Peace sign tattoos have been popular practically since the inception of the symbol in 1958. It is a little known face that in creating the symbol, Holtom used naval semaphores as the basis for the design. Peace sign tattoos have come to have different meanings for practically each person who wears one.
The Broken Rifle a€“ This symbol has been used by an anti-war group called War Resisters International since 1921, however, it was first seen in a 1909 issue of a publication called De Wapens Neder (Down With Weapons).
The a€?Va€? Sign a€“ The a€?Va€? sign is a hand gesture, with the palm outwards and the index and middle fingers open with all other fingers closed. Many people are familiar with the peace sign and peace tattoos as one of the most visible icons of the 1970s, when protests against the Vietnam war were widespread and vocal. Peace sign tattoos come in a vast variety, sometimes incorporating other familiar symbols of faith and love such as a heart, flowers or dove, and other times by themselves as a simple statement. The peace symbol got its shape in semaphore, a method of ship-to-ship communication using colored flags. Holding a flag in each hand in an inverted V shape communicates the letter N, while holding a flag straight up and a flag straight down indicates the letter D. With wars continuing overseas, pacifists and supporters of bringing our troops home may choose to have a peace tattoo placed somewhere visibly (such as an arm, wrist or shoulder) to express their longing to peace. Though the physical symbol itself was created to discourage nuclear war, the meaning behind the word and concept of peace is obviously much more far-reaching.
The peace sign can be embellished with a lot of different images to make your tattoo more personal. Incorporated into the well-known "arms" of the peace sign, these little flourishes can turn a universally known insignia into something individualized.
Unlike some tattoo designs that celebrate new fads that may not endure, the peace symbol has been popular for almost fifty years, loved by tattooed men and women from all walks of life.
The peace sign was designed by Gerald Holtom, an artist in Britain, and used first for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Semaphores are the flag signaling system where a flag in each hand is held in a different position to represent a different letter or number. Ask ten people with peace signs tattooed why they have one and you will likely get ten different interpretations of the symbol and reasons for having the tattoo. In the Bible it was the dove that came bearing an olive branch to Noah to indicate the waters had receded. It was also used on the cover of a 1915 issue of Under the Broken Rifle, a publication of the Norwegian Social Democratic Youth Association.
First used as a symbol of peace in 1933 by the Women's Co-operative Guild, when there was wide-spread fear of war in Europe. However, the humble peace symbol was actually born in 1958, the brainchild of the leader of a nuclear disarmament movement in London. Together, these letters signify "Nuclear Disarmament", and when the shapes are superimposed over one another they form the familiar shape of the peace symbol.
Those with friends or family members serving in the military will sometimes add personal details, such as dog tags, a yellow ribbon (another symbol that encourages the safe return of troops) and the name of loved ones that have fallen or been wounded in battle. For those going through a transformation, a difficult time in their lives, or simply taking steps toward being a better person, peace sign tattoos can be a reminder of their goals. Generally, additions are made to frame or highlight the peace symbol and not to obscure it; even surrounded by additional tattoo artwork, a well-done peace symbol tattoo should be visible and prominent.
Simple enough to be drawn in any size, this sign can be easily recognized when drawn large or small.
The peace sign is a combination of the positions for the letters N and D for nuclear disarmament. Peace signs have come to have various interpretations for people including harmony, tranquility, serenity, oneness with others, pacifism and goodwill and many other similar ideas. This of course, would have meant a great feeling of peace for Noah and his family after the great flood they had endured. This group of women began the practice of distributing white poppies as an alternative to the red poppies distributed in remembrance of those who had fallen in war.


When the war began in Viet Nam this design was adopted by the anti-war protestors as a sign of peace. The peace symbol tattoo combined with a dove or heart worked into the image turns the antiwar symbol into something more personal.
The basic shape is easy to draw, ensuring that even the most novice of artists can apply it without any problems.
The ancient Romans also believed the olive branch was a symbol of peace, Mars the Pacifer the bringer of peace is shown on ancient Roman coins bearing an olive branch. White poppies were also made into wreaths as a a€?pledge to peace that war must not happen againa€?. This symbol is seen in many peace tattoos combined with other peace symbols to create a peace mural. Even in current world affairs the olive branch is a symbol of peace and unity as shown in the United Nations flag, which has an olive branch incorporated into its design.
With the current state of affairs around the world, with much of it entrenched in civil and international wars it is no wonder peace signs and symbols are being tattooed quite often. These too are seen incorporated into many tattoos, whether the person wishes for world peace or is just hoping for internal peace. Olive branches are not often seen in recent body art, giving an opportunity to create an original peace sign tattoo including the olive branch.
Hopefully, the design ideas offered here will help you add originality as well as substance to your new peace sign tattoos.



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