In Japan and ancient Japanese culture, tattooing for the purpose of decoration and spirituality dates back to at least the Paleolithic and Jomon periods. This later became fully widespread across various eras for both the native Ainu tribes, as well as the Japanese people themselves. Chinese texts dating back to even before 300 AD have described these social differences among the Japanese as being showcased through extensive body marks, including tattooing. The same texts during that era have also described Japanese men who lived during that time as having decorated faces and bodies, thanks to tattoos.
From 1603 to 1868, Japanese forms of tattooing were only done by the ‘floating world’ subculture, also known as the ukiyo. Usually, the ones who would sport these tattoos were manual workers, prostitutes, and firemen, and they believed that this helped them show off their status. And during the 17th century, common criminals were given tattoos as a mark of punishment. These troublemakers were often marked with symbols that included double lines, lines, circles, and crosses on particular parts of the body, such as the face, the arms, and the body. The aforementioned symbols often designated the spots in which the crimes were committed by the individual. For example, the character for ‘dog’ was tattooed on the criminal’s forehead.
In 1868, the Government of Meiji, Japan, came to power and placed a nationwide ban on tattooing. They saw this art form as barbaric, and something that lacked respectability. This eventually created a subculture among outcasts and criminals, since these people were shunned and frowned upon by most societies. They couldn’t integrate themselves into mainstream society, thanks to their highly visible tattoos. Because of this, they had to force themselves to perform all sorts of illegal and criminal activities. This ultimately created the roots for the formation of the Yakuza, also known as the Japanese mafia. Even in modern Japanese culture, tattoos are often associated with this notorious crime syndicate.
Even though there’s an obvious lack of direct cultural references, iconographies and tattooed mummified remains have shown that ancient Egyptians did practice the art of tattooing starting from 2000 BCE. It is often assumed that Egypt learned about tattoos from Nubia. However, this claim becomes complicated thanks to the high mobility with Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia, along with Egypt’s own annexation of Lower Nubia during the Middle Kingdom period. Experts have argued that it’s actually more fitting to classify tattoos found in ancient Nubia and Egypt as a part of a bigger Nile Valley tradition.
Amunet, a priestess for the Egyptian goddess Hathor, and two Hathoric dancers from Dynasty XI were perhaps the most famous tattooed mummies in the ancient Egyptian era. In 1898, a doctor in Cairo named Daniel Fouquet, wrote an article regarding the process of medical tattooing held in ancient Egyptian times. He claims that the tattoos on these mummies may have served a therapeutic or medicinal purpose.
Types of Cross Tattoos
- Celtic cross tattoo – Celtic crosses are often included in the list of popular tattoos for men and women. These crosses are a combination of two symbols – The Latin cross and a circle. The circle is found in the middle of the cross, in which the lines intersect with each other. And not only are these symbols used religiously, but they also seem to possess something mysterious about them. The cross symbol itself is meant to represent a person’s salvation from Jesus Christ. But the circle also represents eternal life, and the idea that death and life are both cyclical. A couple of Celtic cross tattoo designs also include knots in the design itself, and because of these, you can also use it as a symbol of Pagan worship.
- Infinity cross tattoo – This is a tattoo that perfectly combines together the cross and the infinity symbol. You can place this tattoo idea on the wrists. This design goes into the usual infinite loop, and passes right through the word ‘believe’ and creates a tiny yet noticeable cross on one side. The infinity loop as well as the cross creates the best combination, holding plenty of promise and meaning within it.
- Egyptian cross tattoo – An Egyptian cross tattoo is yet another popular choice of design for the ladies. Usually, these are made into smaller designs and are often known to be a sign of giving life and life itself, and this is the reason why they’re so popular with females. But it does carry another deeper meaning to it – The union between feminine and masculine. Plenty of couples do get matching Egyptian tattoos solely for this purpose. And it doesn’t matter what kind of tattoo a woman manages to get. The best areas to place this kind of tattoo include the lower legs, the shoulder blades, and the lower back.
- Three Flying Birds And Cross Shoulder Tattoo For Women – Among all of the sexiest cross tattoo designs out there, this has got to be one of the best ones. It involves an artistic back to top shoulder piece, which shows off three birds flapping their wings and rising high above a huge cross symbol. The gorgeous black accents are meant to enhance the full picture and is a great tattoo to show off wherever you may go.
- Iron cross tattoo – The iron cross has had its own roots coming from German history. It has long been used as a German military symbol going as far as the late 1800s. The German cross represents courage and was often seen in decorative medals. In later years, it became more than a form of decorative symbolism for the military itself. Nowadays, an iron cross tattoo can carry some rebellious undertones to it, and show off a message of non-conformity, not willing to follow the rules of the establishment. The cross itself contains four sides, with all of them flaring out from the ends. It is also done in gray or black ink – Even though you are still free to use any shade which fits your own personality.
- Small cross behind the ear tattoo – This has a cross that is scribbled gracefully but freely at the back of the ear. It provides you with a rather astounding effect, especially when the wearer pulls back their hair or has short hair, therefore flaunting this amazing tattoo. It’s actually a cute tattoo thanks to its small size, and you can even hide it away if you happen to have long hair or shoulder-length hair.
Meaning Of Cross Tattoos
Perhaps one of the most obvious meanings of a cross tattoo is having a strong, spiritual belief. Traditionally, the horizontal axis is meant to represent a feminine aspect including destruction, passiveness, or even death – Meanwhile, the vertical-shaped beam symbolizes the masculine aspects including ability, creativity, and liveliness. In Christian tradition, the cross is meant to represent the death and eventual resurrection of the Messiah. And in cases like these, Christians who sport these tattoos would mean that they are in full solidarity with their lord and savior. Several communities out there have come to use the tattoo as a representation of their own communal and personal beliefs.
Cross tattoos have always been a popular choice for both men and women. It’s a given that you can find loads of cross tattoo designs which people like to have on their bodies. Each one can have its own set of meanings to various people, and not only that, each design looks amazing in the eyes of the wearer and artist alike. For ladies who want to get inked, a cross tattoo is always a great option. Celtic crosses are a popular design too thanks to its lovely and intricate look. Not only are they unique, they contain a small flair of feminism too.
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Cross Tattoos Placement
Apart from Celtic crosses, Egyptian crosses are also a popular cross tattoo design among women. These are usually drawn in tiny designs, and are meant to represent life, and providing life – Like motherhood. Perhaps this is the reason why a lot of women love this design. But it does carry another symbolic meaning – A union between the feminine, and the masculine. Plenty of couples get matching Egyptian cross tattoos solely for this purpose. But it doesn’t really matter what kind of cross tattoo does a woman get – The placement is the one that matters the most. When it comes to cross designs, the most popular areas include the lower leg, the shoulder blade, and the lower backside.
In regards to cross tattoo designs for men, they can choose from plenty of options as well – But it’s not just because women have limited choices when it comes to this tattoo design, but because men are much more creative when it comes to making tattoos. And not only that, men also have plenty of options as to where to place their tattoos on. For the ladies, it can be hard trying to find the right spot where a tattoo looks amazing yet has a nice feminine touch as well. With men, the best places to put a cross tattoo on were the upper arms, and the center of the back. Lower legs are also an ideal spot to put a tattoo on, but it’s not as popular as the two aforementioned ones.
And in regards to choosing the type of cross tattoo you want for yourself, there isn’t any specific design that men or women particularly find better than the rest. However, Celtic crosses and tribal crosses have been really trendy nowadays. A tribal cross looks very manly, and can be added to further beautify any other accompanying tattoo design. Meanwhile, others just want to keep things simple and go for a plain cross, while others like to add wings, or an image of Christ on it, or a rosary or praying hands.
People like to get cross tattoos on their fingers, similar to how they would wear a wedding ring. In fact, there are couples out there that acquire cross rings and get them tattooed on their fingers instead of going for the standard wedding band. Wrists – Both outer and inner, are also a great place to put a cross tattoo on. Getting it done on that spot in the form of a bracelet is a popular choice for both women and men.
Cross Tattoo Preparation Tips
If you have had a fantastic experience with this particular tattoo shop, then by all means recommend it to your closest friends, family, colleagues, or just about any other tattoo enthusiast you come across with. You can also do your part by tagging the shop in their social media accounts when you decide to show off your tattoo online. Tell everyone about your experience and be honest about it. Sometimes, the best form of advertising is through word-of-mouth.
If you have had a horrible experience regarding your tattoo, then be sure to tell the artist about that as well. Contact them directly through email or phone, or maybe you can visit the shop yourself to talk to the shop’s Location Manager. Unfortunately, because a lot of tattoo shop artists all signed independent contracts and work as independent contractors, so there’s only so much that the shop can do. However, the artists and the shop will do their very best to make their clients happy. Always remember that these artists are human too. They are free to make all sorts of mistakes, and sometimes experience a bad day – But most of the time, they’re willing to help you out, especially when you’re not happy with your experience. In fact, most of them will be happy to hear any kind of feedback from their clients, since they can use this as constructive criticism and work better in the future. But if you think that there’s still room for the shop’s artist and staff to improve, then never hesitate to tell them that in a polite manner.
Never be afraid to contact your artist or the shop and ask them questions about your tattoo, the shop, and the whole process of tattooing. Chances are, their staff and artists are more than willing to explain things to you, to check up on how your tattoo is healing, as well as to provide you with all of the information you need.
Getting a tattoo done can both be exciting and painful. To ensure that your own tattooing experience is a successful one, and is as painless and as quick as possible, here are a couple of things you can do to prepare yourself beforehand. Be sure that you already know how the process goes, that your body is fully ready, and that you are already certain about the design when you visit your chosen tattoo shop.
The first step is to keep yourself well-hydrated. When you go visit the tattoo shop to get a tattoo done, drink plenty of water at least a whole day before the appointment, so you won’t feel dehydrated when you sit on that tattoo chair.
Exactly how much water you will need to drink in order to completely hydrate yourself will all depend on your body type. Even though experts have suggested that you drink up to eight glasses a day, your body might need more than that.
Are Cross Tattoos Painful?
There are actually plenty of factors out there that can affect just how big or how little your tattoo will end up hurting during the process. Luckily, there are loads of ways for you to handle these amounts of tattooing pain.
First one is the placement. This is actually one of the most obvious factors. The pain of getting a tattoo can definitely vary between the various spots on a person’s body. For instance, areas on the body which are fleshier and fattier are pretty much the least painful out of all of them, while those spots with a thin amount of skin on them and have bones underneath are more painful.
Of course each person is different and while one individual may have experienced excruciating pain while acquiring a tattoo, on one part of the body, another individual might have gone through the exact same thing in a breeze – And vice versa.
In case you’re wondering which parts of the body are the most and least painful spots to get a tattoo on, then look no further. There are countless types of tattoo designs out there, and all of them can be drawn on a person’s body in so many different ways. For instance, a tattoo of a portrait will naturally require plenty of shading, which means that an artist could end up using various kinds of needles, as compared to doing outlining work.
Meanwhile, the same kind of outlining work might end up causing another kind of pain for you, especially when you compare it to the same artist performing a tattooing style with plenty of shading, like portrait work. Adding in an outline will only require them to utilize a lesser amount of needles at a time using the tattoo gun. And this means that the pain you’ll experience will feel a bit different compared to if the artist ends up utilizing plenty of shading needles to color a bigger expanse of skin with only a single stroke.
The amount of sleep and rest your body got the night before your appointment can also, to a certain extent, dictate how you will be able to handle the amount of pain while getting a tattoo. Being in a relaxed and completely rested state means that your body is tough enough to deal with plenty of rigorous and exhausting activities, including tattooing. But on the other hand, in case your body is feeling stressed out and tired, it’ll become twice as sensitive to pain along with other outside factors.
Each artist comes with their own individual tattooing style. There are artists who work fast, and others who take their time. Some artists are heavy-handed, while others are gentle. The various styles involved will feel very different to the individual getting a tattoo. A tattoo artist who works slowly and gently will cause less pain, compared to another one who works fast and rough.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cross Tattoos For Men And Women
- What are the risks of acquiring a tattoo?
- The biggest risks you can get from a tattoo are sustaining an allergic reaction on the skin, like rashes caused from the pigments (very common in red dyes), or a viral or bacterial infection. But this can only happen if the equipment has not been cleaned properly, or if your new tattoo rarely uses a good sterilization technique. Another risk is developing keloid scars or small bumps in the skin called a granuloma. These are overgrowth of dense tissues which usually starts far from the site of the tattooed skin. There are also blood-borne diseases like hepatitis B and hepatitis C, or more dangerous diseases like HIV and tetanus. You can contract all of these if you aren’t careful, or if the artist uses tools which have been contaminated with infected blood and has not been cleaned up properly.
- What is the best age for you to get a tattoo?
- You can get a tattoo from 18 up to 80. The important thing here is to get a tattoo when the time feels right for you to get one. If you are hesitant to get a tattoo, then that means you should wait for the right time to visit the shop. And if you feel like it’s the right time for you to get one, and if you are of legal age, then your older self might have to buckle up for a bit and deal with the choices that you made as a kid.
- What should I do in case of an infection?
- Take a look at your tattoo for any signs of infection as it heals up. In case your tattoo is placed on a part of your body that you can’t see, get someone to take a look at the area. Check for any signs of redness, tenderness, rashes, swelling of the skin, discharge, or any unusual discoloration from the tattoo. And if they do carry any of these signs, then contact your local health care provider immediately. Don’t inform the artist first before the HCP. This is an infection and has to be treated straight away using antibiotics. Follow the HCP’s rules. If you don’t get that infection treated, it could spread across different parts of your body, putting you at risk for blood poisoning.
- When is it necessary to touch up a tattoo?
Getting a touch-up for a tattoo is just an option, but you can only do so much of it. A tattoo that fades away as you get older is a normal thing. It takes six to four weeks until a tattoo is fully healed up. Depending on the artist, they will sometimes ask you to come back to the shop for a follow-up appointment, so they can see if you have been following their aftercare instructions and if your skin has accepted the inks used. And there will be instances where you won’t be happy and content with how a tattoo has turned out because of several reasons. This is actually a good excuse for you to get a retouch. Some kinder artists will do these things for free, unless it’s for a mouth tattoo or a finger tattoo, since these are geared for imperfections. In cases like these, it’s a possibility that you could get charged for a correction or a follow-up. This is why it’s important to stick to the instructions your artist will give you on how to properly care for your tattoo as it heals.
What Is The Price Of A Cross Tattoo?
A lot of tattoo artists will charge you by the hour, which can go from $75 up to $150 per hour. The amount of time it takes to finish off a tattoo will all depend on the number of hours, the complexity of the design, and the size of the tattoo. Artists who reside or work in a larger area have the tendency to charge on the bigger end of the range, or even more than that. Meanwhile, the ones who work or live in smaller rural towns give out lower rates for their designs. A couple of tattoo artists out there will charge some additional costs, especially if you want a customized design for your ink. This is usually 10 percent to 25 percent of the additional work for a part of the wearer’s body that’s difficult to do, like the lower back, for example. And there are also some artists out there who will charge extra for other things. However, it’s still more common to ask them for a placement of over fifty bucks.
Cross Tattoo Maintenance Tips
After so many months of waiting, the tattoo design you have created in your head has finally become a reality – You’ve done your part by visiting the shop and are now wearing an amazing tattoo. But what’s the next step? How should you take care of it and make sure that everything heals up nicely, and can end up looking just as gorgeous as you imagined it to be? Here are a couple of things you need to know:
Be sure to follow your tattoo artist’s advice. The advice that they give you in regards to maintenance will depend on which shop you get your ink done in. And there will be cases in which two artists who work for the same shop will have a differing set of opinions about which kind of aftercare tip works best. The bottom line is to listen to their instructions carefully. A lot of them will hand you a small piece of paper, a brochure, or a leaflet with their maintenance tips printed out, so you can bring them home.
Wash the tattoo gently after a couple of hours. One of the biggest maintenance tips that these artists will give you is to leave the bandage or gauze on for the first five hours (some even advice leaving it on for an entire day). Then gently and slowly peel off the bandage from your skin and lightly wash the tattoo with mild, unscented hypoallergenic liquid soap and lukewarm water.
The next step would be to apply a thin coating of unscented moisturizer or tattoo aftercare lotion. Your artist will be the one to suggest which brand to use. After that, you can choose whether to wrap your tattoo with clingfilm or leave it out in the open to air dry (the better suggestion). Like everything else, it’ll all depend on your artist’s own advice. Oftentimes, these tattoo shops will tell you to repeat the cleaning process over three to five times per day.
Always keep your tattoo dry and well-rinsed. Don’t soak it in water for over a month (this means you have to take showers instead of baths). Avoid swimming in pools or beaches. If you wear clothes that are likely to rub on your tattoo, keep it covered up with medical tape, or a clean sheet of gauze or clingfilm.
Don’t place your tattoo over direct sunlight, unless it’s necessary. Even tattoos which have healed up, especially colored ones, can fade into the sun. So when your skin has completely recovered from the tattoo, be sure that it’s completely covered in a high SPF sunscreen. This applies especially when you have to go out into the sunlight for a while.
A tattoo can take a while to heal, so be patient. The amount of time it takes to heal will all depend on how your body itself heals up, as well as how big or small the design is. This could go anywhere from a week for a smaller design, to several months if you have gotten a multi-colored intricate back piece.