TATTOO DESIGNS & SYMBOLS - ROOSTERS
Tattoo designs - R >> Roosters
Rooster Tattoo Designs - First to announce the dawn of a new day, the rooster is the universal symbol of the rising sun, and of renewal, resurrection and redemption. As the cockerel (or 'cock'), it is also a common representative of the male element. Virile, defender of the flock against intruders, ambitious, curious, self reliant and courageous, the cock may waver however when it comes to making a commitment. Vigilance and courage in declaring the truth have been attributed to the rooster in legends around the world.
One of the earliest appearances of the rooster was as Abraxas, a god with the head of a rooster and body of a serpent, which appeared in both Greek and Egyptian mythologies. It was not only a symbol of the sun but of darkness as well, a primal paradox combined in one entity. Amulets and charms with the Abraxas emblem were worn as protection.
A Christian story would have us believe that apparitions disappear at cock crow, a superstition referred to by Shakespeare in Hamlet in the lines, "The morning cock grew loud / and at the sound it (the ghost) shrank in haste away."
Religious metaphors abound concerning the rooster's clarion call dispelling evil spirits and warning the faithless. The 'weather cock' seen on many Christian church steeples became associated with vigilance, faith, and papal authority. The rooster was associated with Jesus' disciple, Peter. When Peter swore his fidelity, he was told that at the sound of the cock's crow (three times), he would have already betrayed his Lord. After the death of Christ, it was Peter, ironically, who became the head of the Church.
In the Far East, the rooster image was painted on doorways as protection. In Hindu symbology, the red rooster heralds wisdom, light and spiritual unfolding, while Japanese myth recounts a tale of the cockerel calling the sun-goddess from her cave, where her light was hidden from humans.
In Celtic myth, the rooster's resounding call warned the gods of danger, and as messenger of the underworld it lead the souls of the dead to the next world. In some ancient jurisdictions, eating the bird was forbidden, although in many of the old European and Celtic traditions, the rooster was offered as sacrifice during harvest rites, where the blood of the rooster returned to the earth.
The rooster is still the unofficial emblem of France, and its historic links go back to ancient Gaul. Through its close relationship with the mother goddess, it became an emblem of fertility and birth. Its further association with courage, vigilance, bravery in battle and lust for life, qualified the rooster as a worthy motif for the French Revolutionaries, and appeared on the flag of the first Republic in the late 1700s. The Latin word Gallus means both 'Gaul' and 'cockere', ensuring the rooster's adoption as a fitting emblem for the French. The Gallic cockerel appears on government seals, and was the symbol used by the French Resistance in WWII as a reminder of the resilience of the French people, bolstering their commitment to resist.
Kenyan legend describes a Great Red Rooster who lived in the clouds, causing lightning when it ruffled its wings, and thunder when it crowed. Before the advent of clocks, the rooster was kept in the royal court of ancient Korea as the 'royal timekeeper'. For the Babylonians the cockerel was a solar symbol and was placed on the altar prior to making offerings to the Sun God.
Some aspects of the rooster character have earned it infamy in folklore and literature. Boastful, arrogant, ambitious, and proudly crowing about its own status are less positive aspects of this impressive bird. But its red comb and wattles against white feathers have made it a favourite subject for artists. In China, these red features were symbols of autumn and sunset.
Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Rooster Inspiration Gallery
See also: Bird Tattoo Index
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Tattoo designs - R >> Roosters
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