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Mermaid Tattoos

Updated on March 12, 2008

The New Mermaid Tattoos

Mermaid tattoos were made popular by early sailors however this beautiful tattoo design has become a very popular modern tattoo for women also. Before you get a mermaid tattoo it can help to know a little bit about the history and symbolism behind them.

Mermaid Tattoo Gallery


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Mermaids have a long history in Western and even Japanese culture. They can be traced back to various ancient cultures that lived close to the ocean. For example the ancient Greeks and Romans both have a deep mythology and stories about mermaids and other sea sirens and creatures. The Greeks believe that these half women half sea creatures would wait on the rocks combing their long flowing hair and try to capture the wayward sailor with their beautiful song. It was believed that their voices were so enticing and beautiful that they could easily draw a man into their clutches with just their voice.

The ancient Greeks believed that mermaids came into the world as a result of a union between the water gods like Poseidon and Zeus and mermaids were often associated with Aphrodite the goddess of love, fertility, and female sexuality

Sailor Tattoos

Early sailors would sometimes report seeing mermaids after long voyages at sea. This was no doubt an illusion brought on by fatigue and poor nutrition but nonetheless a vision that often left a lasting impression. Over time more and more sailors started getting these tattoos. Typically on their forearm and sometimes in combination with an anchor or other nautical themes.

Most of the stories associated with any relationship between man or sailor and a mermaid typically end in bad news and often death for the sailor. It was believed that mermaids and sirens often sat on the rocks combing their long flowing hair and signing. They would potentially lure in a whole ship of sailors with their beautiful song until their boat crashed into the rocks.

Modern Mermaid Tattoos

Today surprisingly enough the mermaid tattoo has become popular once again. This tattoo design is no longer the sole domain of a hearty group of sailors but more and more women are getting mermaid tattoos. This could be due to the popularization of mermaids in movies like "The Little Mermaid". Whatever the reason many women are getting mermaid tattoos as they are another way to represent feminine power and beauty making for a popular tattoo design.

If you are interesting or thinking about getting a mermaid tattoo design there are many choices to choose from. It is always best to research the symbolism and meaning behind a tattoo such as a mermaid tattoo design before actually getting one inked permanently on your body.

More Mermaid Tattoo Designs

Mermaid Tattoo Video


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    • profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hey THere Kheng-

      That is a paticularly cool one isn't it! Thanks for the comment.

    • Kheng profile image


      10 years ago

      Like the pic of the mermaid and the baby - beautiful.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the comments they are beautiful. I am assuming you mean you could not work with a large tattoo or you might lose your job? there is always a back piece easily covered with a shirt.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Enjoy the way you profile and document the history on tattoo symbols. Great Job!

    • celticartist profile image


      10 years ago from Laramie

      Hi Sarah. Loved the info you provided. Thanks for the comment too.


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