The Rooster and the Pig; History Fun Fact Vol. 21

The Rooster and the Pig; History Fun Fact Vol. 21
February 18
18:00 2018

The Rooster and The Pig; Sailor Tradition:

The rooster and the pig, these tattoo motives may not mean much to most people. In fact unless they are custom pieces, for most people they probably don’t carry much meaning at all. They certainly don’t make most people think of sailors and their traditions, when most people picture tattoos of a rooster and a pig. But even so, these two tattoo motives are part of a very old tattoo tradition for sailors.

It is commonplace for most tattoo lovers, that sailors have always been known as tattoo lovers. Often getting their tattoos for various reasons, most to do with their sea faring lives. Some may be from loves across the oceans, some may be for different accomplishments, like sailing a particularly difficult part of the sea. Others again however, are superstitious tattoos, believed to provide protection among other things. It is this last motivation for sailor tattoos, that is perhaps the oldest of the more common motivations for sailor tattoos.

Indeed the life at sea was a perilous one, and the rooster and pig tattoos, are examples of some of the tattoos that were meant, to keep sailors safe at sea. Not much is known as to why these animals were chosen for the tattoos. Especially since they are meant to protect a sailor from drowning. Ironically neither a rooster nor a pig, are known for being adept swimmers. But nonetheless, they became the lucky charms of many a sailors. Often they would be placed on the sailors feet, meant to make sure his feet stay planted on the ships deck as well.

Final Comment:

Whether they help or not, is up to the individual themselves to judge. Probably a good idea to learn how to swim, just to be on the safe side, if you want a life at sea. But for many people, these tattoo images, still pay a homage to an old tattoo culture, as well as the sailors life.  Some get them to honor family members that were sailors, others are themselves sailors, and get them as a homage to the culture.
They are no matter what, a fun little part of tattoo history.

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About Author



Mads W. K. Masters of science in Sociology (Cand. Scient. Soc.), from the University of Copenhagen, who specializes in embodiment sociology, but especially in tattoos and tattoo culture etc.

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