While tattoos can offer a vitality and beautifully styled design to any person’s body, better yet, they can encompass beliefs, inspire the wearer of the tattoo alongside others, and bring a wholesomeness to life depending on what the tattoo represents.
To understand if a Zia sun symbol is right for you when thinking about a tattoo design, you can learn more about what it stands for and how it came about right here.
History of Zia Pueblo
To appreciate just how significant the Zia sun symbol is, you first need to understand who the Zia people are.
Antonio de Espejo, a Spanish explorer, first encountered the Zia in 1583. He observed that it was the largest pueblo (village) that he had come across.
However, the Zia people are thought to have originated and remained continuously at their current site in New Mexico, US, as far back as the 13th century.
In recognition of its unique culture and longstanding history of over 600 years, Zia Pueblo has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, making it worthy of preservation and world-renowned.
Origin of the Zia Sun Symbol
The Zia people are well known for their pottery and the use of the sun in their designs. It was, after all, regarded as a sacred solar symbol.
Sacred in all aspects, the round of the sun was the perfect depiction for the basis for all life, but with that came the rays. Another sacred element, the number four, is imperative to the Zia sun tattoo.
Four arms within four rays off of the sun symbolize all that is required for the circle of life.
Mother Earth and Father Sun
It is thought that the Zia people believed that Mother Earth and Father Sun brought about the gift of life.
Together they make Zia’s lives possible, providing food to eat, quality clay for the pottery to cook it in, and sun-dried bricks for their homes.
Continually portrayed as a circle with rays pointing in four directions only, the Zia sun symbol was etched and painted upon ceremonial vases and often drawn on the ground around campfires for worship.
Love and Controversy Combined
The Zia Sun takes pride of place at the center of the New Mexico flag and has done so since 1930, although the Zia people do not believe that it was used with respect or their permission making the flag somewhat controversial amongst them.
Familiar with the Zia Sun symbol found at Zia Pueblo on a 19th-century pot, archaeologist Harry Mera, also of New Mexico, US, designed the current state flag, winning the contest with his choice.
Despite the controversy, the New Mexico Flag was voted number one favorite in a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association thanks to its beautiful shiraz red color on a backdrop of gold and its wondrous symbolic representations.
What does a Zia Sun Tattoo represent?
Perhaps four is your lucky number, or you appreciate both the wonder and unattainable reach of magnificent celestial bodies.
As striking as the design itself, there are many representations covered by the Zia sun tattoo.
From four sacred obligations alongside four other representations – fascinatingly covering four elements each, there is much to understand about this captivating symbol.
According to Zia belief, there are four sacred obligations one must develop:
- Clear mind
- Strong body
- Pure spirit
- Devotion to the welfare of others
The basis for a decent and worthy life, any of these obligations would be a fine choice to live by, and likewise to don artistically upon your body.
The four points of the compass are represented by the Zia sun; North, South, East, and West.
Not only does this capture the movement of the sun as you travel, but it also depicts an element of the chosen direction in which you travel.
This could be viewed as a physical direction or a psychological direction.
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter; Everyone has a favorite season. But together come the rough with the smooth.
A summer’s drought made good with an abundance of rain come autumn. A dark winter’s day followed by the warmth and power of spring sunshine.
Without all four seasons, there is no year to speak of.
Much like a sundial in your garden, the Zia sun represents the four periods of each day, making your day a whole: Morning, Noon, Evening, and Night.
If you’re a great believer in nothing ruining your day, and you want the ability to make the other 3 portions of your day enriched to move on. Then a Zia sun tattoo could be for you.
Childhood, Youth, Middle Years, and Old Age; each season of life brings with it new lessons, new mistakes, and new opportunities.
Embrace your life for what it was, what it is, and what it can be.
You wouldn’t be you without having passed through the seasons of life, just as positive change can’t come without accounting for something you’d rather not have had in the first place.
Without the sun, there would be nothing.
For centuries right to this very day, midwives or mothers still venture outdoors during the very first sunrise of their newborn babies’ lives, giving the nod to the sun for the gift of life.
Designing Your Zia Sun Tattoo
Whilst the Zia Sun is traditionally simple, the beauty of tattoos is that you can choose to adorn yourself with what you please.
Elaborate designs using the Zia sun as a basis for your tattoo can work. Think flowing lines rather than straight, a rainbow of color rather than the traditional red.
Perhaps choosing a muted Zia sun tattoo is for you: understated and in one solid color representing control and a simplistic view.
However, creativity never needs to be pushed to one side when it comes to tattoo design.