Dancing skeleton tattoo by Chase Martines

Skeleton Tattoo Ideas That Will Make You Feel Fragile ☠

Categories Traditional TattoosPosted on

Skeleton tattoo represents the pure essence of a person. You can’t hide anything in it, and it reveals what we’re truly are. It also symbolizes our way of thinking that we are strong and capable in our lives, but in the face of death, we’re fragile and helpless. Of course, skeleton tattoos have many more interesting meanings, and they all come from the olden days. It doesn’t have to mean anything at all. Either way, if you like skeletons, stay here for a while for some fantastic ideas.

Blackwork skeleton by Alena Chun
Blackwork skeleton by Alena Chun
Dot-work skeleton with a crow
Dot-work skeleton with a crow
Skeleton with a wreath on the skull
Skeleton with a wreath on the skull
Dancing skeleton tattoo by Chase Martines
Dancing skeleton tattoo by Chase Martines
Traditional Grim Reaper tattoo by Mooney Tattoos
Traditional Grim Reaper tattoo by Mooney Tattoos

Skeleton – one of the oldest symbols of death

In Western cultures, skeletons have been the symbols of death since the early times. And it is not so hard to explain why. We don’t know what is going to happen after we die. Many people try not to think about it. But, in one way or another, we all face the death inevitably. So, it’s natural why people linked a skeleton of any kind with the end of life. When our ancestors would find a human or an animal skeleton, they knew that something tragical has happened.

Van Gogh's Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette tattoo
Van Gogh’s Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette tattoo

During the plagues in medieval Europe, the victims had to be buried only in specialized, marked graveyards. Later on, people strictly limited access to the burial grounds of plague victims, because the bacteria are capable of surviving for many years. During that time, a symbol of a skull and crossed bones became a symbol that marks the tombstones of the plague victims.

Skeleton tattoo on the left calf by German Ferreiroa
Skeleton tattoo on the left calf by German Ferreiroa

However, the most recognizable part of the human skeleton is a skull. And that’s why the skull with crossed bones have become the ultimate symbol of death and mortality. Wherever you go and see this symbol, it reminds you that your life is finite. Of course, the fear of death in humanity has decreased a lot since the medieval times. More agnostics and atheists don’t believe in the afterlife at all. So, a skeleton is no longer a symbol of fear, as it used to be back in the days.

Traditional skater skeleton tattoo
Traditional skater skeleton

Skeleton tattoo meanings

There are many ways to explain what a tattoo of a skeleton could express. As we have already mentioned, probably the primary meaning would be death and the transience of life and happiness. It can be a great reminder to live your life as you want to. Don’t waste your life, because you have a limited time here, so do the things you believe are right.

King of the dead by Sakari Body CTRL
King of the dead by Sakari Body CTRL

Another point of view comes from a European perspective. A skull and skeleton in Shakespeare’s plays are a symbol of melancholy. For instance, when Hamlet sees the skull of his friend, he remembers that he was a funny guy. So, skeleton tattoos could also mark a loss of a family member or a close friend. It would always remind you of the beautiful moments you have had with that person. And when you feel lonely or sad, it would bring back the good memories; you would imagine that this person always takes care of you.

Heart-shaped skeleton lovers
Heart-shaped skeleton lovers

Skeleton tattoos are also a symbol of the mysticism that surrounds the death. While we all choose to believe in the afterlife or not to believe, we are not able to avoid the death. And since we don’t know what is going to happen after we pass away, people think of lots of different explanations for that. So, skeleton tattoos can express your beliefs about the afterlife. Also, it makes much more sense to get a skeleton on your body, if you have a strong faith. It could signify that the death is not the end and that you live on after you die.

Traveling skeleton tattoo
Traveling skeleton tattoo

Other meanings of skeleton tattoos

Most of the people link a skeleton tattoo to negative things such as fear. And as we can see, they are right in a way. But death is not the only thing that a skeleton represents. It is also a symbol of courage, sacrifice, afterlife, protection and even luck. It could symbolize your inner fears that you want to defeat. Or it can express your courage of fighting with severe disease. Also, it could signify that you feel lost, you don’t know what to do, but you are searching for something. And one day, you will find it.

Two skeleton lovers tattoo
Two skeleton lovers tattoo

As we can see, most of the negative images of skeletons come from the old stereotypes. However, people who decide to get a skeleton on their body, have a completely different approach to these tattoos. For them, the image of a skeleton symbolizes life as a process that is finite. It is inevitable and will sooner or later end. At first sight, this image looks depressing and sad, but if you take a closer look, you can see a more positive side of it. The symbol of death inspires a person to create, to discover and to enjoy life itself. It frees you from the fears and doubts and helps you to achieve your dreams.

King skeleton
King skeleton

Last, but not least, skeletons are great reminders that we should live our lives right here and now. We shouldn’t look back to our mistakes, nor we shouldn’t worry about our future. We live now, so we must not delay our plans, we have to say it ‘today,’ ‘know,’ ‘here.’ Skeleton tattoos inspire people of doing that.

Skeleton and cat tattoo by Harry
Skeleton and cat tattoo by Harry

Skeleton tattoo ideas

There are many beautiful variations of skeleton tattoos. Although we prefer a plain, black and white skeleton, you can combine it with other elements. Depending on what your tattoo should symbolize, you can decide whether you want these additional details or not. The most common elements are swords, flowers, snakes, crowns, and diamonds. Together with a skull, a crown or a diamond symbolizes the vanity of the riches. In the end, we won’t be able to carry anything with us to the grave, so it can be a perfect reminder not to be crazy about getting rich.

Two skeletons by Aurélio Ricardo
Two skeletons by Aurélio Ricardo

As with any other tattoo, everything depends on your individual choice. You should always remember, that if you don’t want, your tattoo doesn’t have to have any statement at all. If you like the aesthetics of a particular design – there’s a pretty good reason to get it. However, we recommend spending some time looking for a perfect idea. Don’t forget that your tattoo is going to stay with you for the rest of your life, so choose wisely!

Anatomical skeleton tattoo
Anatomical skeleton tattoo

Skeleton tattoo gallery

To make things easier for you, we have gathered a fantastic tattoo collection. Just scroll down and pick your favorite ones. Don’t forget to save them and bring them to your tattooist. Maybe he will create something unique?

Bartender skeleton by Jude Vesvarut
Bartender skeleton by Jude Vesvarut
Classic praying skeleton tattoo by Massimo Luciani
Classic praying skeleton tattoo by Massimo Luciani
Best buds tattoo
Best buds tattoo
Kowabunga dudes by Marine Caleri
Kowabunga dudes by Marine Caleri
Skeleton lovers tattoo
Skeleton lovers tattoo
Fighting skeletons tattoo by Melissa Contreras
Fighting skeletons tattoo by Melissa Contreras
Skeleton in a doorway by Johnson Luong
Skeleton in a doorway by Johnson Luong
Skeleton with a cup of coffee by Nemesis Tattoo
Skeleton with a cup of coffee by Nemesis Tattoo
Creepy skeleton tattoo by tattooist Taesin
Creepy skeleton tattoo by tattooist Taesin
Mermaid skeleton by Haylie Farrell
Mermaid skeleton by Haylie Farrell
Gentlemen skeleton tattoo
Gentlemen skeleton tattoo
Sad skeleton tattoo by Marie Glitch
Sad skeleton tattoo by Marie Glitch
Conjoined twins skeleton tattoo
Conjoined twins skeleton tattoo
Death tarot card tattoo by Sean Gallagher
Death tarot card tattoo by Sean Gallagher
Memento mori skeleton tattoo
Memento mori skeleton tattoo
Skeleton hanging on a moon tattoo
Skeleton hanging on a moon tattoo
Chilling skeleton tattoo
Chilling skeleton tattoo
Kissing skeleton lovers tattooed on the chest by Heartbreak Kid
Kissing skeleton lovers tattooed on the chest by Heartbreak Kid
Storm cloud over this skeleton
Storm cloud over this skeleton
Medieval skeleton joker tattoo
Medieval skeleton joker tattoo
Accordion player skeleton
Accordion player skeleton
Smoking skeleton by Sophia Nous
Smoking skeleton by Sophia Nous
Buddhist skeleton tattoo
Buddhist skeleton tattoo
Black skeleton and eye
Black skeleton and eye
Skeleton Tattoo Ideas That Will Make You Feel Fragile ☠
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