Battle Royale Tattoos: the dualistic to beat them all

First and foremost, the Battle Royale is a mixture of styles. A historical tattoo, it came about at the turn of the twentieth century as a result of the meeting of the Western and Oriental tattoo traditions.

It usually shows valorous animals (like eagles, snakes, dragons, tigers, panthers, etc.) locked in a sort of mortal combat from which only one of them will emerge victorious.

David Bruehl, RedLetter1, Tampa, USA
David Bruehl, RedLetter1, Tampa, USA

The most frequent version even today is that which depicts only two animals. More often than not these are an eagle and a snake intertwined in order to symbolise absolute dualism.

A dualism which could also be seen as good against evil, the sacred against the profane, or earthly events explained through metaphysics. In the Orient, all of this could be synthesised in the concept of yin and yang or the balance between opposites which is the foundation of every house whether earthly or otherwise.

Paul Dobleman, Black Heart Tattoo, San Francisco, USA
Paul Dobleman, Black Heart Tattoo, San Francisco, USA

A tattoo of a Battle Royale is a complex operation since in order to do it justice, it almost always needs to be done on a large scale (chest, back, a muscular thigh) with the harmony of the subjects an essential requirement, both the eagle and the snake being equidistant from the centre of the composition.

Justin Weatherholtz, Kings Avenue Tattoo, New York, USA
Justin Weatherholtz, Kings Avenue Tattoo, New York, USA

In the course of the 1990s and the beginning of the third millennium, the fundamental elements of Battle Royale – here seen in the context of exploration of the space and personal survival – shifted to the field of videogames (or eSport as they are called nowadays) as well as sports entertainment.

Peter Lagergren, Malmö Classic Tattooing, Malmö, Sweden
Peter Lagergren, Malmö Classic Tattooing, Malmö, Sweden

The most famous electronic games which feature this fight to the death are: “Fortnite Battle Royale”, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”, “Apex Legends” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”. The ojective is exactly the same: to reach the final destination, usually presented on a map, after surviving face to face combat against dozens or hundreds of opponents.

In wrestling in the United States, a Battle Royal match is an event where four or more fighters take each other on in a n elimination contest.

Peter Lagergren, Malmö Classic Tattooing, Malmö, Sweden
Peter Lagergren, Malmö Classic Tattooing, Malmö, Sweden

Elimination, for the big names in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), takes place at the moment when the adversary is thrown out of the ring, even through the ropes. The overall winner, in the case of these sporting and entertainment battles, is awarded a title to enter a fight for a certain belt or other cash prizes.

Henning Jorgensen, Royal Tattoo, Helsingor, Denmark
Henning Jorgensen, Royal Tattoo, Helsingor, Denmark

The name of the match comes from the classic Traditional tattoo which first appeared at the turn of the twentieth century but also from the novel of the same name (Battle Royale) by the Japanese author Koushun Takami which tells the story of a junior high school students who are forced to fight each other to the death. The first pages of the novel explain the basic rules of the battle but without any mention of tattoo art.

Valerie Vargas, Modern Classic Tattoo, London, UK Greggletron, Atlas Tattoo, Portland, USA Matt Jordan, Shape Ship Tattoo, Auckland, New Zealand

The post Battle Royale Tattoos: the dualistic to beat them all appeared first on Tattoo Life.

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