There are been a big demand in recent years for cultural tattoos as more and more people choose to pay homage to their ancestral roots with their choice of body art, particularly those second or third generation family members who have been born elsewhere. From the late sixties onwards there was an influx in immigration from Africa, the Caribbean and South or Central America into the USA, and as a result much of today’s multi-cultural society is still heavily influenced by this. The people of Puerto Rico are a prime example of this wonderful cultural and racial mix so let us take a look at some ideas for Puerto Rican tattoos.
One of the most popular images requested, for use on its own or in conjunction with other similar themed images, is of course the national flag. The Puerto Rican flag is made up of five alternate red and white stripes with a single white five-pointed start on the left side, resting into a blue triangle. The symbolism behind this is fascinating on its own and when transformed into body art to use for Puerto Rican tattoos, it could adequately express the passion of a very patriotic individual. The white star on the flag represents the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico while the three sides of the equilateral triangle combined represent the three branches of the Republican government. These are the executive, legislative and judicial branches while the triple red stripes are deemed to symbolize strips symbolize the blood of the people that feeds those parts of the government. The rights of man and the freedom of the individual are signified by the two remaining stripes and serve as a perpetual reminder of the need for vigilance, in order to preserve a democratic government. The close ties between Cuba and Puerto Rico during the 1800’s are still honored with the commonwealth flag which has been used since 1895 when the Puerto Rican people rallied to support their independence from Spain.
Music also plays a big part in the Puerto Rican culture so you may want to incorporate an element of Salsa into your Puerto Rican tattoos whether you opt for images of traditional salsa dancers against the backdrop of the national flag or use one of the many musical instruments associated with this country. From maracas to bongos and timbales to cow bells, not to mention the many differing kinds of guitars that play a big part in this internationally renowned music, there are a great many images to choose from. The Taino, as Puerto Rican natives are referred, created at least four different instruments that they had from the traditional six-string Spanish classical guitar. These include the requinto, the bordonua, the cuatro and the triple, each of which produces its own unique tone and pitch. The most popular of these is the cuatro, a guitar-like instrument with 10 strings, arranged in five different pairs. As well as the many guitars you would expect to feature here, you may even want to consider using the image of a güiros, an instrument unique to this country. This is a notched hollowed-out gourd, which was adapted from pre-Columbian days so why not combine your ancestral history with your love of music for a really individual cultural themed tattoo.