Hamsa tattoos are one of the most popular symbolic tattoos that both men and women get. If you’re interested in getting one, we aren’t surprised. But why is it popular among tattoo enthusiasts? Is it because it’s one of those hypnotizing and mesmerizing images you often see? Or is it because it has a deeper meaning that many relate to?
This article is a complete guide on hamsa tattoos and getting a tattoo in general. You can also find amazing images of hamsa tattoo designs that can inspire your next one.
What is a Hamsa Tattoo?
- What is a Hamsa Tattoo?
- Brief History of Tattoos
- Origin of Hamsa Tattoos
- Meaning of Hamsa Tattoos
- Types of Hamsa Tattoos
- Hamsa Tattoo Designs and Meanings
- Star and Hamsa
- Hamsa with Floral Patterns
- Hamsa Heart Tattoo
- Hamsa Tattoo Styles
- Tattoo Healing
- Aftercare Tips
- After the procedure:
- Extra Tips
You can immediately spot a Hamsa tattoo because it shaped like a palm with a lone eye in the middle. This is also known as the Khamsa or the Hand of Fatima. It’s a symmetric hand so there appears to be two thumbs on both sides.
However, there is another type of Hamsa tattoo that looks like a normal hand. But the symmetrical one is a lot more popular among tattoo enthusiasts.
The Hamsa is a common symbol for the Muslims. But it has crossed to other cultures and beliefs. The Indian people use and call it Humsa. Meanwhile, Jews call it Hamseh.
Hamsa tattoos are particularly symbolic. They represent many things and we’re going to talk about that in a minute. First, we’re going to pinpoint the origin of this symbol and why it has become a big thing today. We’re also talking about what it symbolizes.
Additionally, we’re also briefly tackling the history of tattooing.
Brief History of Tattoos
Tattoos have been around for a long time. It’s been etched deeply into different cultures and societies. Ancient civilizations saw tattoos as something magical with the designs they choose symbolizing protection and wards against evil and diseases.
Other cultures saw tattoos as a way to tell their story. It’s a part of their ritual into adulthood. Tattoos have also become a symbol of status for many tribes in Polynesian islands. The more tattoos you have, the higher your social status is. Warriors of the tribes also have tattoos that depict their many battles.
Each country and people have their own signature styles. For example, the Samoan people are best known for their tribal tattoos. The Maori have their face tattoos. Japanese people have a significant style of tattoo art, and so on.
Before World War II happened, people think of tattoos as merely a way to express themselves. But soon enough, it gained bad rep as prisoners and gang members were decorated with tattoos. It took a while for people to be more lenient with it again.
Fortunately, many are now more open-minded with tattoos. The art itself has also evolved greatly.
Origin of Hamsa Tattoos
The original Hamsa was believed to have come from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Therefore, it can be considered an ancient symbol.
During the Middle Ages, many people believed that an evil person can lay a curse on anyone by simply looking at them. They began calling this the Evil Eye. To ward off Evil Eye, people began inventing ways to repel the curse. This first began as hand gestures but later on became the Hamsa.
For some cultures and people, the Hamsa was a symbol of the hand of God. In fact, they call it exactly this.
However, the Muslims have their own version of the Hamsa’s origin.
According to their legend, during the ancient times, the daughter of Muhammad who was known as Fatima saw her husband, Ali, with another woman. She was deeply in shock and without realizing, she was stirring a boiling soup with her bare hand. But Fatima took no notice and didn’t feel any physical pain.
Ali then began taking care of Fatima and because of her love for him, he decided to give up on his concubine.
Meaning of Hamsa Tattoos
These origins have strong ties to a Hamsa tattoo’s meaning. For many, especially the Muslims, Hamsa tattoos are used as protection for the family especially against illnesses. They also consider this as a symbol of good luck.
Greeks and Romans also see the Hamsa as a sign of protection especially towards the Evil Eye.
In Hebrew and Arabic, Hamsa is the word for five. It could be a literal meaning to the five fingers of the hand. But it mostly symbolizes the Five senses of a person.
Many people also see this symbol as the representation of the all-seeing eye of God, especially since there’s an eye in the center of the palm. If you believe this, your Hamsa tattoo could indicate knowledge and supremacy. You could also see this as a symbol of interest in ancient histories and legends.
Others believe the eye is the symbol for the Eye of Horus. Horus is an Egyptian god of the sky with the head of a hawk. To further give emphasis to this detail, you can have the middle eye drawn as the actual symbol of the Eye of Horus. This means that you are always being watched and that you can’t escape the eye of your own conscience.
The Hamsa tattoo is normally considered a masculine symbol. But many women also get it.
Tattoos usually have different meanings based on what the wearer believes. But some symbols like the Hamsa has been etched deeply in our history that it hasn’t changed what it means to use.
Types of Hamsa Tattoos
Besides the difference between the two thumbs, Hamsa tattoo can be worn in different ways. The usual way is an upright hand but there are also many enthusiasts who have it designed upside down. There are also Hamsa tattoos that depict fingers apart. Apparently, how you have it depicted can also change how it means.
For example, an upside down Hamsa tattoo is said to bring the wearer success and good luck. It also brings them harmony and peace. Meanwhile, the upright Hamsa tattoo is for protection and bravery. If the tattoo depicts the fingers far apart, it also means protection from the Evil Eye. Fingers together means success and good luck.
You also have to note that some Hamsa tattoos don’t have the eye in the middle of the palm. It simply shows the asymmetrical hand. This type of design is believed to depict good luck.
But besides these depictions, the actual design of your tattoo can vary. You can change the details or you can add another subject that you feel will fit your personality most. The additional subject can also change the way your Hamsa tattoo means.
Hamsa Tattoo Designs and Meanings
You can create a more unique Hamsa tattoo design. But there are also the common types that include several details and images. You can take a look at these designs and have your own customized based on your taste.
If you find it hard to design your own tattoo, you can always call your tattoo artist. They can create a unique and customized design for you based on what you want. Search the internet for a possible reference so your artist have more idea with the style and design that you want to get.
That said, here are some of the most common Hamsa tattoo designs with their meanings.
Star and Hamsa
This kind of Hamsa tattoo normally depicts the traditional hand imagery and then a star in the center. In the middle of the star is the eye. It can be a small one around the eye or it can extend out of the hand. Normally, the star gives another meaning to your tattoo. For example, it can mean your relationship to God or it can also be protection against darkness.
Hamsa with Floral Patterns
Floral patterns are always a great way to enhance the aesthetic of your tattoo. You can add the flower in the center along with the eye. Or you can create a pattern on the fingers. Choose from different types of flowers. There are roses, peonies, daisies, a lotus flower, lily and sunflower. These are among the most popular flowers in the tattoo industry. The flower can be a symbol of beauty. But a specific type of flower can have a different meaning.
Hamsa Heart Tattoo
A Hamsa tattoo with a heart often symbolizes something about love or a loved on. It can mean you’re warding of heartbreaks or you’re protecting your heart. Your tattoo can also mean you’re trying to protect the people you love. Basically, the heart is in the center of the hand. You can also add various other symbols like roses or doves. These are other symbols of love.
Hamsa Tattoo Styles
The style in which your Hamsa tattoo is drawn can also affect its aesthetic. There are different tattoo styles and picking the one that you personally like will make you appreciate your tattoo more.
You can get Hamsa tattoos in different tattoo styles including:
A traditional Hamsa tattoo looks closer to the traditional Hamsa symbol. It is filled with tiny details and patterns, almost resembling a Mandala. It is normally drawn in black ink only but you can also add more colors if you want to. Again, you can either have it upside down or upright.
Tribal Hamsa tattoos look a lot like traditional ones. But they have thicker lines, swirling patterns, and tropical patterns. The style looks a lot like those tribal tattoos Polynesian people wear.
Minimalist tattoos use more negative space, crisp lines, less details, and sparse color palette to show a simple tattoo. While most minimalist tattoos are small, there are also regular-sized and larger minimalist tattoos. It basically depends on your choice. When it comes to Hamsa tattoos, it normally consist of the hand shape and the eye only. No other details, perhaps a few pastel colors here and there. But it’s not as festive as most Hamsa tattoo designs are. It’s best when it’s small and placed on the wrist or ankles.
Watercolor tattoos are a growing trend these days. Basically, it uses washed out colors, the same hue as you get with watercolors. Then it often has “drops” as if the watercolor was leaked into a paper. Overall, it has a relaxing vibe and a pleasant aesthetic. It’s generally considered a minimalist tattoo because of how simple these tattoos look. Adding a hint of this style with your Hamsa tattoo will definitely make it look even more stunning. This trend is more popular for women so the gentle colors will be great to make a normally masculine tattoo more delicate-looking and feminine.
The 3D tattoos are also more modern and the hardest to achieve. If you want to get a 3D tattoo, you should find a tattoo artist who’s an expert in this style. It will take a great deal of talent and knowledge on shadow and highlight placement to create the effect of a real object. You can either choose to create an optical illusion or have a hyper-realistic Hamsa tattoo design.
Realistic tattoos are a hit and miss. You need to ensure your tattoo artist is capable and has done realistic tattoos before. They aren’t as hard as 3D tattoos but they’re nearly there. Normally, realistic Hamsa tattoos only choose to make the eye a little more life-like. It can be a really stunning design and will definitely be a head-turner.
Pointillism is an art style that uses dots to create an image. It’s become a trend in the tattoo industry, especially among men. Since the Hamsa is considered a masculine symbol, combining it with this style is the perfect combination. It has that stunning and almost surreal look. There will be no lines in sight, only millions of tiny dots to create an image. You can combine this with other styles if your artist deem it too hard. Still, if you can find one who can do it, don’t let go of the chance. It can be a pretty unique design for an otherwise common tattoo. Then again, always choose a tattoo artist that knows his/her craft well.
Modern tattoos are a rather general category. However, most modern tattoos have a distinct style. They are low-key surreal, unique, and uses geometric lines and shapes to come up with interesting pieces. Even an ancient symbol like the Hamsa looks fresh in a modern style. There aren’t very many yet out there so this is your chance to be more creative and create a modern Hamsa tattoo design.
While choosing the design and the tattoo artist are two important jobs for you to do, you also have to take good care of your new tattoo, especially for the first few days and weeks. With proper aftercare, you can help your tattoo heal faster.
On the surface, your tattoo will quickly heal. You’ll see it scabbing as early as the first week. Then it will begin flaking around two to three weeks. By the end of three weeks, it’ll likely have flaked off completely and your tattoo will look healed on the surface. However, it will still look a little scaly and shiny.
And that is if it doesn’t get infected. Once it does, you can expect longer healing and ugly results.
But while the surface has healed, the skin underneath it takes much longer to heal. It may take two to four months before it completely heals. It may not hurt when you touch it, but it certainly will if you try to have a tattoo at the same area with less time for the skin underneath to heal.
To make your tattoo heal faster, you need to follow the proper aftercare routine. Your tattoo artist will give you some tips and it’s important you follow them. If you don’t, there’ll be a huge risk of infection that can ruin your tattoo and even your health. Even if you didn’t get an infection, some of your actions can affect the overall look of your tattoo once it does heal completely.
Without much further ado, here are some of the most important aftercare tips:
After the procedure:
After the procedure, your tattoo artist will either cover your tattoo with a bandage or a plastic food wrap. The purpose of this is to avoid getting dirt on your new tattoo and to keep the excess ink and blood from ruining your clothes.
Wait for at least two to three hours before you remove the bandage or the wrap. Ensure you’re in a clean place, preferably the bathroom as you have to clean it.
You can leave the bandage overnight if you wish, but ensure it is secure and comfortable. Do this when the procedure is done at night. There’s a huge chance your new tattoo will stick and stain your bed sheet. Additionally, your bedding might be dirty and there is a possible chance of infection.
Once you’ve removed the bandage, wash your tattoo with warm water and a mild soap. Gently clean your tattoo in circular motion. Rinse slowly until all soap is washed off. You can repeat the whole process until the ink, blood, and lymphatic fluid are removed.
Dab your skin with a clean paper cloth. You can also use a hair dryer on a “cool” setting.
- Always maintain a clean bedding throughout the healing process.
- Never rub your tattoo, even with a clean cloth.
- Always use clean hands when washing or handling your tattoo.
- Never pick the scab and let it fall off naturally.
- Moisturize your tattoo with a mild lotion to keep it from completely drying.
- Wear loose clothes over your tattoo and avoid friction.
- Never scratch your tattoo no matter how itchy it gets.
With all that said, you’re now ready to get your Hamsa tattoo!