The Dodo is probably the most well-known extinct bird that there is. One look at a picture of one of these birds has that effect – they really are quite distinctive. They also happen to have a bit of symbolism, meanings, and more to them, and that’s going to be the subject of our article today.
Dodo tattoos are definitely out there and we have a feeling that they probably always will be – read on and we’ll tell you why!
What is the History of Dodo Tattoos?
Dodos were first discovered in 1507 by Portuguese sailors, who found the odd-looking birds on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, the Dodos had never seen humans before and were quite friendly, which the sailors took advantage of and spread the word so that other ships would come to stock on Dodo meat – yikes!
As if making the Dodos their personal snack store wasn’t enough, other sailors who came brought along animals and left them on the island, with monkeys and pigs being some of the worst additions to the Mauritius ecosystem. These animals began competing with the Dodos for local food sources and also ate their eggs.
By 1681, the last Dodo in existence was killed, and while they only lasted about 174 years past the time that we discovered them and started interfering with their ecosystem, they’re still quite well-known 340ish years later.
Their friendly nature, odd builds, and unfortunate fate has stuck with us almost twice as long as they did and it’s quite understandable. These birds have a lot of symbolism behind them and considering they were also quite distinctive in appearance, it’s only natural that they would make the jump to skin art where they still ‘live’ to this day.
What Do Dodo Tattoos Symbolize?
Dodo tattoos have a pretty wide range of symbolisms behind them. Their sad fate is a popular theme, as these birds were friendly enough to come right up to the sailors, who returned their kindness by wiping them out in just under generations.
On a lighter note, a Dodo bird can also symbolize feeling obsolete in the modern day. A popular phrase that still gets a lot of use to this day is ‘gone the way of the Dodo’, to describe something that has gone away, never to return.
Dodo tattoos can also represent someone who is friendly to a fault or the type of person who is a ‘dying breed’, carrying old values with them wherever they go from another time that won’t be coming back.
Finally, a Dodo can also just represent having a good sense of humor. Their appearance is both beautiful and kind of comical and while this makes it all the more tragic that they are not around, it’s nothing short of amazing that the Dodo bird still gets mentioned in conversation virtually every day around the world!
What Do Dodo Tattoos Mean?
Most often a Dodo tattoo is a fun tattoo, meant to show a good sense of humor about getting old, or simply in how one lives their life in general. For some people, it can also be a bit of a heavier message about the dangers of meddling with the ecosystem and a reminder not to let this happen again.
Someone who feels their skillset has become obsolete might wear one to show that they are of good cheer about it and quite aware of this fact, while others see this bird as a sort of Avian ‘Don Quixote’, tilting at windmills by the means of their antiquated codes of honor and beliefs about the world.
Some might even choose a more hopeful meaning than most of these previous interpretations, wearing a Dodo as a way to say that some things that you thought were extinct do live on, hiding nearby much closer than you think.
With such a recognizable bird and the tragic tale that goes with it, you really have a lot of options with what you can say with the iconic Dodo bird. Best of all, no matter how harsh the message, these beautiful birds of yesteryear can still bring a smile from the sourest people that you know. Amazing birds, Dodos, indeed.
Where Do Dodo Tattoos Usually Go?
Dodo bird tattoos can go in a lot of different places. For sharing a bit of good cheer with the world, the outer arm is a good spot, where you can show off your Dodo or hide it if you’re at work or Portuguese sailors happen to be nearby (sorry, we couldn’t resist!).
Dodos also make for spectacular additions to backpieces. A depiction of Mauritius, a shifty-looking sailor, and you’ve got the makings of something epic along with a chance to show off some spectacular color work if you’ve got the patience to get it done.
Placed at the hip or the ankle, the message is a bit more private, and this might be a better fit, depending on what you are trying to say and who you intend to share it with.
Just be sure to think long and hard on your design – you’ve really got a lot of options with Dodo tattoos and it would be a shame to rush it!
Characteristics and Styles of Dodo Tattoos
Dodos are most often depicted in either a photorealistic style or something fun and a bit ‘outside the box’, such as New School style. That’s not to say that you are limited to these, of course. For instance, a coder who programs in languages that are no longer viable might well get a Geometric style Dodo.
Watercolor is also a very good option, especially if you are going with a large scene. The results can be quite amazing, so compose your design and then start checking portfolios so that you can really do it right!
Some final words on Dodo tattoos
Today we’ve discussed the avian equivalent of the ‘Comedy and Tragedy’ masks – the Dodo bird. It’s kind of amazing, really, how these birds have never been forgotten and with a medium like skin art you can really create something special with as light or as deep a message as you like.
While the Dodo is gone, it’s nice to know at least that these amazing, funny, and friendly birds will always have a home and a special place in the world of skin art.