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Hourglass Tattoo – the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

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The hourglass is one of the most popular tattoo motifs. It can be said that today these tattoos are engraved for visual reasons. And they look really beautiful! Nevertheless, we recommend that you take a look at this article because we tell you about the symbolism of this tattoo. In addition, we have collected the most beautiful hourglass tattoos for you. Because before you decide for such an hourglass tattoo, you should fully understand the meaning of each tattoo. Otherwise, you will have nothing more than a painted body.

Unique hourglass tattoo

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol


Historically, the hourglass was depicted in the 16th century as a symbol of transience. This timepiece also symbolized death and for this reason he was one of the most used vanitas symbols. The term “vanitas” means “vanity” and refers to a particular type of still life painting. Typical of vanitas are the motifs that symbolize a full, rich life. However, these motifs are combined with other symbols, which on the other hand symbolize death. It can be said that this provocative juxtaposition of death and life is typical of this Baroque age. Images with such vanitas symbols show that people actually have no power over life. And “it is all vain” (Kohelet, Ekklesiastes).

These are some of the reasons why the hourglass tattoo today is combined with other vanitas symbols. Below is a list of the most commonly used Vanitas emblems:

  • A young woman and a skull – in the Baroque, the young naked woman was a symbol of sensual pleasure. An image depicting these Vanitas symbols (hourglass, young woman, and skull) has the goal of taunting beauty and earthly life. Below we also show some ideas for such hourglass tattoos with skulls and young women, which also symbolize transience.
  • The sun and the crescent – they are also among the most engraved tattoo motifs, which are often combined with hourglasses. In this case, the sun stands as a symbol of life. On the other hand, the moon symbolizes the night and the death of the people.
  • “Memento mori” (“Be aware of mortality.”) – this expression is also a Vanitas symbol of transience.

Have we piqued your interest? If the idea for such a tattoo with Vanita’s motifs pleases very much, you could also take a look at our article on ” skull tattoo “. And here you will find some of the most beautiful “La Catrina Tattoos” with skulls.

It should also be noted that the hourglass tattoo could have other meanings. For example, there are some hourglass tattoos with red hearts and big roses. In this case, the tattoo symbolizes the eternal, immortal love that knows no bounds! Because only love is able to overcome death!

Let hourglass tattoos sting – enjoy this timelapse video

Idea for a watercolor tattoo with a blue hourglass

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hand with a hourglass tattoo

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Are you looking for ideas for tattoos for men? Below are 60 hourglass tattoos that the men might like

An abstract colorful hourglass tattoo

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol


Hourglass and a sad young woman with black tears

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo with a young woman and a skull – as mentioned above, such tattoo motifs are a symbol of transitoriness

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass tattoo for women

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Here is our favorite idea for a tattoo with an hourglass

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

In this case, the sun and the crescent symbolize life and death

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Another fabulous watercolor tattoo with a big blue hourglass

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Tiny watercolor tattoo for women

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Tattoo with a sandur and flying black raven

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Have you already decided on an hourglass tattoo? First, let’s just have some precise ideas of what it should look like … If your tattoo symbolizes immortal love, you might like this two-heart tattoo

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Big hourglass tattoo for women

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Some ideas for tattoos for men

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Tiny hourglass tattoo on the wrist

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Here’s a great idea for a big colorful hourglass tattoo for women

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Memento mori … A tattoo with an hourglass, a big rose and two skulls

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Below you will find some really great tattoos with different Vanitas symbols that symbolize the transience of everything earthly

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

“No one is so busy that he does not have the time to tell everyone how busy he is.” – R. Lembke

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

“It is not too little time we have, but it is too much time that we do not use.” – Seneca

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

Hourglass Tattoo - the meaning of this Vanitas symbol

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