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Author: admin | Category: Traditional Tattoo Designs | 15.12.2013

Spiritual beliefs of men are often depicted by using an angel tattoo.  An angel is recognized by many cultures as an intermediary between God and his creations. Depending on how much skin you want to devote to this tat, the possibility for creating an outstanding angel tattoo is wide open. Other ideas for angel tattoos for men lean more toward the emotional side.  Angel tattoos for men are used to symbolize their female love, to show their sensitive side, and as a memorial to a deceased love one.
Many times, men will wear a memorial tattoo on their back, however another possibility is to design a tat that somehow symbolizes the personality of the deceased only in the angelic form they now inhabit.
Angel tattoos for men seem to be symbolic of deep inner beliefs or emotions.  Study the gallery, pictures, images, videos and other art before choosing an angel tattoo design. There are two sorts of people in this world: the inconspicuous ones and those people you never miss in a crowd. The strong gender may be tempted to consider an angel tattoo for men as a simple trend in this day and age.
At last, but not least, one of the most often representation of angel tattoo men use is the fallen angel. The tattooed body has been an object of spectacle and a source of fascination in Europe for at least 4 hundred years. The Paint it self is so durable, that nothing can wash it off, or deface the beauty of it: It is prepared from the Juice of a certain Herb or Plant, peculiar to that Country, which they esteem infallible to preserve humane Bodies from the deadly poison or hurt of any venomous Creatures whatsoever.
Whilst tattooing was considered to possess magical, protective and medicinal properties in many cultures, it is more than likely that the stories claiming that Jeoly’s tattoos repelled venomous creatures were dreamed up by his exhibitors, rather than having any genuine basis in his own native belief system. In the lower foreground of the illustration, a variety of reptiles and scorpions can be seen fleeing from Jeoly’s feet, his tattoos apparently acting as some kind of aposematic deterrent. Jeoly’s tragic story of enslavement, forced re-location to Europe, public exhibition for profit, fatal illness, and the preservation of his tattooed skin for display as an anatomical rarity, speaks of the foreign body on multiple levels.
When I first began my doctoral research into tattoo preservation three and a half years ago, I assumed that tattoo collections such as those held by the Science Museum in London were rare.
In anatomy and pathology collections, tattoo specimens tend to be wet-preserved and date more recently, usually from the early part of the 20th century anywhere up to around the 1980s. From a man aged 79 years who had earned his living for many years as the Tattooed Man in a circus. It would be equally impossible to know whether or not these were the only tattoos he possessed – or indeed, if they all necessarily belonged to the same person. Many people will be familiar with the kind of insect specimen displays that are a staple of natural history collections – the old 19th century museum cases containing neat rows of pinned and mounted moths and butterflies, neatly organised according to subspecies and morphological characteristics. There is no part of the body able to register the history of a life lived so much as the skin: wrinkles, scars and lines all map out our lives on the surface of our bodies as we age.
Over the course of the past 3 years working on the history of preserved tattooed human skin, I have frequently met with difficult questions: Material and conservation concerns pose the question how were they preserved?
Ilse Koch was the wife of Karl Otto Koch,Kommandant of the Buchenwald and Madjanekconcentration camps. The Nazis did not just collect the tattoos of prisoners as grotesque trophies of war, however – they also used tattooing as a weapon of dehumanization and control. I was offered by various surgeons to remove it, and they were very glad to do it, but I wanted to keep it on.
Tattoos carry with them a powerful capacity to evoke memory, and this quality is often a motivating factor for many people who choose to become tattooed with marks commemorating important life events or rites of passage.
During a recent visit to the UCL Archaeology collections, I came across a very interesting object: a small bronze pendant in the form of an erect penis with a pair of wings, outstretched as though in flight (pictured below right).
I had previously seen graphic representations of this design in the course of my own research, as tattoos on human skin.
Phallic charms were commonplace in Roman culture, both in the form of jewellery and other decorative household items, such as lamps and wind chimes.
Varro says that certain rites of Liber were celebrated in Italy which were of such unrestrained wickedness that the shameful parts of the male were worshipped at crossroads in his honour.
Although considered obscene by the Christian clergy, fascinum were used to ward off evil, and were worn as protection charms, particularly by male children and soldiers.
The only recognisably male figure in the drawing appears on the far left, as a bust in profile atop a pillar; lower down the pillar a fount in the form of a phallus pours forth life-giving fluid into an urn. It is difficult to know for certain how the tattooed 19th century European man regarded the winged phallus – it may be that it was worn by soldiers as a talisman against harm, according to contemporary interpretations of ancient practices. Contemporary example of the winged phallus tattoo, by tattooist Rachael Davies ofFive Star Tattoo, Louisville Kentucky, USA. In my previous post, I wrote about the possible connection between objects in the Petrie Museum, and ancient Egyptian tattooing practices. In the absence of any such scientific testing, uncertainty remains as to whether the 7 prick points in the Petrie collection were used for tattooing. Tattooing practice in ancient Egypt is further supported by the discovery of a number of tattooed mummies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Photograph showing thetattooed abdomen of one offemale mummies found atthe Deir el-Bahari site,possibly Amunet. Whilst it is clear that the white scars Fouquet refers to are likely scarifications, the blue marks must be interpreted as tattoos – but whether or not they were primarily medicinal markings, or served a more ritual and symbolic function is uncertain.
Each of these topics will send a personal message or symbolic meaning when wearing as body art.
But the truth is this practice dates back to ancient times, especially when it comes to religious marks, such as angels. It’s best to have a strong reason for getting such a tat, in order to be continually satisfied with your choice.
In many cases, men go for the archangel type of tattoos, which are considered the closest angels to God.
Though it may seem as a sign of weakness, having a guardian angel tattooed is actually a gesture of closeness. From the biblical point of view, when Michael fought the forces of evil, embodied by Lucifer, the latter lost the battle. A number of copies of the playbill advertising his public appearances survive (pictured above). They reported also that this Paint was of such Virtue, that Serpents, and venomous Creatures would flee from him, for which reason, I suppose, they represented so many Serpents scampering about in the printed Picture that was made of him. Whilst collections of inked human skin are most definitely unusual, I was soon surprised and intrigued to discover that such objects exist in almost every museum archive, university anatomy department, or pathology collection that I have visited over the course of my research.
These particular tattoos belonged to one individual, whose very brief case notes have been recorded and retained along with the specimen in UCL Pathology Collections. His entire body, except for the head and neck, hands and soles of his feet, was covered with elaborate tattoo designs.


This demonstrates that although tattoo ink is trapped permanently under the skin following healing, it does actually travel within the body over time, filtering into the body’s tissue drainage system, and collecting in the lymph glands.
There are strong stylistic similarities between the butterfly motifs, suggesting the work of a single tattooist, or perhaps that the individual motifs were part of a larger design. The tattoo reinforces this unique capacity of the skin to record the traces of our experience, in the conscious act of permanently inscribing memory in skin. This is certainly the case for tattoos collected during the late 19th century by physicians and criminologists, who studied the tattoos of criminals and military personnel in prisons, barracks and hospitals. Reports emerged from Buchenwald of the manufacture of everyday items such as gloves, knife sheaths, book-bindings and lampshades from the skins of murdered inmates.[1] In particular, stories of the collection of tattooed human skin, removed from the bodies of inmates at the behest of Ilse Koch, the wife of Kommandant Karl Otto Koch, caused a scandal in the Allied press. From May 1940, prisoner numbers were introduced for all concentration camp prisoners deemed capable of work at the Auschwitz concentration camp complex – those sent directly to the gas chambers were not registered and did not receive numbers. One of these women was Holocaust survivor Henia Bryer, who was liberated from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. For those, like Henia, who have been forcibly tattooed, the mark may come to stand as testament to a personal and collective history of suffering and survival. Over the past 25 years, UCL pathology collections have absorbed a number of collections belonging to other London medical institutions. I was intrigued by this unusual item of Roman jewellery, partly because I was struck by the absurdity of a disembodied flying penis – but partly because the iconography of this motif was familiar to me. My doctoral work focuses upon the collection and preservation of tattooed human skins during the 19th and 20th centuries.
In ancient Roman religion and magic, representations of the winged phallus are usually referred to as fascinum, and symbolise the divine phallus or the embodiment of the Roman deity of fertility, Fascinus. The wreath of fruits and grain crowning his head suggest that this figure is Liber Pater or Bacchus.
Or it may simply be that the image of a virile, flying penis was associated with sexual prowess, and appealed to a bawdy sense of humour. One of the greatest challenges in reconstructing the body modification practices of ancient peoples is in interpreting the fragmentary remains of material culture found at excavation sites. However, the decorative markings on a collection of blue faience figurines are less ambiguous.
The most famous of these was discovered in Deir el-Bahari by French Egyptologist Eugene Grebaut in 1891. Check back for my next post on the history of tattooing as a therapeutic practice – and the health risks involved in becoming tattooed prior to modern antisepsis.
Michael is also recognized as a protector of God’s children on earth, which takes us to guardian angel tattoos for men.
Come to think about it, tattoos are the perfect means of self expression and personal beliefs assertion.
Just like every other thing that marks your life, it should represent you and have some kind of meaning. The Bible depicts seven of them and the Revelations write that they stood before God, as holly message carriers. If they decided upon an angel tattoo men might choose this form in order to honour people they loved and who passed away. In 1566, a tattooed Inuit woman and her child were kidnapped by French sailors and put on display in a tavern in Antwerp, The Netherlands. The original advertisement includes a detailed etching of Jeoly by John Savage, showing the tattoos over the front of his body, arms and legs, which resemble traditional Micronesian tattoos of the Caroline and Palau Islands. But I never knew of any Paint of such Virtue: and as for Jeoly, I have seen him as much afraid of Snakes, Scorpions, or Centapees, as my self.
Although his grave is not marked, and his name does not appear in the Parish register, Jeoly is thought to be buried in St Ebbe’s Churchyard. Exposed to invisible and deadly foreign bodies such as measles and smallpox, they died far from home, unable to fight off common European illnesses against which they had no natural defences. 86-101; also Kotondo Hasebe, “The Tattooing of the Western Micronesians” in The Journal of the Anthropological Society of Tokyo Vol. The largest collections, of which the Wellcome Collection is the major exemplar, are dry-preserved and date from the 19th century – similar collections can be found across Europe, and the MNHN in Paris has a collection of 56 tattoos which are very similar to those in the Wellcome collection. There is of course nothing pathological about tattooed skin in itself – so it seems strange that specimens like the one pictured below are displayed alongside other pathological skin specimens such as cutaneous anthrax, fibromas, keloids and glanders. He died of peritonitis due to a perforation of an anastomatic ulcer … In tattooing, fine particles of pigment are introduced through the skin, taken up by histiocytes and become lodged in the tissue spaces of the dermis.
Whilst this is certainly an interesting anatomical observation, it is not the pigmented lymph glands that the doctor has chosen to preserve, but rather the tattooed skin itself. But just how large or complex the design may have been, we certainly cannot tell just by looking at these 5 small tattoos. Unusually for specimens found in pathology collections, this support is a slightly translucent black.
The pathologist, uniquely acquainted with death by virtue of their specialism, is perhaps best positioned amongst medical professionals to appreciate the peculiar relationship of the tattoo with mortality. The criminals, soldiers and common men in these institutions very likely did not give consent for their tattoos to be excised and preserved after death; a practice that was rarely questioned during the late 19th century.
Although photographs documenting some of these objects were taken when the camps were liberated, no other material evidence of them was recovered to be entered into Koch’s trial at Dachau in 1947, or later at her second trial at Augsburg in 1950. For other Holocaust survivors, these marks became unwelcome reminders of trauma, and were removed by surgeons after the war.
Many Nazi records were destroyed at the end of the war, and the many thousands of files that do remain are scattered across Europe – even today, it is difficult to trace the identities of inmates based on their tattooed prisoner numbers. A large number of the pathology specimens received by UCL arrived in a state of neglect, requiring intensive conservation and re-cataloguing – a task made all the more difficult for the lack of associated documentation. The core collection that I work with at the Science Museum dates from the latter part of the 19th century in France, and much of the iconography of these tattoos is of European origin. The words can be used to refer to both phallus effigies and amulets, and spells used to invoke his divine protection. As a 19th century representation of classical sexuality, which is contemporary with the preserved tattoo fragment pictured above, this image is of particular interest. Although ancient Egyptian textual records make no mention of tattooing, there is nevertheless a considerable amount of iconographic evidence for the practice, which includes the engraved markings on faience figurines such as those on display in the Petrie Museum. There are many examples of footless faience figurines such as these in museum collections around the world. Dating from Dynasty XI (c.2134-1991 BC), a female mummy identified as Amunet, a Priestess of the goddess Hathor at Thebes, was found to have a number of tattooed markings on her body, which show striking correspondence with the patterns depicted on Middle Kingdom faience figurines.
For instance, the painting below, by French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, depicts an historical event: The unwrapping of a mummy discovered at Deir el-Bahari, the same site where Amunet was buried.


To be frank, nowadays the practice has lost of its sanctity, as more and more celebrities have turned to it and diminished its rarity.
Also, before going too deep into aspects of design, try and figure out where would you like to have it placed and, consequently, its size.
Therefore, many artists will sketch an angel tattoo for men as Michael – the most famous archangel – in battle with the devil or holding a sword.
Religious paintings depict Lucifer as falling out of the sky, as a parallel to his fall from the grace of God.
10 years later, the sometime pirate and seaman Martin Frobisher returned to England from his voyage to Baffin Island in northeastern Canada with a native man whom he had abducted; this unfortunate individual caused such a stir in London, that Frobisher returned from his second voyage to the region with 3 more Inuit captives, who drew equally fascinated crowds when he landed in Bristol. On his arrival home, Dampier sold Jeoly on to business interests, and later published his journals under the title A New Voyage Around the World, in 1697.
After his death, a fragment of his tattooed skin was removed and preserved for the Anatomy School collections at Oxford University by the surgeon Theophilius Poynter. Historically, these collections may be medical, anthropological, or criminological in origin.
We know that they belonged to a 79-year-old man, who made his living as a Tattooed Man, only because the doctor tells us so. This appears to be a deliberate choice on the part of the pathologist – the black perspex provides a contrasting ground for the display of tattoos on opposite sides of the vitrine, such that they do not visually detract from one another. It is a trace of the subjectivity of the deceased that is capable of outliving them, akin to a photograph or written memoir. Without material proof, Koch could not be convicted of the charges relating to the human skin objects. However, as the daily mortality rate increased and clothes were removed, this soon proved impractical as a way of identifying the dead.
Specimens such as the one pictured above may make us uneasy, particularly when they are unprovenanced and inherited.
During a research trip to Paris in 2010, I had the opportunity to see a similar collection of dry-preserved tattoos stored at the anthropology department of the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN).
Fascinum are frequently associated with Liber Pater, an ancient Roman god of fertility and cultivation, often identified with Bacchus and his Greek counterpart, Dionysus.
The postcard depicts an old woman with a basket of winged phalli, which she offers to a young woman in the centre of the sketch.
A design consisting of multiple diamond shapes composed of dots, are tattooed on the middle of her right thigh, similar to those engraved on the faience figure pictured above.
Although the mummy pictured dates from Dynasty XXI (c.970 BC) in the Third Intermediate Period, many of the men present in this scene were also involved in the excavation of Amunet.
These issues may influence the choice of representation in the extent of whether it is possible or not to create the fancied design in the requested spot or size.
What makes an angel a guardian angel in a tattoo is often the spread of his wings or the presence of a halo.
Men generally adopt the image of an angel burning in fire or the drawing of a tortured one, having an expression of agony. Sadly, all 3 of his human cargo died shortly after their arrival on British shores, succumbing to common European illnesses against which they had no natural immunity. He or she also tells us that his body was covered in tattoos – yet only 5 small pieces have been preserved. These aesthetic choices suggest a nuanced interest in the collection and display of these specimens, which goes far beyond a straightforward medical interest in the anatomy of the tattoo.
Their histories are lost and fraught with ethical entanglements – but they cannot simply be discarded, and perhaps should not be hidden away. Amongst the 54 tattoos in their collection, there was one skin fragment tattooed with a winged phallus (pictured below). In rural areas of Italy, the festival of Liberalia celebrated the coming of age of young boys on the 17th of March, and traditionally involved processions, sacrificial offerings and song.
As well as tattoos on her left shoulder and breast, and on her right arm below the elbow, Amunet also bore extensive tattooing over her abdomen: A series of dots and dashes forming an elliptical pattern of rows covers almost the entire abdominal wall in the suprapubic region (see sketch below right).
Names like David Beckham, Brad Pitt or Justin Timberlake are no longer a surprise to anyone.
Five carefully selected motifs, chosen by the doctor from an already complete collection, which provided the livelihood and told the life story of one unnamed man. From the limited case notes and analysis of the specimen itself, we can learn something about the pathologist’s interest in the tattoo, but we are still no closer to being able to answer the fundamental question – why collect tattoos at all? Tattoos were applied to either the inner or outer side of the left forearm on registration at the camp. Henia reminds us of the need to remember past trauma, and of the role that material culture can play in this process.
Although the tattoo is very faded, the characteristic outstretched wings and erect penis are clearly discernible; in this case red ink has been used to emphasize the virility of the phallus. Processions featured a large phallus which was carried through the countryside by devotees, in order to protect crops from evil and bring fertility blessings to the land and the people. The old woman holds a phallus in each hand, and a sign advertising her wares is visible behind the basket.
Perhaps considered more comic, playful or absurd in our present context, it still appears as a popular tattoo design, as the colourful example below demonstrates. What selection criteria did the pathologist adopt when deciding which tattoos to preserve, and which to consign to the grave? Whilst tattoo motifs such as this one may seem amusing, puerile or even obscene to us today, this particular image actually has a long iconographic history embedded in religious practice and ritual, going at least as far back as Ancient Rome.
At the end of the procession a wreath was placed on the phallus by a respected older female member of the community. Around this central scene, a number of other young women are engaged in orgiastic sexual activity with the winged phalli, whilst 3 others carrying empty urns look on, as though scandalized (background right). When presented with this concept of angel tattoo designs men generally consider it too flashy, having the whole arsenal of bows and arrows and even hearts, but there are some individuals who go for it.
The manner in which the specimens have been excised and mounted are strikingly reminiscent of a lepidopterist‘s collection of butterflies – could this reflect the personal collecting interests of the pathologist, or perhaps even the Tattooed Man himself?
Although the young women depicted in the scene are drawn in classical style, the old woman has the typical appearance of a crone, more consistent with medieval pictorial conventions, suggesting an association with European concepts of witchcraft (for more on witchcraft and the winged phallus, see my previous post on lifeand6months).
Both the pathologist and Tattooed Man alike chose these butterflies – did they also share a passion for lepidoptery?



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