The solid black armband is a popular type of tattoo for many people. It can be done as a temporary tattoo or as a permanent tattoo. Many people like it as a first tattoo because it’s simple and draws the eye, but it’s worth exploring what it really means and symbolizes.
What Does It Mean?
The black armband may be familiar in certain sports. When players on your favorite team wear black cloth armbands, or black tape armbands, it means that they are wearing it as a sign of respect for someone close to the club who has passed away. It may be a retired player, an administrator, a volunteer, or even a valued club member.
In most cases, the black armband tattoo is no different. It symbolizes the loss of a loved family member or friend. Black is often associated with death, and the black armband, in all its eye catching simplicity, symbolizes this loss. In this context, it indicates mourning, respect, and the preservation of memory.
In fact, the wearing of black cloth around the upper arm originated in Victorian England. Given the Victorian penchant for elaborate funeral processions and thoughts of death and human mortality, it seems fitting that the solid black cloth should be a sobering reminder of a loved one.
Those who wish to remember a loved one may opt for a solid black band that is a permanent tattoo. Of course, many people will also opt for a temporary black armband tattoo to wear for a funeral or other event that allows people to come together to remember the life of a deceased loved one.
The Simplicity of Solid Black
The solid black armband tattoo is effective because it is eye-catching and simple. The color black has long had an association with death. In its finality, black absorbs all things and represents the final passing of a person from life into death and beyond. It looks powerful and draws the eye. Those who see it understand implicitly that it has profound meaning.
Typically the black armband is placed near the shoulder, but it can also be worn on the wrist or even the ankle. If you’re memorializing the death of a family member or friend, having a permanent wrist band or ankle band is a great way to express this.
What Else Does It Mean?
Although the traditional solid black armband is mostly connected with the idea of death and remembrance these days, it actually has some other meanings too.
Cultural and Spiritual
Black has long been used across human cultures for thousands of years in tattooing, and tribal designs often feature geometric shapes and lines. Many Polynesian tribal cultures, for example, believe in duality. That is, they believe that every aspect of life has an opposite, such as good and evil, and life and death.
In this example, some societies from this area of the world have practiced traditional tattooing and used solid black lines and clear areas to represent the duality of life and their spiritual belief system. More broadly, the solid black band forms the foundation of many types of traditional tribal tattoos.
Coverage for Old Tattoos
In a more practical sense, the solid black band is sometimes used to help cover up scars or older tattoos that no longer have meaning. In practical terms, the solid black band is ideal for covering up older tattoo designs and can form the basis for a full arm sleeve or tribal designs.
A Sign of Strength
Though we usually associate the black armband with death, things don’t have to be so grim. In fact, when one or two solid bands of black are placed around the bicep of a man, it can symbolize his strength and courage. By highlighting the bicep muscle, the solid black band also highlights physical strength too.
It’s also worth noting that some women also opt for this style of tattoo as well. By highlighting their own musculature, they also express their strength and courage. In this context, for both men and women, the black armband is an expression of physicality. Those who are into health and fitness may be interested in this aspect of the black armband tattoo.
The Tribal Tattoo Style
The tribal tattoo style has a very long tradition across many ancient human cultures worldwide. Variously expressing magical powers, a link to ancestors or local cosmology, battle prowess, achievements, or protection from evil, many tribal tattoos use simple geometric shapes as their basis.
In this context, the solid black arm band is one of the foundational aspects of many such tribal tattoos. The basic solid black band may double up or be decorated with additional meaningful motifs, such as geometric designs and patterns in the style of a specific culture.
As to whether you should get a tribal style tattoo or not often depends on your aesthetic vision or your cultural associations. For many people, tattoos from specific cultures have deep personal meaning. In such cases, they may indicate ties to that country or culture. In yet others, it may indicate spiritual ties.
Having said that, many people simply opt for tribal tattoos, including armbands, because they enjoy the simple and eye-catching look. Celtic armband tattoos, for example, have proven to be very popular with many people simply because they are a great first tattoo and have an arresting look to them.
Should You Get a Black Armband Tattoo?
The black armband is primarily used to remember the passing of a loved one or important person. It is a mark of respect and symbolizes one’s commitment to the deceased person in the form of a black band.
For many people, this primary meaning is the most important one and is what solid black armbands mean, whether they come in the form of cloth, tape, or a tattoo. If you want to remember someone in your family or another loved one, a black armband tattoo is a great idea. A permanent tattoo shows a dedication and commitment to their memory.
On the other hand, many people opt to have a temporary black armband tattoo. This may be for an important occasion, such as a wake or a funeral. This is perfectly fine too, and the temporary tattoo may even become a permanent one if the individual finds meaning in it.
The black armband tattoo can also mean strength and courage. When placed around the bicep, it has an association with strength, as it emphasizes musculature. Both men and women can wear this style of armband, and indeed many people who are into health and fitness find it to be meaningful in this context. In fact, double black armbands are not unusual in this design.
The wearing of black cloth around the upper arm dates back to Victorian England, where it was used to show respect for the passing of a family member or another loved one. In this context, the black armband tattoo is simply a modern interpretation of this tradition and has proven to be popular.
The solid black ink wrapped around the arm is also part of the foundational design of many tribal tattoos. This cuts across many human cultures. In this context, it can also form part of the design of Celtic tattoos and many other types.