Clappers are some of the most iconic tattoo designs out there, and we suspect you know why...not only were Traditional tattoos created for many people who had deep religious beliefs, but they almost always had a meaning attached to them. Of course, hands in prayer are pretty easy to decipher: it's someone praying! But what are they praying for?? And whose hands are they?
Many Clappers, or praying hands tattoos, are either religious icons, or a funny play on that idea (such as the Alex Zampirri piece above). These hands usually belong to the Virgin Mary or Jesus, and are often seen depicted with rays of light, crosses, doves, and other symbols of Christianity. Because sailors, and soldiers, began to get tattoos during times of war, these pieces mostly imbue feelings of hope and strength...which was especially important at that time. Far from home, and in another strange land filled with violence, Clappers were a reminder to the person wearing them that you can always turn to God in times of trouble.
Nowadays people getting hands in prayer aren't always religious...the design has become iconic and has lost some of its original religious fervor. However, it's also one of the most popular tattoos to get thanks to Traditional and Chicano artists often using it within their work.