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Topic: Come one come all post your new tattoo IDEAS!  (Read 418870 times)
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Jillie
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« Reply #650 on: March 09, 2007 05:32:37 AM »

That swallow is a bit of a prison tattoo it means something to do with fighting. When people see that tattooed on you they are going to assume you've been in prison, unless that's what you want them to think.

Swallows can mean a lot of different things in tattoos.  For example sailors used to get two of them on their chests when they traveled over 5000 miles for the first time--usually adding something between them for each subsequent long voyage.
They can also symbolize the belief that if someone with swallow tattoos dies, the birds will carry his/her soul to heaven.
Or some people just like them or have a personal story attached to them... like in memory of a parent/friend who was a sailor.
I've actually never heard the prison symbolism before.
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« Reply #651 on: March 09, 2007 05:39:06 AM »

That swallow is a bit of a prison tattoo it means something to do with fighting. When people see that tattooed on you they are going to assume you've been in prison, unless that's what you want them to think.

Uh, I dunno about that...I've seen lots of swallow tattoos and never assumed it meant anyone was in prison. I've never heard anyone say that, so I'm pretty sure it's not common knowledge, and I associate swallows more with sailor-type old school tattoos. I would never assume that anyone was in prison just because of their tattoos. But then, maybe I'm biased because I like the swallow design...
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mycatisnosferatu
« Reply #652 on: March 09, 2007 07:02:49 AM »

Symbolism of a Swallow Tattoo
Here are opinions and answers from FAQ Farmers:


Swallow tattoos are just that; tattoos of the swallow bird. Reading about it, they are the traditional tattoos of birds that are commonly seen on people.

The swallows are an old sailors tattoo. Sailors got them for proof of the Navy and trust. I'm getting one on my hand next week. Sailors also got mum and dad with an anchor behind it.

Long ago, a sailor would get a swallow tattoo after successfully sailing a certain amount of miles (obviously a great deal of miles, but I'm not sure exactly how many).

Actually, all swallows return home to San Juan Capistrano every year. So the tattoos were used to say that you will always come home. They are a sign of loyalty, pride to both regions and people.

It is said in an old superstition, that when you see a swallow for the first time in a new year it is an omen of wealth. You're supposed to rub the money in your wallet while watching the bird, in order to ensure wealth in the future.

Sailors would have a swallow tattoo put on their chest after completing 5,000 sea miles and one on the other side after completing 10,000 sea miles. Many sailors still get authentic Naval tattoos.

Here is the origin of the swallow tattoo: there was a ship named the swallow, the men had a mutiny and the original seven mutineers had swallows tattooed on them so that they could identify each other. Out of this two things happened: 1. People got swallows tattooed on them and lied about being one of the original seven; and 2. The authorities heard of this identification and searched for the seven sailors who got swallows to throw them off the right trail. Since then sailors have gotten swallows for every 5,000 nautical miles, one on each side of their chest, when they would retire they would hang a string between the two birds and hang womens underwear and stuff.

The traditional tattoo means: A sailor gets a set of swallows on his chest. The story goes if he or she drowns, the swallows come down and lift his soul to the heavens.

Sailors would get swallows after sailing all seven seas. If they had one, they saved a man's life. Its a sign of trust, honor, dignity and respect. Nowadays, they mean nothing more than some random tattoo that someone gets that has no meaning behind it.

I've always heard that the swallows are a mark for sailing around the horns (the bottom of South America and Africa) or for crossing the Equator, both longitude and latitude.

Okay; the swallow is a tattoo that a sailor gets after traveling 5,000 nautical miles at sea, but the reason behind it is that a swallow is the "first sign that land is near". To a sailor the swallow means a "safe return home". Swallows are known to travel far distances out to sea during migration and would rest on boats close to shore which gave early mariners the first sign that land was indeed close by. The horizon is 12 miles from a boater's standpoint in the ocean (more if higher up) and swallows fly further then 12 miles out. The swallow is also known as a sparrow and was worn by the famous pirate "Jack Sparrows".

The swallows traditionally mean 5,000 miles for the first and 10,000 miles for the second. When I got mine done, in honor of my grandfather, I was warned by the tattoo artist to be aware that, in terms of jail house tattoos, the bluebirds, swallows or sparrows can also stand for white supremacy or white power.

I am surprised that no one has commented on the connection that swallow tattoos have to rock and roll or music in general. I have always connected the swallows with a love, respect and appreciation for music. Much like the swallows always returning to San Juan, their home. I've always thought the tattoo represented always being home when you're within the music.

I've always associated swallow tattoos with loyalty and fidelity - swallows choose a mate for life and will only nest with that bird and no other. Also they carry a message of hope, when sailors saw a swallow they knew that land was near.

I actually wondered about this myself, and by chance a homeless person in London approached me, wanting to sell "the big issue" (a magazine). He had two swallows tattooed on his neck, so I asked him the meaning, and he said; "Its kind of rude" and he whispered it to me, because my girl was with me and he was a gentleman. He said it meant "Live long and f**k hard".

I always thought that two swallows seen paired together symbolized freedom.

I heard that the swallow/sparrow tattoos are to commemorate a fallen friend or family member. I would assume any persona that the bird has i.e., devil horns, angel halo or even a knife through it would depict the dead person's personality or trait.

It just means that they were a "Hard Man" back in their day. Everyone that I have ever met with a swallow tattoo has been at least a bit psychotic.

A swallow tattoo used to be worn by sailors back in the day. When you were out/lost at sea and you saw a swallow you knew you were close to land because these birds are never far from shore. They would follow the birds to safety or to home. I think the idea is that when you had the swallow marked on your body it would always help you find your way home.

They indicate that you've gone to prison and done your 'bird'.

From what I've heard and researched, swallows on the back of the hands are supposed to give you faster hands, such as in a fight or at work. These tattoos are much more common in Great Britain. I've never heard of them meaning racism or white supremacy before.

In Scotland it usually signifies a spell in the infamous Bar-L or Barlinnie prison in Glasgow.

I grew up in a bad area in Australia and a grandfather of a friend of mine came from England. He was a very hard man and the whole family were very tough and underworld related. I remember being a kid in their house when the grandfather was there and I asked him what his tattoos meant. He looked down on me with a hard face and said in a thick English accent (they moved to Australia in the 70's) "It means I can walk into any pub and put my hands on the bar and if anyone would want to fight, then I would fight them". He was a big guy and I had heard rumors of him tearing people apart. So I guess that they kind of mean courage, strength and loyalty. Oh yeah he was also a "Teddy Boy" in England, but I am not so sure what that is.

The swallow tattoo in England means "these fists fly". Its mainly seen on old guys now who used to be good fighters or well know hard men back in the day of the Krays, etc. Now younger people get them because they think they're tough. But the bright new ink used nowadays doesnt give the same look as the original tattoo.

I had a few tattoo artists tell me that sailors would get one bird tattooed on themselves after crossing the equator and the other when they came back.

My Dad has a swallow tattoo on his hand. When asked about it, he said he got it when he was 13 because it was the cheapest in the shop!

Swallow tattoos on a man's hands and neck originated in British prisons from the term 'jail-bird'. It simply means you have been to prison and served your 'bird'.

Freedom.

The swallow tattoo on the hand symbolizes that you're a swinger.
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« Reply #653 on: March 09, 2007 07:29:19 AM »

I didn't mention white supremacy or racism associated with the swallow tattoo...I said something to do with fighting.... 'these fists fly' is what I couldn't remember - If you have a swallow tattoo you are expected to prove it so people will pick you for fights. My father was a sailor and although covered in tattoos they are sharks, peacocks and dragons done in hongkong in the 70's not swallows, some of his friends have traditional sailor swallows with ribbon - so not to look like prison tattoos which they obviously weren't allowed in the navy.

I like your swallow tattoo too, it's very pretty.  - the wikipedia article on 'swallow tattoos mentions' the prison tattoo aspect  (I didn't just write that wiki myself then either) so I'm guessing it's well known but it has the meaning of white supremacy too in american prisons Shocked . When I see that tattoo on strangers I assume they've been in prison and they think themselves a good fighter - it's an automatic thought when know about prison tattoos. Once a friend of mine from a small isolated south pacific island said that he thought a tear under the eye was cool and he wanted it for a tattoo, everyone else cracked up because they knew it was a prison tattoo forced on pedofiiles.

I guess tattoo knowledge and culture is different in America because the meanings of gang tattoos have been carried inside prisons and imposed themselves over established tattoo lore, but here -I  am Australian too (although not from a bad area?Huh?), maybe because our white people are largely decended from convicts the traditional meanings of prison tattoos and what they mean is quite well known in the general population and gets a reaction.

Teddyboys were the anti-punks the two often rumbled, they spoke really bad english yet wore somewhat classy early-era clothing they hung around in british pubs and fought alot when they saw a punk or a punk saw them they would always fight. My dad was (and still is) a punk.Teddy boy style was a major influence on tommy hilfiger

I have also heard the swallow tattoo can be worn to advertise that you um....do.
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mycatisnosferatu
« Reply #654 on: March 09, 2007 10:08:18 AM »

Oh.....I didn't write that, I found it an copied and pasted it.
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« Reply #655 on: March 09, 2007 11:01:51 AM »



I have a tattoo like that too!!

(please remove images when quoting, thanks! --EmilyFlew)

i like it h the japanese style waves, very nice!
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007 07:05:12 AM by EmilyFlew » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #656 on: March 09, 2007 11:35:29 AM »



I have a tattoo like that too!!





i like it h the japanese style waves, very nice!

Thank you!  Smiley
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sapphire_distortion
« Reply #657 on: March 09, 2007 02:52:59 PM »

I like your swallow tattoo too, it's very pretty.  - the wikipedia article on 'swallow tattoos mentions' the prison tattoo aspect  (I didn't just write that wiki myself then either) so I'm guessing it's well known but it has the meaning of white supremacy too in american prisons Shocked . When I see that tattoo on strangers I assume they've been in prison and they think themselves a good fighter - it's an automatic thought when know about prison tattoos. Once a friend of mine from a small isolated south pacific island said that he thought a tear under the eye was cool and he wanted it for a tattoo, everyone else cracked up because they knew it was a prison tattoo forced on pedofiiles.

I guess tattoo knowledge and culture is different in America because the meanings of gang tattoos have been carried inside prisons and imposed themselves over established tattoo lore, but here -I  am Australian too (although not from a bad area?Huh?), maybe because our white people are largely decended from convicts the traditional meanings of prison tattoos and what they mean is quite well known in the general population and gets a reaction.

Oh, my bad. It might be a cultural difference like you said - I'm in midwestern America, and the only thing that ever makes me think "prison tattoo" is the tear under the eye or just a really, really badly done black and white tattoo. Everything else is pretty much free game Tongue
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« Reply #658 on: March 09, 2007 03:20:14 PM »

My next tattoo is going to be an alien bracelet on my right wrist. People have told me for years my dh must be an alien and it stuck.

This was the first design I was working on, but I decided I wasn't really crazy about all the swirls so this is what I decided to go with..


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JessicaShaleena
« Reply #659 on: March 09, 2007 10:59:41 PM »

That swallow is a bit of a prison tattoo it means something to do with fighting. When people see that tattooed on you they are going to assume you've been in prison, unless that's what you want them to think.

I have never heard of that. A tattoo of a swallow can have a million different reasons behind it. And I have never been to prison  Wink
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