A plain dagger tattoo can show sacrifice, bravery, and loyalty, or be used to symbolize fighting, danger, fear, and ferocity. When paired with a heart, rose, or skull, dagger tattoo designs often symbolize a range of meanings, from the duality of good and evil, the inevitability of death, lost love, or a romantic betrayal. A dagger is the world’s oldest personal weapon. It both protects and provides and creates a level of intimacy you don’t find with other weapons such as the gun or bow. It’s both a tremendously vital old-school tattoo symbol, yet also one that connects with contemporary mainstream tattoo collectors looking for an image-laden with deep symbolic meaning. The following story details some of the important nuances that a dagger tattoo may possess and can help you and your tattoo artist determine the correct piece for you.
Classical Dagger Symbolism in Tattoo Art
Dagger tattoo art is often used to symbolize fighting, danger, fear, and ferocity because the real thing is used in close hand-to-hand combat. There’s no distance you can put between yourself and what’s coming up against your blade, which also makes for an arresting tattoo design concept, especially when paired with other meaningful concepts.
American Traditional Dagger Tattoo Art
Daggers have been a popular design – particularly for those with a military background – since the late 19th century. They make for some of the most provocative American traditional style pieces,
This type of artwork generally depicts a dagger that has a gleaming blade and a beautifully ornate handle.
Dagger tattoos are often split in the middle to depict stabbing, and a dagger typically appears to be stabbed through the head of a creature, a flower, a heart, or even the subject’s skin.
The many combinations make a dagger tattoo extremely versatile as a classical old-school application style.
Stabbing Dagger Tattoo Meaning
What’s more badass than a fierce animal boldly tattooed on the chest? A fierce animal with a dagger through its head.
A dagger stabbed through an animal head is generally a tattoo associated with overcoming a challenge, with the type of beast used associated with the challenge of impediment that you faced.
Perhaps you put your safety and wellbeing on the line every day and aren’t afraid to risk security for the sake of unknown valor.
From panthers to wolves, snakes to gorillas, the dramatic effect that is created with these gruesome designs is undeniable. Whether in color or black and gray, these fierce and unique designs are sure to turn heads wherever they go for years to come.
Snake and Dagger Tattoo Symbolism
The snake and dagger tattoo symbol carries multiple meanings, and its tattoo likeness will no doubt elicit equal parts fear and awe from those who glimpse upon it.
The blade and snake tattoo are deployed together by the tattoo enthusiast to expand on the concept of balance between good and evil, or right and wrong.
The snake tattoo has long gotten a bad rep, but in fact, often emulates sacred spiritual insights relating to the serpent. No man is entirely good or bad, and sometimes a snake is needed in the garden to shake things up from time to time.
Just as the snake is the earthly embodiment of the eternal and mystical masculine, the dagger represents the dangers that may lie ahead, and the courage needed to overcome the many faces of adversity.
When all is said and done, the serpent and dagger tattoo is more than just a symbol of good vs. evil, but the necessary balance one must maintain between the two.
Dagger and Skull Tattoo Designs
Many people choose to incorporate another badass element into their dagger designs: a skull tattoo.
Long a favorite in American old-school tattoos, skulls are powerful symbols of our mortality and limited time on earth, and they’re perfect additions to these designs.
The significance that’s created by piercing a skull with a dagger is also interesting – some might suggest that this represents the way the wearer embraces mortality by living every day as if it was their last.
Dagger and Rose Tattoo Meanings
Rose and dagger tattoos are particularly popular in American traditional tattoo designs, where the blade’s placement can affect the meaning, as do the colors used to represent the rose.
The dagger and rose tattoo design represents duality: the rose for love, positivity, passion, and trust, and the dagger for betrayal, cunning, and deception.
Dagger and Swallow Tattoo Art
The dagger and swallow tattoo design represents good luck, wealth, and a safe passage home. The combination of nautical-themed imagery with weaponry makes for a rather pirate-y tattoo meant to represent the duality of danger and prosperity.
The dagger holds a special place of fascination for most of us. In traditional tattoo art, it’s a symbol of stealth, danger, and protection all in one.
On its own, the dagger is a fighting weapon but can mean different things. Easily concealed and carried but very hard to use without intestinal fortitude. You either have to be brave enough to go face to face or bold enough to get up close and personal with your enemy and deal the bloody damage with your own hand.
It’s the power of the dagger as a symbol that makes it such a good choice when paired with positive swallow tattoo meanings, or designs such as a spirit animal, heart, and roses.
Heart Dagger Tattoo Art
Many people choose a bloody dagger piercing a heart like a tattoo design symbolizing broken hearts and lost love.
A bloody dagger heart tattoo is often aligned with the pain of loss and grief and can be found in most flash art books at your tattoo studio.
A heart dagger design is most often for lost romantic relationships, but it can also be applied to the loss of loved ones, friends, and pets.
The dagger, knife, and sword combined with a bleeding heart tattoo design also possesses elements of other heart ideas, such as the sacred heart, black heart, or broken heart tattoo, but without being the focus of the tattoo.
The contrast that is created by combining these two disparate elements is also interesting and adds intellectual depth to these depictions, whether inked on a large scale or as just a small tattoo.