The Hand that Bites: Snake Handshake Tattoos

By Robert Davies - 
The Hand that Bites: Snake Handshake Tattoos

These snake handshake tattoos are a treacherous spin on a time-honored maritime motif.

The image of shaking hands has been a staple design in the world traditional tattoos ever since sailors started getting it during the late 19th century. Though this iconic motif has been around for a long time, it has taken on new features and meanings over the years. Some tattooists have even stripped it of its original connotations of friendship and peace, replacing them with the opposite — treachery and betrayal — by swapping out one of the hands for the head of a snake.

These snake handshake tattoos are a treacherous spin on a time-honored maritime motif.

Snake handshake tattoos embody one of the most important lessons that we all eventually learn in life: trusting others can have dire consequences. While the theme of the original shaking hands design represents some of our better qualities, like loyalty, honor, and trustworthiness, snake handshakes are evocative our most nefarious impulses — lying, cheating, stealing, and back-stabbing. 

The image of shaking hands has been a staple design in the world traditional tattoos ever since sailors started getting it during the late 19th century. Though this iconic motif has been around for a long time, it has taken on new features and meanings over the years. Some tattooists have even stripped it of its original connotations of friendship and peace, replacing them with the opposite — treachery and betrayal — by swapping out one of the hands for the head of a snake.

While a handshake tattoo can be read as an advertisement saying, "I'm trusting; take advantage of me," snake handshakes tell a very different story, conveying that their wearers are weary of strangers. Having one of these pieces on your body acts as a warning to anyone out to pull the wool over your eyes. It suggests that you're wise to their nasty plots and won't ever be an easy victim.  

Snake handshake tattoos embody one of the most important lessons that we all eventually learn in life: trusting others can have dire consequences. While the theme of the original shaking hands design represents some of our better qualities, like loyalty, honor, and trustworthiness, snake handshakes are evocative our most nefarious impulses — lying, cheating, stealing, and back-stabbing. 

To see more sink your fangs into more traditional body art, make sure to stop by these artists' Instagrams. Should you want a piece that shows you don't trust anyone, no matter how firm their grip is, get a snake handshake tattoo of your own.

While a handshake tattoo can be read as an advertisement saying, "I'm trusting; take advantage of me," snake handshakes tell a very different story, conveying that their wearers are weary of strangers. Having one of these pieces on your body acts as a warning to anyone out to pull the wool over your eyes. It suggests that you're wise to their nasty plots and won't ever be an easy victim.  

To see more sink your fangs into more traditional body art, make sure to stop by these artists' Instagrams. Should you want a piece that shows you don't trust anyone, no matter how firm their grip is, get a snake handshake tattoo of your own.

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