The most popular oceanic tattoos are fish, whales, crabs and dolphins.
Fish are associated with messiahs and saviors. The ithycus fish, which is a Christian symbol, represents the renewal faith and is constructed from two simple curved and crossed lines.
In China, carp represent love and courage. Goldfish represent gold coins. In North American Native Indian lore, salmon love and courage as well because of their ability to swim upstream to spawning grounds. Fish are also associated with the Western zodiac symbol of Pisces.
Crabs are also a common subject of tattoos, simply because they represent the astrological sign of Cancer.
Whale tattoos are often borne to support the ecological causes of the creature. In most cultures, whales are identified with an emergence from depression and "the dark night of the soul" as well aligning oneself with the water element.
Dolphins represent joy and harmony in Western culture. In South Pacific and Native American cultures the animal is thought to carry departed souls to their next incarnation.
Dolphin tattoo by Stacey Sharp www.sharptattoos.com
Pin up girl tattoos have something to do with the phrase "a sailor has a lady in every port." Explorers in the South Pacific came home with tattoos of their exotic feminine finds on their arms. Some of these tattoo designs were morphed into goddess like creatures who were thought to protect the men while they were at sea.
The pin up tattoo hit it big during World War I and World II, at the same time as magazine pin up girls came into fashion. Image of the Gibson girl and Betty Grable adorned the forearms of fighting men. During the Korean War images of Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth were also popular.
The lighter pin-up girl tattoos were based on popular celebrities. The dark side of this motif was represented by images of goddesses, witches, Viking Queens, Amazons and anthropomorphic creatures.
"Spider Woman" tattoo courtesy of Rueben "Rue" Kayden www.tattoorue.com
"Viking Witch" tattoo reprinted by courtesy of Little Joe http://www.geocities.com/tat2byjoe
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