Slavic tattoos by Polish artists

With the growth of the interest by the Polish people themselves in learning more about our pre-Christian Slavic mythology and faith, we can also observe a growing trend in exploration of the Slavic themes in various forms of art.

In Poland that trend is persistent but remains quite subtle. It’s entering mostly the personal spaces but more and more often also the ‘commercial’ spheres. Take the success of ‘The Witcher’ franchise as an example, the game that is drawing so much from the rich Slavic folklore and mythology, or the ongoing short film project ‘Legendy Polskie’ with modern interpretations of Polish legends by Allegro (the biggest Polish online auction website) that featured the name of Perun and vivid Rodnovery symbolism in one of their most recent videos dedicated to Jaga (Baba Yaga – you can watch the video here, and don’t forget to turn on English subtitles).

What I want to show you today is connected to the personal spaces – more precisely the human bodies. It’s the revival of the almost-forgotten traditions meeting the modern ways of self-expression.

In the recent years many more of Polish tattoo artists are getting requests to create an artwork inspired by the Slavic faith or mythology. We can also see such fascinations across the other Slavic countries where popular Rodnovery symbols are being tattooed. In Poland what’s been popular recently is beautiful and unique portraits of the Slavic gods or demons – unique personal intepretations of their appearance by the tattoo artists.

Below you can see only some examples that recently caught my eye (the artists’ pages are sourced respectfully under each picture):

Slavic god Veles by artist Aleksandra Dobra

Slavic god Świętowit (Svetovid) by artist Aleksandra Dobra
Slavic gods Perun and Veles by artist Jagoda
Slavic goddess Marzanna (Morana) by artist Aleksandra Dobra
Slavic goddess Marzanna (Morana) by artist Falka Art Tattoo
Slavic goddess Marzanna by tattoo artist Monika Malewska
Slavic god Veles by artist Katarzyna Oskarbska
Slavic god Świętowit (Svetovid) by artist Łukasz Zglenicki / Cykada Tattoo Studio
Slavic god Trygław (Triglav) by Crystal Heart Tattoo
Slavic goddess Dziewanna with eyes of forest demon licho (likho) by artist Aleksandra Kotłowska
Ancient Slavic god statue by artist Martyna Cyniak

 

 

Lots of tattoos portray also the broadly understood rich Slavic mythology: the popular primeval spirits and demons known from the Polish (and the other Slavic) folklore:

Slavic demon południca (poludnitsa, midday lady) by artist Falka Art Tattoo
Slavic demon południca (poludnitsa, midday lady) by artist Åune
Demon południca (poludnitsa, midday lady) by artist Bartosz Suszko
Slavic forest spirit Leszy by tattoo artist Piotr Szencel
Slavic demon rusałka by artist Łukasz Zglenicki / Cykada Tattoo Studio
Slavic demon rusałka by artist Łukasz Zglenicki / Cykada Tattoo Studio
Slavic alder demon and korgorusz (cat helper of domovik) by artist Falka Art Tattoo

 

Another form of the artistic expression in tattoos are motifs drawing the inspiration from popular Rodnovery symbols, from the ‘generic’ Slavic embroidery style, from Glagolitic script, from Croatian tattoos (the only historically documented cases of tattooing among the Slavic people), and other similar cultural Slavic patterns. Those can be truly a fusion of various Slavic motifs:

Slavic tattoo by artist Piotr Szot
Slavic tattoo for a carpenter by artist Piotr Szot
Slavic tattoo with symbol of the god Perun, traditional Croatian tattoo motifs and words written in Glagolithic script by artist Piotr Szot
Tattoo with Slavic ornaments and symbols by artist Piotr Szot
Slavic ornament by tattoo artist Bartosz Suszko

 

There are also many tattoos inspired by the patterns from the Polish folklore, mainly from the famous art of wycinanki (papercuts) or from embroidery on the Polish folk costumes. Their symbolism is usually life, vitality, strenght, rebirth or luck, depending of course on the chosen pattern.

Those can be popular folk motifs in their original style. They can also get a modern stylistic ‘twist’ in accordance to the tattoo artist’s personal art style that you can see around the end of the article:

Łowicz-style wycinanka (papercut) tattooed by artist Mariusz Trubisz
Łowicz-style wycinanka (papercut) on tattoo made by artist Wiktor from Sigil Tattoo
Łowicz-style wycinanka (papercut) on tattoo made by artist Wiktor from Sigil Tattoo
Kurpie-style wycinanka (papercut) by artist Czarny Tulipan / Zakład Tatuatorski Syrena. This motif reprents the Tree of Life, with roosters symbolizing strenght, vitality and fertility.
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Czarny Tulipan / Zakład Tatuatorski Syrena. The storks hidden in the motif symbolize luck.
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Czarny Tulipan / Zakład Tatuatorski Syrena. The storks hidden in the motif symbolize luck.
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by Agnieszka Kulińska / Avalan Tattoo
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by Agnieszka Kulińska / Avalan Tattoo
Modern take on the symbol of parzenica (strenght and fertility symbols known from traditional embroidery of Polish highlanders) by artist Dżo Lama
A modernized take on Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Giena Todryk.
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Giena Todryk.
A modernized take on Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Giena Todryk.
Tattoo inspired by Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Giena Todryk.

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A modernized take on the traditional Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by artist Katarzyna Krutak

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A modernized take on the traditional Polish wycinanki (papercuts) by Kudu Tattoo

 

What do you think about this form of dedication to the Slavic folklore and mythology in the modern world?

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3 thoughts on “Slavic tattoos by Polish artists

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Gorgeous, gorgeous Slavic ink. I just had to reblog. A must see for anyone interested in pre-Christian Slavic mythology and/or tattoo artistry.

    Like

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