Celtic tattoos are inspired by the traditional art of the Celtic people who inhabited western Europe. The Celtic style of energetic circular forms, knots, spirals and triskels has a timeless appeal which lends itself very well to tattoo art. Celtic tattoos probably owe some of their popularity to the fact that they can be extremely good ‘space fillers’. It is possible for a talented artist to create an interlocking Celtic tattoo design to cover pretty much any amount of space required. They can also be a very effective way to link other designs together or frame them.
Celtic tattoos can also be used to express patriotism and individuality by people who consider themselves to be Celts, or of Celtic origin. Most commonly people from: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and occasionally England.
Types of Celtic Tattoo include:
Celtic Cross Tattoos. A Celtic cross tattoo design displays a Christian cross with a circle around the intersection. The cross is often decorated with Intricate knots. According to legend, St Patrick invented the Celtic cross as a combination of the Christian cross and the sun to convert the pagan Irish.
Celtic Knot Tattoos. Also known as a mystic knot and endless knot – the lines of the knot form a endless loop without beginning or end. Celtic knot tattoo designs most likely signify eternity. One type of Celtic knot is a Celtic love knot, which symbolises two people in love.
Celtic Tree of Life Tattoos. The Celtic Tree of Life first appeared in the Book of Kells in 800AD. It is thought to be a symbol for the Garden of Eden.
Celtic Tattoos for Men. Celtic tattoos are a popular choice for men, probably partly due to the image of the Celt as a warrior.
Celtic Tribal Tattoos. Celtic tattoo designs are often considered to be a type of tribal tattoo design due to tribal origins of the Celts.
Celtic Symbols Tattoos. Symbols which feature in Celtic tattoo designs include many things, such as: Animals, Crosses, Dragons, Knots, Triskeles and Warriors.
Celtic Tattoo design for Women. Many women choose a Celtic tattoo design as they can be very graceful.
History of Celtic Tattoos
Celtic tattoos are not so much based upon tattoos worn by the ancient Celtic people, as they are based upon a style derived from their art. Archaeologists consider Iron Age Europe to have been ‘Celtic’ from 1000BC until the rise of the Roman Empire. The Celts were tribal people and were considered to be fairly warlike. The popular image of the Celts is of fearsome warriors who rode chariots and collected the heads of their enemies. On the other hand, the Celts were also said to love music and poetry and numbered many bards. They also wore ornate jewellery, such as elaborately decorated Gold Torques. The ancient Celts were quite romantic figures and a great inspiration for tattoo designs.
However, the actual style of art which most people consider to be ‘Celtic’ today, was actually the Early Medieval art of Britain and Ireland, which is also known as Insular art. Insular art most likely originated in Irish monasteries around 600AD, as a fusion of earlier Celtic and Anglo-Saxon styles. It was used to illuminate manuscripts and metalwork and to make carvings in stone – especially stone crosses.
In England Insular art was replaced by a wholly Anglo-Saxon style around 900AD, while the insular style continued to be used in Ireland until 1200AD. Therefore the modern Celtic style – which for many people conjures up images of hordes of painted, pagan, tribesmen battling against Roman legions – was actually invented much later by peaceful Christian monks to decorate their holy books! This explains the very common image of the Celtic cross.
Many countries experienced a great Celtic revival in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this time anything Celtic, including the Insular style derived from the older Celtic art, became very popular again. This was particularly strong in Ireland where many were seeking to establish their own identity and further distance themselves from Great Britain.
Given the popularity of Celtic tattoo designs today, you might well wonder if the Celts had tattoos themselves. The Celts themselves did not keep permanent records. However, it is known that they often fought naked and painted themselves, before battle, with a substance called woad. It’s nice to think that such an interesting people would have known about, and used, tattoo designs. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing for sure.
More Celtic Body Art
Celtic Tattoo Designs
Celebrities with Celtic Tattoos include:
Singer, Robbie Williams has a Celtic cross tattoo design on his right hip.
Singer, Mel C has a Celtic band tattoo design.
Actress, Eva Longoria has a Celtic cross design on her lower back.
Lead Singer of Depeche Mode, David Gahan, has a Celtic cross tattoo design on his left arm.
Where on the body can you wear a Celtic Tattoo?
Celtic tattoos are extremely versatile. Therefore you can have an individual Celtic tattoo design placed pretty much anywhere on the body. Celtic tattoo designs also make very good space fillers. It is easily possible for a talented tattoo artist to make a design to fill any amount of skin desired. Celtic tattoos are usually rendered in black which can look very effective against paler skin. However, it is possible to have a great looking Celtic tattoo done in any colour.
Celtic tattoo designs can also be combined with other styles to produce some very striking tattoos. If you are thinking about getting a Celtic tattoo design you only need to look online to see many very fine examples of Celtic tattoo images, Celtic tattoo pictures and Celtic tattoo body art to help inspire your own tattoo ideas – including examples of Celtic tattoo flash.
Other great places to put Celtic Tattoos would be:
Celtic tattoos on neck
Celtic back tattoos
Celtic tattoo on arm
Celtic wrist tattoos
Celtic tattoos on hip
Celtic tattoos on leg