If a young man wears a wild boar tattoo, he is probably wearing it as a symbol of his courage. As such it can be traced back to the Borneo ritual of a young boy’s first successful hunt in which he manages to kill a wild boar, to mark his rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. In many parts of the world, hunting wild boar was a popular sport. Boars are uncastrated male pigs with razor-sharp tusks known for their ferocity and courage – they will fight to the death to defend their territory if cornered and so made redoubtable opponents for hunters. Because of its great strength and speed, it was chosen by King Richard III as his heraldic symbol.
Wild boars and pigs have been the subject of myths and legends throughout history. Capturing the Erymanthian boar – a ferocious giant of a creature – was the fourth labour of Heracles (or Hercules). The fearless goddess Artemis (or the Roman huntress, Diana) sent her raging boars to ravage farmers’ fields when a country offended her in some way. According to another myth, Artemis sent a wild boar to kill Adonis when he insulted her pride by boasting he was the better hunter.
Snakes have always been popular subjects for tattoos and a snake tribal tattoo can be a very impressive piece of body art. As an animal totem, snakes would speak volumes (if they could) about those who are drawn to them. Such people are extra-ordinary and, accordingly, possess some extra-ordinary qualities. They are intuitive and often gifted natural healers; their innate intuition helps them to make correct decisions quickly and enables them to attune to the thoughts and emotions of others. They also have admirable natural diplomacy and skills of rhetoric or literary flair. If you recognise yourself in this description, you are almost certainly considering getting a snake tribal tattoo.
Your natural intuition and caution should prevent you from making a rash decision, but a word to the wise before you begin. Tribal art, by its nature, is meant to be permanent, so you must take care with your choice of design and positioning to ensure you choose something you are willing to live with for the rest of your life.
Most of us have a favourite animal, whether domestic or wild and our universal interest in animals is reflected in their popularity in tattoo-art and, in particular, in the number of wild animal tattoos all around the world today. The animal kingdom is rich in symbolism and legend and myths abound about every creature, all of which have special significance to someone. Whether chosen to symbolise some deeper characteristic of human or animal nature, or simply to reflect admiration of that creature, wild animal tattoos are here to stay.
We are a world of animal-lovers, as witnessed by the flourishing pet industry and proliferation of wild life charities, so depicting an animal in tattoo form is not unusual. Among the most popular are: snakes, frogs and lizards, panthers and tigers, dolphins and fish, and butterflies and birds. A quick look at the symbolism surrounding these animals might help us to understand their popularity.
Snake tattoos symbolise both physical and supernatural powers, and are also associated with wisdom, fertility and regeneration. As tattoos, they are popular because they also work well with other designs, due to the flexibility of their fluid, undulating bodies, which complement the human form so well.