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Tattoo designs - S >> Sunflowers

Sunflower tattoo design ideasSunflower Tattoos & Designs - Sunflowers seek the sun. During the course of the day, the large open face of the flower turns toward the sun as if in adoration of the sun god. In fact, the genus 'helianthus' is a reference to the Greek sun god, Helios. The big-petaled flower obviously symbolizes the sun itself, summoning up feelings of warmth and happiness. But that same characteristic of blindly following the sun, can serve to warn us to be cautious of infatuation and foolish passion.

In the world of art, the most famous sunflowers are, of course, those of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. While waiting for his friend Paul Gaugin to join him in Southern France, Van Gogh began decorating a guest space with sunflower images. His subsequent series of canvas depicting 'sunflowers in a vase' remains a favourite motif for decorators around the world. Because these still life masterpieces include fading flowers along with those in full bloom, Van Gogh's bouquets speak of the brevity of life. The sunflower remains an unofficial symbol of Provence, and of Van Gogh, himself.

Note—Van Gogh's sunflowers might not have been so famous had his productive life not coincided with the invention of a new pigment that provided him with his vibrant chrome yellows.

The sunflower is native to the Americas, the earliest evidence of their domestication having been found in Mexico, circa 2600 B.C. However much they may have been admired for their beauty, they were definitely propagated for food and for their oil. The Inca Empire held the sunflower as an object of sun worship. It's priests were said to have worn golden sunflower disks on their sacramental garments. The sunflower symbol has been found on temples in the Andes mountains. Various indigenous peoples in the Americas set bowls of sunflower seeds on the graves of their dead.

In the early 1500s, Spaniards brought evidence of this amazing flower back to Europe. Research suggests that it was met with awe, and that some reactionary elements within the Catholic church feared its association with pagan solar religion, and tried to stamp out its cultivation.

As big and brilliant as it is, the sunflower has no scent. But the petals are the source of a yellow dye, and of course the seeds are a favourite food and alternative fuel. Sunflower oil challenges olive oil for table use, and is an ingredient in soap, lubricants, and paint.

The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas, and one of Russia's national emblems. It's also a symbol of the Vegan Society, and of green (ecological) ideology. If your 3rd wedding anniversary is coming up, acknowledge the event with a sunflower.

Sunflower Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!The scientific explanation for the sunflower's sun-addiction is called 'heliotropism', a process first described by Leonardo da Vinci. It's a flexible segment just below the flower that responds by expanding and contracting in response to the blue portion of the sun's spectrum of light. At night, the sunflower may point anywhere, but come dawn, it falls in love with the sun, once again.

Get inspired by some really great images and photos in our Sunflower Inspiration Gallery

See also: Flower & Plant Tattoo Index, Flower Tattoos

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Tattoo designs - S >> Sunflowers

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