The land of Russia stretches across the globe to form the largest country in the world. Like any other country, it has its good points and its bad points, but politics don’t prevent the world of tattoo art from flourishing there. In a country renowned for its variety, hospitable nature, scenic wilderness, and rich history, tattoo artists take inspiration from all around them. Today, let’s talk all about the world of Russian tattoos, their meanings, and even their unique style! This gallery of Russian tattoos shows off the variety of the amazing Russia.
Russian Tattoos and Their Meanings
When people Google the meanings of Russian tattoos, they probably want to know the meaning of Russian prison tattoos. While I will show off a few of those, this gallery will not focus on them! Unlike American tattoos, patriotic designs do not make up the majority. Instead, religion takes the spotlight and shines. The Russian Orthodox Church boasts 150 million members, although quite a few Russians emigrated in order to continue the traditional form of Christianity that preceded it.
If the tattoo inspiration did not come from religion or the world of crime, then the tattoo retains a personal meaning. If you see a tattooed Russian, simply ask what their tattoo means!
Temhota Russian Tattoos
Temhota means darkness in Russian, and prisoners and ex-cons use the word to describe their mafia-inspired tattoos. Russian mafia tattoo meanings have their own dictionaries. In example, this tattoo might depict the myth of Prometheus chained to a rock after stealing fire for humanity, but the sail boat on the sea gives it a deeper meaning. The tattoo tells everyone who sees it ‘this man travels, steals, and escapes to tell the tale.’
A snake around the neck means drug addiction, the eight-pointed star (or rosette) means a thief known all across the world, epaulettes show a disdain towards the government, and the list goes on. Of note, a Nazi swastika does not necessarily depict a Nazi sympathizer. Rather, the tattoo means that the prisoner hates the prison guards, who act as Nazi generals towards them. Some prisons even forced them to remove their tattoos because of this jab at their authority. No one likes getting called a Nazi.
Khokhloma Russian Tattoos
Moving away from the darker side of Russian tattoos, Khokhloma Russian tattoos show a traditional form of painting native to Russia. Because of the abundance of blank ink used in this painting style, they translate well into tattoos. On top of that, the typical colors of Khokhloma—gold and red—make spectacular tattoo inks. The usual subjects include sparrows, roosters, pheasants, peacocks, foxes, bears and—present in every tattoo—tons of flowering vines.
Modern Russian Tattoos
Of course, just like every other country, Russian tattoo artists create more than traditional tattoo designs. They use a unique type of 3D patterning that could give tribal designs a run for their money! They also use an interesting painting style on their realistic tattoos. But, above all, they use their inks to the best of their ability. Without a doubt, Russia boasts some of the world’s greatest tattoo artists!
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