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Tattoo designs - P >> Pigs

Check out these great pig tattoo design ideasPig / Boar Tattoos - Pigs or swine, were among the earliest animals domesticated by early humans in the transition from existence as highly mobile hunter-gatherers to more settled farmers practicing the first forms of agriculture. Alongside dogs, sheep and goats, pigs proved amenable to a life alongside humans that dates back at least ten thousand years. Prior to that wild pigs were a staple food item, and a large boar - male pig - with its razor sharp tusks, was a formidable opponent even to large groups of hunters armed with spears and other weapons.

The pig's reputation worldwide swings between the sacred and the profane. Early civilizations revered the pig as a symbol of luck, prosperity, and fertility. Egyptian, Greek and Celtic cultures linked the sow with their own mother goddesses, seeing in it the happiness associated with motherhood. Greek myth relates how the sow nourished the infant Zeus - and as a prestigious fertility symbol, the pig was offered in sacrifice to the agriculture deities, Demeter, Ares, and Gaia.

In many regions of the world, including Britain, France, Germany and many areas in eastern Europe, hunting the wild boar was long a favourite sport among the aristocracy and nobility, as it honed skills useful in battle for the hunters and the boar could be counted on to fight to the death to defend its territory and when cornered. So respected was the boar for its fierceness, valor and courage, that during the Middle Ages, a boar or boar's head was a common and indeed favored symbol or charge in Heraldry, displayed on Coats of Arms, shields and banners. The wild boar was the symbol of Richard the III of England, and in Scotland, the Highland Clan Campbell uses the boar on its badge to symbolize courage and fierceness.

In the 1870's, an anti-royalist league - believed to be Scottish - adopted the pig for their anti-monarchist symbol. Four centuries earlier, a very Scottish looking pig sporting bagpipes over its shoulders appeared as a gargoyle in Melrose Abbey, where it looked down upon the very place where the heart of Robert the Bruce is said to be buried.

From the earliest times, the pig has been a symbol of abundance, as was the case in the Celtic legend that told of a miraculous herd of 'self-renewing' pigs. To humans, the pig primarily served as a food source, and it represented wealth and security for its owner. The Chinese considered the pig a symbol of virility as well as luck, wealth and prosperity. The 'piggy bank' is seen everywhere and harks back to earlier times when pigs and wealth were closely associated.

In France, truffle farmers value the pig for its ability to root out the highly prized, and high priced edible fungus. In Germany, pigs were attached to men's watch chains as good luck charms, while in Hungary, the highest ace in the deck of cards was called diszuo, the pig.

In Asia and Africa the pig has remained a symbol of prosperity and fertility, and to this day the pig is a prized possession and a source of family status. It was the practice in parts of Southeast Asia for the groom's family to give a pig to the bride. In parts of Borneo, the arrival of a special guest calls for a feast, and the subsequent slaughter of a pig is an elaborate sacrifice, in which the guest is expected to take part, their participation being regarded as a great honor. In some tribal Filipino funeral rites, a pig is placed underneath the body of one who has been seen to have died unjustly, as an offering for the God of Revenge.

In The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the black pig was the symbol for the male god 'Set'. Although ancient religions most often took the pig as a positive symbol, the Jewish and Islamic religions designated it as 'unclean'. References to its undesirable (dirty) traits are also found in Christianity and Buddhism. The pig came to symbolize humankind's long list of moral weaknesses including sloth, ignorance, gluttony, lust and stubbornness. In Europe, the pig's inclination to roll in mud (to soothe its irritable skin, apparently) - plus its size - made it a favourite insult. French Revolutionaries portrayed King Louis as a pig, symbol of man's lower instincts. In art, the pig became a general symbol of disgrace, and people were caricatured as such for displaying loutish behaviour, drunkenness and greed.

The negative view of the pig has not diminished our affection for its more attractive features. Its plumpness for instance is perceived as good nature, and its intelligence, which is greater than the dog's, endear it to many. Children's stories, movies and cartoons depict the pig as lovable and entertaining. Few pigs are more famous than Warner Bros. Porky Pig, who co-starred with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. And in the Winnie the Pooh children's stories, Piglet is Pooh's beloved companion and best friend. Charlotte's Web, the acclaimed children's novel by E.B. White, has the spider Charlotte spinning fanciful webs, each new web extolling the virtues of the pig Wilbur in order to prolong his life. First published in 1952, Charlotte's Web is considered the best-selling children's book of all time, having sold more than fifty million copies and been translated into 23 languages.

In 1995 the film Babe, with the tagline, "A little pig goes a long way", went far enough to be nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay and won for best visual effects. The star of the film is a pig named, "Babe" who is raised by sheepdogs and learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hogget. The theme of the film, that we can be anything we want to be if we want it badly enough, resonated with audiences all over the world.

Pigs Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!If you are born in the year of the pig according to the Chinese Zodiac, you are a splendid companion, and an intellectual with a strong need to set difficult goals and carry them out. You are sincere, tolerant and honest -- but by expecting the same from others you are incredibly naive. Your quest for material goods could be your downfall.

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

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