Mermaid is a character of folklore of many peoples. It is especially popular among Slavs and residents of Western European countries. Thanks to interest of artists and poets of the Victorian era in the image of sea nymphs, the literary image of a beautiful maiden with a fish tail somewhat eclipsed the “real” look of mermaids.
In folklore texts, they have much in common with hags and other demonic characters. Their appearance repels, and their habits leave much to be desired.
According to the legends of the Slavs, young girls who hadn’t had time to marry or unbaptized children became mermaids. There were also young male mermaids, but it was such a rare phenomenon that there is almost no mention of them.
Maidens lived mostly in forests or in fields. The Slavs were afraid of mermaids, and they preferred not to sew in the Mermaid Week (“in order not to sew the eyes of mermaids”), not to sweep in the hut (“in order not to sweep mermaids’ eyes”) and not to go to the forest.
The image of mermaids in Slavic folklore is mostly negative. They can “tickle” you to death, spoil the harvest, and intimidate you. Since ancient times, a Slavic maiden with a tail was a symbol of forests, rivers and lakes.
Residents of Scandinavia “settled” the mermaid in the sea, endowing her with character traits inherent in other mythological characters, in particular, sirens. She could bewitch a sailor and lure him into the sea abyss.
In modern culture, the image of a maid-fish is quite relevant. Tattoos with the image of mermaids are found in representatives of both sexes and various subcultures. Such a picture is also inked by prisoners. A lonely nymph with a tail sitting on the rock is a symbol of luck and freedom. And if she is chained to the anchor, it denotes disappointment in people, loss of something that was the most precious thing in life. Mermaid tattoos are often found in sailors and fishermen. According to European legends, many representatives of this profession didn’t mind to visit the sea beauty.
Such a picture inked on young lady’s body symbolizes sexuality and the desire to rule over a man, to subdue his will rather than to create a family. Siren beauty and hidden danger are the main meaning of this image in this case.
If the picture of the mermaid is inked by a man, it means that he has a hot liver, is loving and capable of a beautiful act for the beautiful girl who conquered him.
Mermaid tattoos are very beautiful without any doubt. If we talk about girls, then it is inked on rounded parts of the body, which symbolizes femininity and eroticism. Men ink such images on forearm, shoulder or chest.
The maid-fish can be depicted in several ways. “European” mermaid is characterized by insidious face expression and daring, mocking look. On the contrary, her Slavic sister has a calm and even timid beauty. Sometimes a tailed maiden is depicted with wings, but in this case it’s up to the imagination of the artist, who is keen on the fantasy genre.
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