The Top Ten Hand tattoos -- By Vince Hemingson

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Top Ten Hand Tattoos, Or Finger Painting with Ink
by Vince Hemingson

For the better part of the last century, hand tattoos were perhaps the defining demarcation line between the tattoo enthusiasts and aficionados and the truly hard-core. And to be hard-core meant not giving a damn about whether or not the world knew you were tattooed and to caring even less about what said world thought about it.

These are the Top Ten ways we've found at The Vanishing Tattoo for individuals to express themselves in eight letters, on eight fingers, over two sets of hands.

1. HOLD and FAST - first done by sailors. A reminder and a superstition, a tattoo that was inked as a talisman to keep from falling out of the rigging of a sailing ship. Such a fall might well have been crippling or meant death.

2. LOVE and HATE. Made famous in the film noir classic, Night of the Hunter. Worn on the hands of preacher Harry Powell played by Robert Mitchum.

3. HARD and LUCK. A tattoo that was often see in prison. A variation is Carey Hart's - HART and LUCK - a great play on his last name. Tough to sympathize with a man who is a millionaire and is married to Pink. But Hart has struggled to overcome some tough obstacles in life to achieve his considerable success, not the least of which was addiction.

4. HARD and TIME. Another prison tattoo. A variation is HARD and LIFE.

5. LOVE and PAIN. Awwwwhh, for all the romantics out there who are realists.

6. ROCK and ROLL. If you're gonna be a rock star, it pays to brand yourself I guess.

7. BORN and LOSR. This kind of typographical error normally drives me crazy, but we have to acknowledge the limitations of eight fingers. Reminds one of some of the bizarre things you see on Vanity Licence Plates.
Occasionally you will see the words, BORN TO LOSE or BORN LOSER, tattooed on the bodies of those doing prison time.

8. FUCK and YOU! A tattoo from the punk movement, and it goes to show you just how important punctuation and the exclamation mark really are, although their use in this instance might be a slight case of overstatement. And just who is you? Mom and Dad? All of the rest of us? Or just the guys in the rest of the band who didn't like your lyrics or your chord changes?

9. FUCK and OFF!. Another tattoo from the punk movement that captures its air of anarchy with beauty and grace.

10. Number ten is a toss-up - you decide. TRUE and LOVE or LTFC and ESUK. What's that you say? Some men have actually had LTFC and ESUK tattooed on their fingers. Take a pen and spell out the letters on each hand. Now intertwine your fingers. 'LETS FUCK'

Like I said, welcome to the world of the hard-core.

Honorable Mention: Motorcycle Mechanic and Guru, Jesse James - on the palm of his hand had legendary tattoo artist Jack Rudy ink Pay Up Sucker, surrounding a dollar sign.

Other Celebrities with Finger Tattoos - Colin Farrell, Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Portia de Rossi, Tommy Lee. And Celebrities you wouldn't think of with hand tattoos, Helen Mirren and Jessica Lange!

I saw a girl in Austin, Texas once with her knuckles tattooed "FUCKED UP" -- "FUCK" on one hand, "EDUP" on the other. I wish I had a photo of her! Also seen: HARM FULL - crazy out there, man!

Many of the girls on have finger tattoos. LADY LUCK being the most popular, other popular ones include SHOW GIRL, LIVE FAST, HALF FULL, and of course their names. Check out to see a whole host of finger tattoos on these lovely ladies.

After doing years of research and hours and hours of searching the Internet, it's always a little exhilarating and gratifying in some great "Cosmic Sense" to find a new site about a subject you find intriguing.

You have to check out Knuckle Tattoos - and once again I am amazed at the art, vision and ingenuity of body art beatniks, tattoo story-tellers and finger fables. Every knuckle really does tell a tale.

And the photos are great. Click here to see a large list of hand or knuckle tattoos

Hand tattoos in history and around the world...

Joann Fletcher photo
The tattooed right hand of a Chiribaya mummy is displayed at El Algarrobal Museum, near the port of Ilo in southern Peru. The Chiribaya were farmers who lived from A.D. 900 to 1350.

Tattoos were handtapped onto the fingers of Kayan women in various patterns. Black spikes running from the knuckles to mid-digits were a fairly common design. This motif, called song irang ("shoots of bamboo"), expresses a connection between plant life and fertility while the anthropomorphic (kalong kelunan) and animal designs (tingan, aso') on the wrist and back of the hand represent protective spirits.
Link: In the Realm of Spirits: Traditional Dayak Tattoo in Borneo

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Want more? See what the Top 10 tattooed body parts are.

Check out the following lists and find out who the hottest men and women with tattoos are...

World's 101 Hottest Women with Tattoos - World's 101 Hottest Men with Tattoos


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