The image of a shield is a strong and powerful image in most cultures. Shields have been used as a type of protection and armor since the dawn of time, most notably during the Medieval time period.
Knights and other soldiers, warrior types, would use shields as a coat of arms against offensive weapons such as spears and arrows shot and thrown from the bows of enemies attacking. In many cases, the shields that were being used to protect said warrior, or fighter, would have designs and symbols associated with the shield holder’s identity.
Animals were a common figure to have painted on the shield. Often these animals would represent the owner of the shield, a bear for example would be a good signification of strength.
Many people associate the shield with the knight and shining armor, battling against dragons and other mythical creatures. Although this was a very common style of shield, with the cross painted upon the front, this however is just one of many shield styles. The one most people think of, the one that is depicted in many images of knights is the Christian Crusader style. This cross was painted upon the shield to show that these soldiers were willing to fight and die for their beloved Christian beliefs. Now that times aren’t as dark, people get tattoos of shields for fashion purposes instead of grabbing one to be protected against spears and flying arrows.
If you are Irish and would like a tattoo that shows your heritage but want something unique, a Celtic shield tattoo is always a great way to go. The Celtic shield design is a shield that has a rounded or slightly rectangular shape. These shields have patterns within them, most Celtic patterns look like tree roots that twist and turn around the outside edges of the shield.
Due to Ireland’s luscious green forests and fields, the tree roots stretching around the outer parts of the shield design are a way of showing the life and growth around the countryside, and also showing that you’re a child of nature. Celtic shields can be decorated with color, a nice emerald green and gold are always rich colors to show Irish pride.
Shield tattoos are another way of showing that your family has a unique history that you’re proud of. If you would like to get your shield tattoo with color, a good piece of information to know is what colors you should get and why. Common color codes of a shield include gold (or yellow), silver (or white), red, and blue.
When it comes to shields, almost everything within the shield has some sort of symbolism and meaning. Gold and yellow for instance symbolize generosity and elevation of the mind. Silver and white signify peace and sincerity. Red, being the fierce and high-energy color it is, defines the strength of the warrior or military strength and magnanimity of said individual. Blue represents truth and loyalty. These colors should match whatever design and symbol you put alongside your shield.
Another reason why some may decide to get the shield tattoo is for protection to ward off evil spirits. If you are one who believes in superstitions or just have a spiritual side that you feel needs protection, there’s no better design or symbol than a shield. The figure of an angel inside a shield is a good reminder to that person they are being watched over and guided by this image. This gives the individual a sense of protection against the evil entities in the world that may bring them harm or unnecessary drama. Swords and helmets are also other tattoos that go along well with the shield concept. This is another declaration of protection and to tell the evil spirits to back off.
If you are a family-oriented person and your family name is something you take great pride in, you want your last name tatted up but you don’t want it to look like every other person’s ‘last name’ tattoo, the shield is a perfect frame to hold your name close. Not only can you put your last name within the shield or maybe even the crest as scripture-style writing but you can put up to three to four images. These images are sometimes the flag of the country one’s family lives in, a motto that the family may have, or even an animal, different classifications of birds and lions are popularly known to be used to represent families.
An antelope is a favored and admired animal in heraldry. The antelope is a peaceful symbol that represents someone who has an interest in the arts. Someone who is keen on music and harmonizing. The antelope, such an innocent animal can even portray purity and trustfulness. The lion, being the king of the jungle, is one of the more famous animals in the heraldic shield tattoo community. The lion has always been an emblem and sign of courage. With the lion’s mighty roar and confident stride, the king of beasts throws a fierce warrior-like admiralty into the mix.
What better animal to put on the sides of a shield than a giant cat? Not all animals featured on the family crests are real animals. There are many fictional and mythological creatures that honor family shields. The Sphinx, an ancient Greek mythical creature that has the head of a human and the body of a lion. The Griffin, another ancient Greek creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, the wings and head of an eagle, and talons for its front feet is another creature that decorates some people’s family shields.
Unicorns are another example of mythological creatures that can be used on a shield tattoo. Like the antelope, the unicorn is a symbol of purity and grace. The unicorn has a long, sharp horn protruding from the middle of its forehead. This horn was said to have the power of healing one when they touched it and was able to wipe out poison in water to make it drinkable and inhabitable again for sea life.
These shield tattoos are mostly seen worn on the upper arm or the forearm. The shield is a sign of protection and courage. If you have true love and pride for your family or just want to get a tattoo of a shield to remind yourself that you are a strong person with a strong and uplifting spirit, the shield tattoo is an awesome piece of art to add to your collection. If you are not sure what your family’s heraldic shield design is, it’s not too hard to look it up online or even at your local library!