Bottle Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Bottle Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

A message in a bottle? You bet! Bottle tattoos sound simple, but make for a versatile design that you can personalize to your heart’s content. In today’s article, we’re going to touch a bit on the deceptively simple choice of bottle tattoos to give you an idea of the symbolism, meanings, and more that you can get from this option.

From fine aesthetics, to recognizable symbolism and compact-delivery, as it turns out, bottles really have a whole to say in the world of skin art. Let’s take a look and you can see for yourself!


What is the History of Bottle Tattoos?

Bottles themselves has some serious ancient history behind them, as we believe that the first bottles were made in Mesopotamia, circa 1500 BC! Add in that the oldest unopened wine bottle we’ve found is a 1700 year old piece from Germany and it’s safe to say that bottles have likely been featured in tattoos for very long time, indeed.

The first message in a bottle is attributed to an ancient Greek philosopher by the name of Theophrastus, who sent it to one of Aristotle’s pupils in order to test the theory that the Atlantic ocean flows and leads straight into the Mediterranean, but the use of bottles certainly doesn’t end there.

Aside from messages and storing our favorite beverages, we even have scientific oddities such as Klein bottles, which technical have no inside or outside that you can define – as their clever design makes the surface entirely one piece!

These are just a few examples of the kind of range that this simple and commonplace object really has. Bottle can hold booze, keep genies trapped inside, or send an S.O.S. from a desert isle and so much more. With all this function and such a recognizable form, they certainly have a place in creative and fine skin art designs!


What Do Bottle Tattoos Symbolize?

Bottle tattoos can symbolize a lot of things.

For instance, that Klein bottle we mentioned is quite the marvel, having no inside or outside and created in a way that you can see this clearly, even though it just looks on the surface like a weird, convoluted bottle.

Then there is the message in a bottle, which can symbolize feeling alone and sending out one’s message to the world, so that fate might deliver it and free them from their isolation.

A liquor bottle, though, could symbolize an affinity for that liquor or even that it is a weakness, depending on the design.

Consider next what is inside it… is it a bottle of Viking mead or a Greek wine fit for Dionysus? Then we go to the flipside and consider what it means if it is empty. This could symbolize a vessel waiting to be filled or perhaps a bad habit that was broken a long time ago.

As you can see, bottle tattoos have quite a lot of versatility in regards to what they symbolize and what they CAN symbolize, so this gives you a chance to really clever-up your personal skin art and communicate just about anything that you like. Message in a bottle, indeed, wouldn’t you agree?


What Do Bottle Tattoos Mean?

The ultimate meaning of a bottle tattoo will be up to you, but there are scores of examples out there that demonstrate just how creative you can really be.

Scientific bottles such as the Klein can tell the world that the owner of this skin-art has a scientific and clever bent, while a potion bottle can impart a little mysticism.

The message in the bottle shows a cry for help, a belief in fate, and even a feeling of isolation – as if they were indeed on an island or simply so far from the crowd around them that they might as well be.

Then we have the definite booze bottles, which can commemorate good times or invite new ones, though with the right imagery they might also serve as a warning to the world about what these drinks can do to them and to the owner.

A broken one of these can even indicate a victory in escaping the grasp of their influence, but you aren’t just limited to alcoholic symbolism. Bottle can hold genies, tiny people or animals, colored sands – really, the sky is the limit, so the meaning in the end is definitely going to be up to you.


Where Do Bottle Tattoos Usually Go?

Bottle tattoos can go anywhere you like, though the most popular spots might be considered to be the outer arm or the back, depending on the amount of detail that you are looking to put in the design. That said, by their compact nature and instant recognizability, you can fit your bottle anywhere and depict it at any size.

Everyone knows what a bottle looks like, so wherever you put it, they’ll get the message loud and clear!


Characteristics and Styles of Bottle Tattoos

Bottle tattoos can be done in black and white, although color is much more fun. Bottle tattoos of any size will take well to this color and a good artist can make sure that you see the shine off of the surface. As far as styles, that’s another area where these tattoos are really across the board.

If you want a genie in a bottle, you might go with New School to make something truly odd and interesting, or you could go with Japanese style with a rolled-up missive inside and perhaps a Kanji character showing from the scroll.

There’s really no wrong way to do it, which can’t be said of every design. Like the bottles themselves, bottle tattoos are quite versatile and recognizable in any style that tickles your fancy.


In closing

In today’s article we’ve taken a closer look at bottle tattoos and it’s easy to see that there’s a whole lot of meaning in this humble symbol that we all know so well. Bottles can hold might potions, or imprison little people, and the long tradition of a message rolled-up inside is one that we can all relate to.

What will be the message in (or of) your bottle? Play with your design and take advantage of the versatility of expression and we can’t wait to see the results in your very own bottle tattoo!

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