The bat is a unique animal. Firstly, it is considered to be the only mammal that has mastered the art of flying, and secondly, probably, none of the animals has been subjected to such persecutions as unfortunate bats in the Middle Ages. Militant clerics arranged the real inquisition for these small winged creatures in due time, and all because they considered them servants of Satan. Fortunately, the dense Middle Ages are long behind. That is why the image of this animal is no longer associated with people with dark forces. The image of a bat can often be seen on the bodies of young people in the form of an ornament or a kind of symbol (tattoo of scouts). We will try to explain the meaning of the bat tattoo in our article.
Superstitious fear of the inhabitants of medieval Europe in front of small bats could be caused, firstly, by the low literacy of the majority of the common population, and secondly, by the way of life of some mice. After all, there are vampire bats in nature. These animals feed solely on the blood of mammals, and precisely when they are sleeping. Just for this reason, there could be a legend that the world-famous Dracula sends oblivion to its victims. The fangs of a vampire bat are so sharp and thin that a sleeping animal simply can’t feel a bite, and its saliva contains anesthetic enzymes, so the victim does not feel pain.
Fear of bats could be caused by their love for the night time and abandoned ancient estates, where they could live and bring up offspring. This explains the legend of vampires who live in abandoned dark castles, and at night, reincarnating in bats, go in search of innocent victims. In general, the massacre of innocent animals by medieval people was largely caused by the superstitious ignorance.
At the time of Ancient Greece, on the contrary, the bats were venerated for their vigilance and keen sight, as they mistakenly believed that these creatures could see in the dark. The scientists learned how bats do not encounter objects and buildings in the dark only in the 30-ies of the XX century. This phenomenon was called echolocation. Ancient Greek legend explains the origin of bats from the point of view of people of antiquity.
A lot of people knew the cheerful and successful god of vegetation and winemaking Dionysus. Once, together with his violent retinue, he came to Boeotia, which was under the rule of King Minius at that time. Riotous Dionysus immediately began to call all the women of Boeotia for the festival of spring, fertility and the birth of a new life, but the strict daughters of King Minius did not want to join the drunken riot of Dionysus and stayed home. Subsequently, Dionysus cruelly punished primly maidens, turning them into bats. Since then, three virgins are in the service of the ruler’s wife of the kingdom of the dead, the young and beautiful Persephone.
The image of a bat is associated with fertility, a long life, good luck in China. In Chinese mythology the god of thunder Lei-Gong has the black webbed wings. The name of this animal in Chinese sounds like “fu”, which is the homonym of the word “happiness”.
It would seem that we have long ago abandoned the superstitions imposed on us in the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the designation of the bat is still associated with many vampires, Satan, and other evil forces. Probably, for this reason, gloomy black and white sketches of tattoos with a bat so like Goths, Satanists, and just fans of gloomy symbols. In turn, the quietness and grace of these animals is reflected in the activities of the military, who often depict a bat on their back, since in the army the bat means reconnaissance. Depending on the subject and symbols of these winged creatures depicted on the body in different ways. We collected a selection of the most common styles of bat tattoos.
If you wish to depict this image in a positive sense, it is better to turn to the oriental technique. This style absorbed the mystery and beauty of the mysterious Japanese and Chinese mythology. These small winged predators were not considered pests and servants of the devil in the eastern culture, but on the contrary — a symbol of fertility and luck. A feature of the image of a bat in Oriental style can be bright colors, fine lines of picture, and also the connection of this animal, according to the belief of the Chinese, with the god of thunder, Lei-Gun.
Despite the poverty of the palette, it is possible to display everything in this style — the play of light, shadow, volume. Fans of black and white photos will tell you that the sensuality and significance of the moment are much better transmitted in such colors. In addition, the black and white style is often intertwined with trash polka and ornamental.
The technique of hyperrealism has arisen rather recently, when talented tattooists got at their disposal quality equipment in the form of modern tattoo machines. The name of this style speaks for itself — it is appreciated matching the picture with the original object as much as possible. Bats in hyperrealism are often portrayed as vampires. Sometimes fans of gloomy symbols make the webbed black bat wings, which seem to be torn from under the skin. In this case, sometimes an analogy with Lucifer arises.
New-school learned a lot from his predecessor, the old school. In particular, these are bright colors, black outlines, specially simplified images, like cartoons. However, there is much more thematic diversity thanks to modern equipment and fantasy talented masters in this style. The image of bats in New-school is most often positive and has nothing to do with the servants of Satan.
When creating a sketch for your tattoo with a bat it is worth to rely on the meaning that you would like to put in it. Representatives of youth subcultures, in particular Goths, would like to put into the image of the bat as much gloomy meaning. Here you can resort to the technique of realism and portray a girl (symbolizing one of the daughters of King Minia), from whose back grow membranous wings. A bat with red eyes and protruding fangs against the background of the lunar disc will reveal the superstitious horror of the inhabitants of medieval Europe in front of Vlad Dracula. Tattoo with a picture of a bat against a parachute background is made by air-transported troops. Scouts depict a winged predator as a symbol of elusiveness and dexterity.
Whether we wanted it or not, religious superstition had a significant impact on the perception of a bat as a symbol by modern man. No wonder that this image is so loved by fans of all gloomy and otherworldly. In these little winged predators ignorant people saw the servants of the devil, and the helpers of the ruler’s wife of the kingdom of the dead Hades, and the dead souls. In a word, everything except his true essence is a living, fragile creature. Fortunately, there is no place for dense superstition in the modern world and mass destruction of bat populations. It would be wonderful if this sad history taught people not to believe the loud speeches of fanatics and not to label on innocent animals and people only because their appearance and lifestyle did not suit somebody’s taste.
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