Dagger and Knife Tattoo designs and symbols are a reoccurring theme and image (that means they pop up a lot!) in many different tattoo genres and eras, and are often tattooed by themselves as a singular object or as an integral part of a gruesome tale!
The ancient Aztecs used special ceremonial daggers to cut the still beating hearts out of their human sacrifices as they paid homage to their Gods. Such a dagger represented the fearsome and capricious power of the Gods.
Throughout the Middle East, in Babylon, Mesopotamia, Persia and many other cultures, knives were used to kill animals on special altars to sacrifice them to the Gods. The image of a knife and blood-letting and death are all firmly intertwined. The ability to spill blood, the very essence of life, is an extraordinarily powerful image and a very potent symbol. At its most primal level, the knife or dagger represents Death.
Daggers and knives are present in many Military tattoos because of their use as a weapon - perfect for close fighting and because of their silence. Special Forces Units are particularly prone to using daggers in their regimental and unit crests. The symbolism of a knife or dagger tattoo in a military design is very similar to that of a sword, with perhaps a slightly less noble pedigree. The knife or dagger represents ferocity, quickness, tenacity and death at the hands of another. The knife can also represent an assassin.