Floral tattoos are considered a classic motif for skin art. There is a wealth of inspiration from the natural world, and narrowing down the best flower for a tattoo can be a challenge.
The grape hyacinth is a perennial flower that is associated with Greek mythology. Grape hyacinths have been appreciated for centuries for its beauty, scent, culinary uses, and medicinal properties.
With varying colors, the petals resemble a bunch of grapes, a quality reflected in the name. Grape hyacinths can make a wonderful floral tattoo piece.
What Do Grape Hyacinth Symbolize?
Grape hyacinths can have several different symbolic meanings. The scientific name is “muscari” which means musk in Ancient Greek. This is likely a reference to the distinctive scent of the flower. Grape hyacinths are deeply aromatic as well as beautiful. The scent is described as milldy sweet, with a hint of grape or grass.
The flowers resemble upturned bunches of grapes, hence the common name Grape Hyacinth. In ancient Greece, grape hyacinths were foraged to use the scented petals.
The petals were also pressed for oils that were used to make perfumes and dyes. The bulbs and root system were prized for medicinal properties.
In the tradition of the Ancient Greeks, the grape hyacinth is associated with sports, love, compassion, birth, and death.
Grape hyacinths in Mythology
The Grape hyacinth is associated with the Greek myth of Prince Hyakinthos. In the famous myth, the prince was favored by both Apollo and Zephyrus, who competed for his affection.
In a fit of jealousy, Zephyrus directed the west wind to knock a discus off course, which struck and killed Prince Hyakinthos. It is said that the flowers of the grape hyacinth sprouted from the blood shed by Prince Hyakinthos.
Grape hyacinths in Religion
In Christianity, the grape hyacinth symbolizes wisdom and peace. Ancient Hebrews used the flowers to decorate for weddings and other celebrations.
Grape hyacinths are also prominent ingredients in pagan rituals, and are said to have magical properties such as protection from nightmares and negative energy, promoting peace of mind and calm dreams.
Grape hyacinths in History
The grape hyacinth has been farmed commercially since the 1500s, however the archeological record has evidence of cultivation as far back as 50,000 years ago.
The grape hyacinth is appreciated for its culinary and medicinal qualities. The flavor of the bulb is bitter, similar to chives or green onions. The blossoms and buds can be pickled.
Significant amounts of vitamins A and C, and antioxidants are found in grape hyacinth blossoms, making them especially beneficial to hair and skin. Grape hyacinths are antimicrobial and antifungal, and are often found as an ingredient in modern skin care.
What can a Grape Hyacinth tattoo mean?
Like many tattoos, a grape hyacinth tattoo can have a variety of meanings. The meaning of a tattoo is highly specific to individual artists and clients. However a grape hyacinth tattoo has a spectrum of interpretations that depend on color and context. Some of the most common meanings include:
- Sport activities, recreation, playful fun
What color is a grape hyacinth tattoo?
Grape hyacinths have a variety of hues. The most common colors for grape hyacinths are white, blue, yellow, and purple. When it comes to tattoos, clients are rarely restricted to using only colors that appear in nature. Some colors have specific meanings.
White grape hyacinth
White grape hyacinths represent purity, simplicity, love and tenderness. In some religious faiths, a gift of white grape hyacinths can mean an individual is offering daily prayer or wishes for someone.
Blue grape hyacinth
The blue grape hyacinth is a symbol of sincerity, responsibility and confidence.
Blue grape hyacinths are used in a beautiful display at the Keukenho Gardens in Holland. The bulbs there have been densely planted and resemble a “blue river” when blooming.
Yellow grape hyacinth
In French culture, yellow grape hyacinth can be an expression of jealousy or a feeling of unrequited love.
Although yellow is a bright and cheery color, yellow often represents negative sentiments in the Victorian language of flowers.
Purple grape hyacinth
Purple Hyacinths can vary in meaning. A soft, mauve purple is a symbol of mourning, grief and sorrow, whereas a brighter purple signifies royalty, spirituality, and forgiveness.
What is the best placement for a Grape Hyacinth tattoo?
Grape hyacinths are small flowers, generally between 6 and 12 inches. The small size means that a grape hyacinth tattoo can be placed mostly anywhere on the body, or to use as filler in bigger, more ambitious tattoos.
The long, lean profile of the flower looks great on body parts that have some vertical height. Some popular locations can also include:
- Lower forearm
- Upper arm
- Hip and thigh
Characteristics of Grape Hyacinth tattoos
Grape Hyacinth flowers have distinctive features that should be included in a tattoo design for botanical accuracy. These features include:
- Clustered flower blooms that resemble a bunch of grapes
- Bell-shaped flowers
- A tiny, thin white band on rim of of each hyacinth floret
- Long, linear green leaves
Styles of Grape Hyacinth Tattoos
Grape hyacinths, like most flowers, can be interpreted in a variety of artistic styles. They are small flowers, generally no larger than 12 inches, which makes them an ideal subject for delicate, fine line tattoos. Minimalist and realism style tattoos are also a good fit. Other tattoo styles for clients to consider include:
A grape hyacinth is a beautiful springtime flower that has strong ties to Ancient Greece, and is associated with positive sentiments, such as athleticism, constancy, beauty, peace and joy.