Hourglass Tattoo – Symbolism and Origin
An hourglass tattoo is a bit older than most of the countries that existed today. The connection of the hourglass with life, death, permanence, the past, the future and with the passer-by has made it a popular tattoo choice for those conscious of the world’s fragility. The phrase “the sands of time” comes from the hourglass and it means that your time is predetermined and limited from the moment you are born. Time is precious, and once the sand goes through your hourglass there is no way to put it back in the top half.
Time is priceless
Hourglass Tattoo History
The hourglass was invented in Alexandria about 150 BC, which means the hourglass has existed for more than two millennia. Hourglasses were used as an element that could accurately and repeatedly measure time before the modern clock was invented. While primitive, it was perfect for smaller measurements or the synchronization of a group of people. There were a few alternatives, but they were all limited by their design. The sundials were large and time has been measured on the basis of the sun’s shadow, which means they only worked on clear days.
The hourglass tattoo is a symbol not of standing still, but of passing time
Water clocks could work independently of the sun, and they could be used to accurately measure minutes and seconds, but they were large and unwieldy, their measurements varied over time, depending on the season, they were of little use to a normal person because they could only be placed on rivers, and they did not work when the rivers were frozen. The hourglass, on the other hand, became opaque to the time of day or temperature. If she stood in one place, her sand would always fall at the same speed. She was easily portable. It was perfect for everyday life, and it continues to be used as a simple way of keeping time for kitchen recipes and traditional board games.
You can not hold time, do not turn back, do not multiply – an hourglass tattoo reminds you that every day
The most probable reason that the hourglass spread from Alexandria to other countries was its importance in nautical navigation. Marine hourglasses were the best way to measure time minutely at sea. Once you are in the middle of the ocean, the constant change in the height of the water and the angle of the sun can disorient sailors and cause them to lose their sense of time. Sailors could use hourglasses to measure their time from port to port.
Skull combined with an hourglass
Hourglass Tattoo Meaning
As the popularity of the hourglasses spread from Egypt to the northern countries, the strange representation of time became popular with artists and philosophers. It was the only symbol that could show both the past and the present at the same time. The sand flows around it, regardless of the elements around it – just as a person’s life runs at a steady pace, regardless of their good or bad deeds – so used, it was also a fear of instilling death in people. Pirates took them for their flags and they are still placed on some tombstones and coffins.
The hourglass was used at the beginning of the graphical user interfaces with computers. Instead of having the screen freeze while the computer is loading something, the developers replaced the cursor with an hourglass icon that was displayed instead. Later, the computers even had animated hourglasses where the sand moved from one side to the other. The hourglass was replaced by the spinning wheel we know and hate today.
Hourglasses are perhaps the poetic way to explain the time. They are more aesthetic than watches, and they show a rich and detailed history. An hourglass tattoo works well with quotes, and it has an infinite amount of varieties in the world to suit the individuality of each person.