Death has always fascinated men. The lack of knowledge of what takes place in the afterlife gives free rein to the vagrancy of all imaginations. Each and everyone according to their religious beliefs, convictions or personal experience has their own theory on the subject. But most of the time, it is the uncertainty that dominates! Faced with this questioning and in front of such a fatality, human beings have chosen to tame death by symbolizing it. The most frequent representations of death are the famous Grim Reaper and of course: the skull!
The skull has inspired many painters or writers who have integrated it into their works to better illustrate their message. In addition to the skull and crossbones in art, the symbol has been widely used in the fashion and jewelry industry as well as in commercial celebrations (Halloween - Christmas). This symbol is often associated with rebellion or the questioning of precepts and conventions. Today, we're going to put to rest once and for all the symbolic meaning of the skull and crossbones!
1) "Pirate Skull" symbol.
The representation of a skull and crossbones is summarized in a skull devoid of flesh and dominated by two large, wide-open eye sockets that have the effect of accentuating its scary side. The skull and crossbones are scary: the sight of them inevitably provokes a dull anxiety tinged with questions!
The pirates who plied the seas in ancient times were not mistaken in choosing the skull and crossbones as their symbol. The objective of the Pirate Flag? To intimidate the opponent and convey a message of fear! When a ship had the misfortune to come across their boat with the black flag on it, they knew immediately what to expect. Nowadays, the pirate flag can be found proudly displayed on fashionable clothing such as this beautiful buffalo leather Skull Perfecto that appeals to the most daring.
2) "Viking Death's Head" Symbol
The Celtic Warriors had the unfortunate habit of decapitating their enemies in order to recover their skulls. They gave it great importance: it is inside the skull that resides the spirit, the power and the bravery of their opponents! By collecting the skulls of defeated fighters in this way, they thought they would increase their strength and courage.
As for the Viking Warriors, they acted in the same way and worshipped the enemy skulls. Their pride was to drink from one of these skulls to acquire the strength of the other to complement their own. The Viking warriors were admired by their fellow warriors because of their special dishes. A little anecdote tells us about this link: the word used in Scandinavia for toasting is "skål" which translates as bowl. But "skull" means skull in English! Every time two mugs clash in the Nordic countries, it is a reference to this tradition that is recalled.
3) "Mexican Skull" Symbol
Death is the cause of festive events that take place annually in early November over 48 hours in Mexico. It is the "dia de los muertos" or in French: the Day of the Dead. Far from being a moment of sadness or melancholy nostalgia, these celebrations are dedicated to festivities, songs and dance. Altars are erected in homage to the departed. Many offerings are left in order to share the banquet with the deceased: sweets, sugar skulls and even tequila!
October 31 marks the arrival of the souls of children. It is an opportunity for youngsters to dress up as spooky creatures such as mummies, zombies or the living dead. Girls and boys walk the streets equipped with a pumpkin 🎃 just like the Halloween party! Instead of the famous "trick or treat", Mexican kids say "calaveras, calaveras" to get candy and coins. "Calavera" means "skull and crossbones" in Spanish.
Nowadays, the famous Mexican skull and crossbones has become a highly prized symbol internationally. It is omnipresent in tattoos, on clothes, necklaces, bracelets or rings.
4) Symbol "Human Skull
Following the influence of pirates, the skull and crossbones has become synonymous with freedom from rules, insubordination, disorder and every man for himself. Wearing a skull and crossbones on a piece of clothing or a vehicle is for some a way to assume their rebellious side, refusing the diktats of a society in which they create their own place. But this does not mean that they put themselves on the fringe of social life and human exchanges! By proudly displaying their skeleton banner, they are claiming their difference but not their opposition. Their goal is not to question things, but to live their desire for freedom, just like these bikers who happily swallow asphalt, especially on the famous Route 66 which links the east to the west of the United States of America. 🇺🇸
This way of life is also materialized through jewelry with skulls. Many models are available with the effigy of a skull and crossbones, often embellished with other associated symbols. They have been adopted by bikers, rockers, followers of the punk style, rap or gothic fashion. The skull is an integral part of any self-respecting collection!
Historically, the message conveyed by the skull and crossbones was clear: a human skull on top of two crossed shins that signified the presence of imminent danger. This is how the legend of the sea pirates was created, but also that of the road pirates like the Hell's Angels (bikers with a sulphurous reputation). The presence of a skull and crossbones on a banner is enough to keep away any curious person and to discourage the most reckless.
5) Symbol "Skull and crossbones tattoos
Tattoos with skulls are becoming more and more common. Those who put the skull forward often do so with a desire to assert a certain state of mind. It is also a kind of acceptance of the fatality of reality to better tame it without doubt. Every life ends with death, but rather than dreading this obligatory outcome, tattooing it into one's flesh allows one to prepare for it psychologically without fearing it any longer.
Depending on the desires, interests and beliefs of each and everyone, an ephemeral skull tattoo can come to invite itself on your skin wonderfully! Ephemeral tattoos are easy to apply and have the advantage of being able to be replaced according to your moods.
6) Symbol "Skull and Artwork
Appeared in representation in the Middle Ages, the skull was used to signify the salvation of the soul. Thus tamed, it began to be integrated more and more frequently into artistic works as an indicator of the passing of time and of the post-mortem life. Numerous painters such as Dali and Picasso have democratized the use of the skull in pictorial art, imitated by sculptors.
Modern times associated with evolving technologies have made the skull a usual representation present almost everywhere in two or three dimensions. A perfect example: these superb 5-piece Skull Paintings!
7) Symbol "Death's Head Jewelry."
Gothic people have made the skull and crossbones their emblem. Synonymous with rebellion, living on the bangs of society, they display it everywhere on their fashion accessories: bracelets, rings, pendants, necklaces... and even gadgets are an opportunity to clearly show what they think! Example: this Gothic Leather Bracelet with spikes, alliance of the softness of lamb leather with the worrying aggressiveness of spikes. Surfing on this trend, designers and fashion designers have jumped into the breach and it's great news for all Skulls fans!