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Tattoo designs - P >> Peace Symbols

Peace symbols as tattoo design ideasPeace Symbol Tattoos - Peace is a message we can't get enough of - on flags, in art, or on your skin as a powerful tattoo message. Take your pick - the dove, the olive branch, the paper crane, the 'V' sign, or the most familiar peace sign of all - the inverted broken cross in a circle. (If there's a name for it, we haven't heard it.) It defined the peace movement in the 60s. Actually, it was created especially for Britain's nuclear disarmament movement in the 1950's. Since then, it's become the international anti-war movement emblem.

Rumours of an occult origin for this symbol evaporate in the face of its actual -- and very practical -- explanation. It's a combination of the letters 'N' and 'D' in semaphore, which is a system of communication using hand-held flags. Superimposed over each other, we get what looks like the Teutonic rune of death. Some conspiracy theorists insist it resembles a pagan symbol, even one that signifies the hatred of Christians, and a favourite sign of Satanists. Don't let that put you off putting your weight - and a patch of skin - behind the peace movement.

peace symbolsThe symbol showed up in America, at civil rights marches in the '60s. It must have had an impact, because right wing fundamentalists are said to have considered banning it, as they did in South Africa during the apartheid years. The symbol was never more visible than during anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in the US.

The white dove has a much longer history as a sign of peace. When Noah, afloat in a watery universe, dispatched birds to seek news of the flood's end, it was the dove that returned with an olive branch in its beak, a sure sign of land. The olive branch became a symbol of the covenant between Man and God. In modern times, artist Pablo Picasso re-established the dove icon as a peace symbol when he designed a lithograph for the 1949 Peace Congress in Paris. It's a simple line drawing that works well as a tattoo.

The olive branch, or leaf, has the longest tradition of peace. In Greek history and mythology, it signified peaceful intentions, as in "to extend an olive branch", and still does to this day. The olive's peaceful connotations go back to the competition between Athena and Poseidon to see which god knew the gift most useful to mortals. The sea god offered the horse, useful in war without question, but Athena trumped Poisideons gift with the olive tree, which had many associations with peace and harmony. Not only was the olive the source of food and oil, but its cultivation took many years to bear fruit. Its very existence implied human settlement, civilization and the peace that both required to exist and flourish.

In Asia, it's the white crane that has long signified the kind of peace that comes from prosperity and friendship. In the years following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, it became a symbol of peace following war. An eleven year old girl named Sadako tried to fight her radiation disease by believing in a tale of legendary wisdom. By folding a thousand paper cranes, it would make her wish come true. Sadako wished for her health in a world of peace. She died. But for her efforts, the paper crane became a peace symbol for children all over the world.

Splay your forefinger and middle finger in a 'V' and you've got the well-known hippie or beatnik 'peace sign'. In WWII in Europe, it stood for 'victory', but it got co-opted by the counterculture in America into an everyday greeting. "Peace."

Peace Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!The word in Hebrew is 'Shalom', and in Arabic it's 'Salaam', both well-known peace greetings, and worthy of a text tattoo that will never go out of fashion.

Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Peace Inspiration Gallery

See also: Dove Tattoo Designs, Crane Tattoo Designs

Get your own Peace Symbol Tattoo design ideas at Tattoo Johnny

Peace symbols as tattoo designs and symbols

Tattoo designs - P >> Peace Symbols

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