The traditionally recognized Celtic Cross tattoo is, when broken down into its basic elements, a standard crucifix shape with a circular element linking the arms. Legend has it that the circle represents the sun and was incorporated onto the familiar cross shape by St. Patrick as he converted the Irish peoples to the Christian faith.
Before the Christian era, Celtic cross tattoos were particularly common in the tribal cultures of Germany and the British Isles, appearing on coins and various other artefacts. One of the most striking uses of the cross design came in the form of a person who was riding a horse and holding a cross in one hand and a fern leaf in the other.
Although many individuals who choose to get a cross tattoo picture do so in celebration of the power that the image of the cross seems to have held throughout the history of man many people simply enjoy this design for its inherent aesthetic beauty.
The Celtic cross tattoo is an extremely popular example of a pre-Christian cross that offers individuals endless variations in styles and designs. It is comprised of a standard cross with a complex sample of Celtic knotwork body art inside.
It is interesting to note that the tradition of using the cross as a religious and cultural symbol predates the Christian religion by many years.
Precisely when the cross tattoo design began being used a cultural or religious icon remains lost to the ages, but the earliest example of such a symbol that we have discovered to date is the crosses that were inscribed in front of the caves of pagan cults during the earliest days of the stone age throughout Europe.
Although Celtic cross tattoos are particularly popular amongst people who have Irish ancestry, these beautiful tattoo pictures are a common design that is requested by individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Today, the Celtic cross can be used as a representation of cultural heritage or religious identity.
One of the oldest Celtic tattoo design is the Sun, worshiped as being the giver of all life.