Peace Sign Tattoos
Many people are familiar with the peace sign and peace tattoos as one of the most visible icons of the 1970s, when protests against the Vietnam war were widespread and vocal. However, the humble peace symbol was actually born in 1958, the brainchild of the leader of a nuclear disarmament movement in London.
Peace sign tattoos come in a vast variety, sometimes incorporating other familiar symbols of faith and love such as a heart, flowers or dove, and other times by themselves as a simple statement.
Where Did the Peace Symbol Get its Shape?
N + D = Nuclear Disarmament
The peace symbol got its shape in semaphore, a method of ship-to-ship communication using colored flags. Holding the flags in certain positions indicates letters of the English alphabet.
Holding a flag in each hand in an inverted V shape communicates the letter N, while holding a flag straight up and a flag straight down indicates the letter D. Together, these letters signify "Nuclear Disarmament", and when the shapes are superimposed over one another they form the familiar shape of the peace symbol.
Symbolic Meaning of the Peace Sign
With wars continuing overseas, pacifists and supporters of bringing our troops home may choose to have a peace tattoo placed somewhere visibly (such as an arm, wrist or shoulder) to express their longing to peace. Those with friends or family members serving in the military will sometimes add personal details, such as dog tags, a yellow ribbon (another symbol that encourages the safe return of troops) and the name of loved ones that have fallen or been wounded in battle.
Though the physical symbol itself was created to discourage nuclear war, the meaning behind the word and concept of peace is obviously much more far-reaching. For those going through a transformation, a difficult time in their lives, or simply taking steps toward being a better person, peace sign tattoos can be a reminder of their goals. The peace symbol tattoo combined with a dove or heart worked into the image turns the antiwar symbol into something more personal.
The peace sign can be embellished with a lot of different images to make your tattoo more personal.
Some additions have included:
- Vines and flowers
- Ironic symbols, such as a bio hazard sign
- Fire / Air / Earth / Water
- Camouflage patterns
- Celtic or tribal patterns
- A flag, usually the flag of the US
Incorporated into the well-known "arms" of the peace sign, these little flourishes can turn a universally known insignia into something individualized. Generally, additions are made to frame or highlight the peace symbol and not to obscure it; even surrounded by additional tattoo artwork, a well-done peace symbol tattoo should be visible and prominent.
Unlike some tattoo designs that celebrate new fads that may not endure, the peace symbol has been popular for almost fifty years, loved by tattooed men and women from all walks of life. Simple enough to be drawn in any size, this sign can be easily recognized when drawn large or small. The basic shape is easy to draw, ensuring that even the most novice of artists can apply it without any problems.