Skulls appear in all styles of clothing, accessories and jewelry, they occupy a prominent place in printed graphics and modern tattoos. But what is really behind the representations of skulls, wings and skeletons that are an integral part of fashion?
Believe it or not, the wearing of bones and metal skull jewelry dates back to ancient history and the symbolism behind these representations has not changed much in a thousand years.
Man bead bracelet in lava stone and skull by Santa Muerte Paris
Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and the Aztecs used the skull as a symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth. In these cultures, death was not marred by the same stigma as in today's western world and the cycles of nature (including the passage into the afterlife and even into the underworld) were dealt with with the same respect as the respective gods supposed to control them. . Real bones were also pierced through regions of the skin and assembled to create jewelry. In this case, the larger the bone, the more skilful and respected the member of the tribe.
Some original Aztec ceremonies and celebrations involving skulls and skeletal remains were ultimately translated into a more modern celebration in Mexico, known as Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead". Day of the Dead is celebrated in most parts of Mexico and in parts of Latin America. The symbolism of skull still a very visible link with these celebrations, the shaped and painted marzipan candies called " calaveritas de azucare" playing an important role.
In the 15th century, people began to adorn themselves with everything that reminded them of their mortality - skulls and skeletons included - creating what is called "memento mori". The term translates to "remember you must die" not the brightest of feelings, but death was different then. Queen Victoria took up this idea and launched the trend of commemorative jewelry which, rather than marking the inevitability of death, commemorated the memory of a deceased loved one.
Leather bracelet and skulls by Santa Muerte Paris
During the Elizabethan period in Europe, rings fashioned in the shape of a skull or a skull with a missing jaw, became a symbol of belonging to society. This same representation of the human skull is still used today as a badge of some gangs motorcyclists and in the same sense, means belonging to these groups which are considered in many ways as distinct from ordinary society.
In more recent times, the skulls have been seen with wings (symbolizing freedom in the sense of liberating the dead from their physical form into a freer spiritual form), with crossed bones (meaning eternity, danger or poison), with butterflies (symbolizing the changing nature of life), with snakes (a representation of immortality or knowledge of the world to come) and with crosses (indicating the beginnings of humanity).
Catacomb man necklace by Santa Muerte Paris
Emblems and graphics containing bone and human skulls continue to evolve and recycle through art and fashion. Or these images will lead us into the future of fashion, only time will tell.
No self-respecting rock star, or a future rock star can be seen in public without at least a skull on him.
Who started the skull trend? In the rock world, many people attribute it to Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, who has been wearing a skull ring for a long time.
Ring skull by Santa Muerte Paris
"Keith has been wearing this ring since the early 1970s," says Gerard Marti, former EMI record producer, referring to the ring made to measure for Richards by London goldsmiths Courts and Hackett . " The skull ring is Keith's trademark. Every rock musician wears a skull in one way or another. "
In the case of Keith Richards, it's hard not to see this skull more like a flirtation with death. Rumors of his debauchery are often exaggerated, but it is certain that he has cheated death several times.
Rosary decorated with skulls by Santa Muerte Paris
Assuming that most rockers and biker gangs see themselves as modern day filibusters, the skulls they wear are a kind of danger signal. Floating flags were a very effective deterrent in the days of sailors. The pirates had such a bad reputation that many ships surrendered without battle when they spotted this flag.
To some extent, we all flirt with death, even in our health-conscious times. Maybe the skulls appeal to our dark sides? Or maybe we find this image of the rocker too sexy to resist?