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 hasn't changed much in a thousand years.
Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Aztecs used the skull as a symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth. In these cultures, death was not tainted with the same stigma as it is in the western world today, and the cycles of nature (including passage into the afterlife and even the underworld) were treated with the same respect as the respective gods who were supposed to control them . Real bones were also pierced through areas of skin and assembled to create jewelry. In this case, the larger the bone, the more skilled and respected the tribe member is.
Some original Aztec ceremonies and celebrations involving skulls and skeletal remains were eventually translated into a more modern festival in Mexico, known as Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead". The Day of the Dead is celebrated in most parts of Mexico and parts of Latin America. The symbolism of the skull still has a very visible link with these celebrations, with 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 - including skulls and skeletons - creating what is known as "memento mori". The term translates as "remember that you must die" not the brightest of feelings, but death was different then. Queen Victoria took up this idea and started the trend of commemorative jewelry which, rather than marking the inevitability of death, commemorated the memory of a deceased loved one.
During the Elizabethan period in Europe, rings fashioned in the shape of a skull or skull with a missing jaw, became a symbol of belonging to society. This same representation of the human skull is still used today as an insignia of certain biker gangs and in the same sense, signifies belonging to those groups that are considered in many ways distinct from ordinary society.
In more recent times, skulls have been seen with wings (symbolizing freedom in the sense of freeing the dead from their physical form into a freer spiritual form), with crossbones (signifying 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).
Emblems and graphics containing human bones and skulls continue to evolve and be recycled through art and fashion. Where these images will lead us into the future of fashion, only time will tell.
No self-respecting rock star, or future rock star, can be seen in public without at least a skull on him.
Who started the skull trend? Many in the rock world attribute it to Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, who has been wearing a skull ring for a long time.
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"Keith Richards has been wearing this ring since the early 1970s," says Gerard Marti, former EMI record producer, referring to the ring custom-made for Richards by London goldsmiths Courts and Hackett . "The skull and crossbones ring is Keith's trademark. Every rock musician wears a skull in one way or another. "
Of course the skull symbol predates the current fashion and the Stones. The skull is a must, it comes from the image of the pirate, the black flag. It is an image of a rebel, an outlaw, a person who lives his life according to different rules.
In the case of Keith Richards, it is difficult not to see this skull more as a flirt with death. Rumors of his debauchery are often exaggerated, but it is certain that he has cheated death on several occasions.
Assuming that most rockers like motorcycle gangs see themselves as modern-day freebooters, the skulls they wear are a kind of danger signal. Flags flying were a very effective deterrent in the days of the sailors. 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 this health-conscious age. Perhaps the skulls are appealing to our dark sides? Or maybe we find this image of the rocker too sexy to resist?
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