paying homage to the majestic, life-giving star.

cross tattoo

The list of less popular cross tattoo design choices comprises the Maltese, Lorraine, and Ankh cross. With its four equal arms ending in a V like shape, the Maltese cross tattoo design symbolizes virtue and loyalty, traits of character once highly praised by the Maltese Knights.

The Lorraine cross, usually depicted together with the French flag, is recognized as the symbol for sacrifice and patriotism, referring to the heroic life of the Maiden of Lorraine.

Common among ancient hieroglyphic inscriptions, the Ankh cross has its origins in Ancient Egypt, and has been perpetuated as the symbol for eternal life and spiritual transition; this cross tattoo design has also earned a lot of ground in recent years.