Traditional Swallow Tattoos

Traditional Swallow Tattoo Meaning

Like many other Traditional tattoo motifs, there’s strong underlying symbolism related to the swallow tattoo design.

It’s not surprising that this particular bird found itself within the maritime tattoo theme. Swallows, unlike similar species, tend to return to their nesting sight and colony year after year travelling long distances in difficult conditions, much like a sailor at sea. Often seen paired in tattoo designs, it is thought that sailors would get one swallow tattoo to commemorate their departure and would get the other upon their return home. Furthermore, by having one or more swallow tattoo it was seen as a reflection of one’s sailing calibre where each piece was earned depending on the distances the sailor had travelled. Not only was a swallow tattoo seen as a representation of success at sea, the myth was also told that if a sailor was to drown on their journey, the bird would lift their soul to heaven.

Whether it’s down to their wanderlust nature or just for the pure love of traditional tattoos, the design of the swallow has stuck and nowadays they are one of the most frequented traditional tattoo designs. Due to their simplistic nature, they work really well as fillers, within a scene, as well as stand alone pieces. You’ll see in our artist’s examples, that their swallows have been stylised in a unique way where you can tell it belongs to their hand from a mile away.

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday
11:00 am - 7:00 pm

11:00 am - 5:00pm

Contact Info

34 Cheshire Street
London, E2 6EH

020 7175 0133