sweet_gardenia (sweet_gardenia) wrote in little_details,
sweet_gardenia
sweet_gardenia
little_details

Traditional 19th century sailor tattoos, locations and plausibility

If it is pertinent the setting is between 1859 and 1865.

I have a young English man who has accumulated a number of tattoos while at sea on a merchant ship. Have googled the ever-lovin' mess out of ' sailor superstitions ' ' maritime tattoos ' 'nautical tattoos ' traditional placement of tattoos ' and ' 19th century sailors ' in various combinations found some wonderful information to use later but not quite what I am looking for.

The tattoos he has and their meanings (please feel free to correct me if any of these are wrong!)

-Pig and Rooster on the feet-keeping him from drowning
-Nautical Star (Or a swallow either one will work) safe return home
-Small blue star on the ear-rounded Cape of Good Hope
-Dragon tattoo-Put in port in China
-The words ' Hold Fast ' on his hands-keeping a good grip on the rigging

Now my question is where would these tattoos typically be located at on his body? or did it matter?

-Pig and rooster-which foot would each have them have been on?
-Nautical Star (or swallow)-Over his heart?
-Small blue star-ear lobe? front of ear? back of ear?
-Dragon tattoo-shoulder blade? arm? leg?
-Hold Fast-on the knuckles? the fingers? back of hands?

In the course of my research I also learned that sailors often would have religious icons/scripture etc. tattooed on their backs ostensibly to prevent getting too rough a flogging when punished. I was thinking about giving him a tattoo of a crown of thorns between his shoulder blades. Would this work for the time period or would it be taboo for any sort of reason/superstition I may have overlooked?

thanks in advance!
Subscribe

  • What to Name My Shinto Deity

    Places: Iga Prefecture (medieval Japan/1581); New York City (2014) Search Terms Used: Shinto, Naming my Shinto Deity, Naming my Shinto kami, kami,…

  • Looking for casual Japanese translation.

    Hi. I’m trying to find a casual translation of a greeting for a message left on an answering machine. The characters are sisters of Japanese…

  • Japanese translation....

    Hello - I posted in multilingual and have got nothing, so I'm hoping someone here can help. I'm trying to find the Japanese word for 'Ma'am'. The…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 20 comments

  • What to Name My Shinto Deity

    Places: Iga Prefecture (medieval Japan/1581); New York City (2014) Search Terms Used: Shinto, Naming my Shinto Deity, Naming my Shinto kami, kami,…

  • Looking for casual Japanese translation.

    Hi. I’m trying to find a casual translation of a greeting for a message left on an answering machine. The characters are sisters of Japanese…

  • Japanese translation....

    Hello - I posted in multilingual and have got nothing, so I'm hoping someone here can help. I'm trying to find the Japanese word for 'Ma'am'. The…