The Grim Reaper, also known as Death (with a capital “D”), is a legendary figure. He (or she) is predominantly portrayed, in grim reaper tattoos as well as other forms of art, wearing a flowing black cloak and armed with a sharp scythe. Legend has it that he appears when one is nearing death to separate the human soul from the physical body using his sharp scythe. The Grim Reaper then chaperones the soul to its final destination (heaven or hell) and moves on to his next “appointment.” Although the Reaper is not a ghost, his is invisible and present at the moment of death. Whether the Grim Reaper is riding his legendary horse or simply raising his mighty scythe, grim reaper tattoos can range from small, graphic silhouettes to large, finely detailed works of art.
Small Grim Reaper Tattoos
Simple, less intricate grim reaper tattoos are usually designed on a smaller scale. Using minimal detailing, these designs are extremely versatile, enabling them to be placed almost anywhere on the body. Graphic silhouettes using black ink are a great idea for those seeking small and discreet grim reaper tattoos. However, comical or cartoon-like elements such as toilets, joker hats and pop-out eyeballs may appear to give smaller grim reaper tattoos more substance and character.
Large Grim Reaper Tattoos
Large-scale grim reaper tattoos can literally be works of art. With intricate details and fine-tuned shading, these designs are sometimes as haunting as the legend himself. Grim reaper tattoos of this size normally appear on arms, legs and backs to allow enough canvas space for the details to be clearly inked and for the Reaper to come to life. Foggy graveyards and other artistic scenery usually appear in grim reaper tattoos of this size.
Grim Reaper Tattoos With Color
Many grim reaper tattoos are created using only black ink and intricate shading to make various shades of grey; however, monotone tattoos are not for everyone. Here are a few ways to incorporate more vibrant colors into grim reaper tattoos:
RED: blood; color of robe; red roses
BLUE: color of robe; swirling clouds or smoke; blade of scythe
PURPLE: color of robe; swirling clouds or smoke
YELLOW: flames; fire in the Reaper’s eyes; sunset; moon
ORANGE: flames; fire in the Reaper’s eyes
GREEN: leaves of roses; color of robe
Grim Reaper Tattoos – Good, Bad or Neutral?
There are conflicting stories as to whether the Grim Reaper is good, bad, or neutral. Some stories suggest Death is saddened by human suffering and reaps the souls of those dying in order to relieve their pain. It is in tattoos of this nature that the Grim Reaper is portrayed with an earnest or saddened facial expression. Other tales suggest the Reaper has no feelings and simply does his job as he has been eternally damned to do, therefore, his face appears expressionless or neutral in tone. However, the most popular grim reaper tattoos are those of evil nature. These tattoos feature Reapers taking souls for pleasure as he reveals an evil smile, laughs or gloriously stands over his most recent victim.
Grim Reaper Tattoos – Symbolism of the Horse
Many grim reaper tattoos feature the Grim Reaper riding a pale (or sometimes black) horse. This reference is from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as mentioned in the Christian Bible. Each horseman is named after the power he represents. It is the fourth horseman, “Death,” that is described as carrying a scythe and riding a pale horse. Sometimes the Greek word “chloros” translates the horse’s color as “green” or “pale green” which could be a reference to the green skin color of the deathly ill or recently deceased. It is actually the third horseman, “Pestilence,” that rides a black horse; however many grim reaper tattoos feature the Reaper riding this horse possibly due to the traditional interpretation of the color black representing famine, decay and death.
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