The Language of Tattoos

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Oliver Munden, Nick Schonberger

This beautifully illustrated guide delves deep into the meaning and significance of different tattoo symbols, exploring the rich cultural history around the world of this widespread form of body art.

Tattoos are everywhere: one in three of us has at least one. Body art is one of the most popular ways of expressing our identity and beliefs.

But whether we’re aware of it or not when we choose a design to be permanently inked on our skin, a complex language of meanings lies behind the visuals we choose. A lotus flower, koi carp swimming upstream or a dragon rising towards the sun: in the language of tattoos these are all symbols of strength and overcoming adversity.  
This book uncovers the meanings behind tattoo symbols, delving into the history of the most popular motifs that recur in many different tattoo styles, including tribal, traditional, Japanese and realistic. Over 130 symbols are grouped according to their meanings, whether it’s good luck, freedom, wisdom, power, spirituality or love.

Each symbol is illustrated with stunning, specially drawn visuals by acclaimed artist and tattooist Oliver Munden, and accompanied by an explanation by tattoo expert Nick Schonberger which delves into its history, significance and application in tattooing.

Both a visual delight and a fascinating insight into the rich cultural heritage of tattooing, this is the perfect book for anyone wanting to learn more about tattoo symbolism, in need of inspiration for their next tattoo, or who just loves tattoo art.

PRICE: $30.00 / Can$38.99 / £18.00


FORMAT: Hardback

ISBN: 9780711267862

SIZE: 6.693 in x 8.819in / 170mm x 224 mm

PUBLISHED: October 25, 2022

Nick Schonberger is a writer, blogger and critic on fashion, culture and music, based in New York. He is the co-author of TTT: Tattoo (2018) and The Graphic Art of Tattoo Lettering (2019).