Movies have given the jester a whole new context to the way we have traditionally looked at them in the past. The women and men who choose to have tattoos of jesters on their body are surely not picking mainstream tattoos that we are used to seeing in the flash books. Jesters hold certain symbolic meaning to those that use them as a piece of art on their body. They might represent the happy, wicked, sad, funny or evil thoughts and feelings that we sometimes have.
The jester, in this case, is whatever you want it to mean but there are meanings behind the image of the jester. There are a lot of different directions you can go with this tattoo and we wanted to give you an idea of the history and symbolism behind the jester tattoo so you can make a better decision when it comes to getting your own jester tattoo.
We will also talk about the symbolism of the jester as well as some different variations of the jester tattoo to give you wider scope of your options. By the end of this post we hope you feel more informed on jester tattoo meanings.
What is a Jester?
A jester is commonly known a s person that worked for the Monarchs of Europe to provide them with entertainment whether it be by jokes or slapstick comedy. When trying to picture what a jester looks like, imagine it similar to a clown. They wear eccentric and bright clothes with a floppy hat with bells on all three points of the hat. Imagine a donkey’s ears and how they hang to think of the hat the jester would wear. You would often see the jesters of old carrying some sort of scepter which was otherwise known as a marotte. On top of this scepter was a carving of a head that was meant to reflect the look of the jester.
Many of the jesters played roles in bringing a lighter mood to events including things like court. This is where the term court jester came from. The jesters of old had a big responsibility in making the Monarch of the time happy. His only job was to make sure he was amusing his master no matter if it was at dinner or serious matters. It could cost him his life.
More specifically about their clothes, the jester generally wore tight pants that would usually have two different color pants in addition to wearing a motley coat. The jester generally had a shaved head and they wore a sort of wig that resembled the monks of the time and the hair came down to around shoulder length. Over time, the clothes of the jester became brighter and gawdy. However, the most notable part of the jester’s outfit was the hat which came to be known as the fool’s hat.
History of the Jester
In the Middle Ages, the jester was a familiar sight. Aristocratic, British families would hire jesters and often regarded them as pets or mascots. Sometimes they would dress like a servant but for the most part, they would be dressed in their jester garb. Jesters weren’t only there to amuse everyone; sometimes they were asked to criticize them as well.
For a servant, the jester had the rare privilege of being able to say what they wanted. They were one of the very few people that were able to make jokes during court to poke fun at lords, ladies and nobles without offense being taken. Many of the jesters that were working were educated people and came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Even thought the jester had more freedom than most, if they went too far they could be punished.
Some jesters were known to just be naturally foolish. They were not the brightest and they couldn’t help what they were saying sometimes. The other type was a licensed fool that courts would allow leeway. They were usually excused in all court proceedings unless things got out of hand. They would also give bad news to the leaders so others wouldn’t have to break the news.
Jester Tattoo Meaning
Now that we know about the jester, we can understand the jester tattoo meaning. The first thing that the jester tattoo can symbolize is quick wit. The jesters in the court rarely had any script to follow so everything they did was off the cuff. They would have to have quick comebacks in almost all situations. Someone with this tattoo might want to represent the quick wittedness of the jester.
Another trait of the jester is triumphing over an obstacle. You will often see the image of the grim reaper in a jester’s outfit in depicting triumph over death. You might see the reaper or a skeleton in the jester costume to indicate getting through hard times or illness.
The jester was also difficult to trick. Because of their quick wit and sharp mind, the jester is often the last one to be fooled. The person with the jester tattoo might have been fooled once but the tattoo is a reminder to not be fooled again.
The jester tattoo is also a way to laugh in the face of authority. Because the jester had the freedom to mock authority in the courts back in the Middle Ages, the jester tattoo represents that same freedom or desire to do so.
Jester Tattoo Variations
You might see the jester tattoo in a variety of forms. You might see an evil jester with a dark theme that represents the mocking of happiness or life in certain forms. The evil jester is a way to mock authority and let them know you aren’t afraid of what others have in store for you.
We’ve also seen plenty of playful jester tattoos that inspire the fun parts of life or poking fun at the absurdity of life. Looking at life in this playful matter helps us all to get through the tough times and to keep moving forward.