The Cross and Religious Beliefs
Since very early in human history, the cross symbolizes many different things to many cultures. Whether uniquely religious or symbolic, there are crosses found all over the world. Tattoo design for the cross is just as varied, with each culture and part of the world having its own unique aspect and depicting it in a stylized way.
Men and women around the world have appreciated the cross and what it means for thousands of years. Its powerful, bold design means that it can be used in a number of different ways aesthetically, so if the cross is on your mind for a tattoo, you have a number of ways to represent exactly how you want it to look.
While there are plenty of designs to take inspiration from, don’t be afraid to experiment with contemporary styles or combine a few of them together to create the perfect piece of permanent art to showcase.
Cross Tattoo Ideas
A small cross may seem diminutive, but it can have powerful, enigmatic connotations for the wearer and what it means. Some people may prefer this as a unique, spiritual way to showcase their beliefs, or as a less obvious way to represent the sort of spirituality that is connected to the cross itself.
Cross tattoo design is varied and thankfully wonderfully stylized, so even if you don’t see anything you like from research ideas, you can create your own unique aesthetic to symbolize anything you want it to. By attaching personal meaning to existing designs such as script tattoos, you carry on the tradition of aesthetic art that will be recognized around the world.
The ancient Egyptians were one of the first cultures to utilize the cross in mythological and religious imagery. While not exactly the same as the crosses we traditionally see today, the ankh –as it is known- is an incredibly ancient symbol with a number of different associations.
Black and grey are typically the most popular colors for the ankh, as it is an old symbol that stands well on its own rather than be stylized to fit modern tastes. Despite that, we can take the inherent symbolism of it and turn it into something unique and personal.
Getting a tattoo inked of an ankh can be incredibly rewarding, as you won’t see very many people with this ancient symbol, making it something both rare and interesting.
The Christian Cross
Most people will associate the general aspect of the cross with traditional Christianity, as something that Jesus was sacrificed upon for the sins of man. As such, there is a great deal of powerful spirituality that emanates from this simple design, one that offers many opportunities to stylize or keep traditional.
Wooden cross tattoos are emblematic of Christian symbolism, and not every practicioner cares about the general ban on tattoos in the bible. Being able to take something as important as what the cross represents and showcase it to the world is its own form of worship for many people.
The Enigmatic Maltese Cross
The history of the Maltese cross goes back centuries, first associated with the Knights Hospitaller during the 14th century, and is also known as an eight-pointed cross. The nature of what each of the points is supposed to mean is generally unknown, but it is thought to have historically been representative of the eight provinces associated with the knights.
Cross tattoos for men are popularly Maltese crosses, since they represent the male-only aspect of the Knights Templar as well as Freemasonry. Many firefighting units also find symbolic meaning in the Maltese cross, using it as a symbol of solidarity between these professionals.
Contemporary Maltese crosses are typically pointier and more stylized than they were in the past, and having associations with many different groups of tradesmen or clubs. All in all, it represents community, typically all-male, and the comradery that goes with membership in the “knighthood”.
Historic Gothic Cross
Cross designs of the gothic variety are much different and far more stylized aesthetically than other types of crosses. Gothic crosses can represent ancient European pagan culture, as well as contemporary Wiccan or gothic culture, in which the rejection of traditional religious values is a value in itself.
Typically, gothic crosses are entirely black and ebony in color, perhaps with silver or gold motifs that make them pop. They aren’t as overdone on the jewels like Byzantine crosses, but are instead much more low key and tasteful.
The black color of the gothic cross is its most powerful aesthetic quality, as it represents something more sinister than the average cross design, while also remaining more mysterious and unknowable.
A Unique Celtic Cross Tattoo
The Celts were an enigmatic demographic of Europeans that we know primarily due to Roman occupation of their territory in ancient times. Renowned for their metalworking ability, many ancient pieces of Celtic jewelry survive to this day, and are some of the most difficult items for contemporary jewelers to replicate.
As time went on, the Celts became Christianized along with many other parts of the world, thus bringing to life a whole new design of cross that showcased their abilities in metalworking and design.
Renowned for being intricate yet simplistic, the Celtic cross offers a more “tribal” variation amongst all the different cross types. You can choose a cross that has black lines, or something gilded and gold with a sort of lacy, opaque design.
Designing Your Cross
Many people opt for sleeve tattoos when it comes to their cross design, floral pieces such as roses and wildflowers serve as great secondary subject matter with the cross as the forearms make for the perfect area to showcase the entirety of the design. You can also opt for multiple crosses across your arm, running up the whole part of it into the shoulder or beyond.
Whether you want something more intricate or just a simple design, crosses offer so many kinds of options for you to work with that you’ll be able to find something you like regardless of what you’re looking for. Take your time in designing something that fits for you personally.
Ready to Explore Your Own Cross Tattoo?
At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore Cross design sand other tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano Vancouver area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.
Tattoo Studio Locations
378 Yonge Street,
252 Eglinton Ave East,
7381 Kennedy Road,
100 City Centre Dr.,
1804 W 4th Ave,
Vancouver, British Columbia
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