Whether you want to invoke meaningful symbolism or don wicked geometrical lines with your body artwork, the valknut tattoo is an increasingly popular modern form of ink to select. It is aesthetically minimal and versatile, but it is also packed with substance.
The tattoo form that has its roots in Norse mythology is also known as Hrungnir’s heart, Knot of the Slain, Heart of the Slain, Heart of Vala, and the Borromean Triangle.
Found engraved in ancient stones, the valknut is assumed to signify the afterlife.
In some instances, it has come to represent the soul’s power and strength when battling with gods of death or other terribly adverse circumstances. Rebirth is another concept to which the valknut has ties given its imagery featuring nine points, intimating reincarnation. The three interlocking triangles universally convey continuity, order, and undying will.
The valknut comes in varying designs, with the open, non-axial form being the most popular. The triceps variation is traced to the Middle Ages, where it was printed on talismans said to possess magical ability. This symbol has resonated among cultures for centuries, and its compounding popularity is inspiring tattoo artists.
Popular locations include the bicep, shoulder, and upper back.
1. Simple & Minimalist Small Pieces
Some people do not require a large piece of ink in order to contain a giant symbolic meaning. The pieces in this section rely on the simplicity of the knotted triangles and need nothing more about of their piece.
Some apply straight line work, the swishing of pointed lines and the alignment of the three triangles bursting from a blank canvas. Others apply bolder, fatter lines, more of a forceful statement being made on a larger canvas such as a chest or forearm.
The tiniest of pieces on thumbs utilize negative space, acting as a statement that is made in the quiet of its size. Only the few who admire Norse Mythology will comprehend the meanings of the shapes immediately, but even those who don’t could comprehend a conviction that is far from casual.
2. Chest Pieces and Medium Size Valknut Tattoos
As previously mentioned, size does not always imply a deeper meaning. But the placement in conjunction with the size of a piece ink can sometimes signify more profound importance to the individual sporting the tattoo.
Many of these pieces execute themselves with similar styles as the minimalistic pieces—thin lines, bold lines, and precise dot work, but are placed on different parts of the body that act as an exemplary backdrop for the size of the pieces. These individuals place them in areas that are more likely to be noticed, such as the back of the neck, the entire side of one chest, the center of another chest, and even the inside of a palm. It is likely that these individuals want their pieces to be noticed, which means the Norse concept of the afterlife is something they rather share, then keep to themselves.
3. Blending of Images/Narrative Pieces
The narrative behind the valknut is intriguing and mystical on its own, but some people feel the need to blend varying kinds of images and tattoo styles that tell their own story with that of the valknut basic symbolism.
The pieces in this section do not rely on the simplicity of bold or thin line work, but the inclusion of more detailed geometric work, photorealism, splashes of colour that come with surrealism, and even further Norse imagery to expand upon the narrative that comes with the legends.
People who get the valknut will all have some basic grasp of the mythology, but it is clear that the individuals decorated in this section felt the need to include elements of their own story within the confines of the three distinctly knotted triangles.
4. Full Sleeve Valknut Tattoos and Larger Pieces
If you want to talk about detailed stories playing out on the skin, this section is going to take the cake as far as content goes. There appears to be such an intense connection and understand of the valknut and the Norse mythology behind the symbol that simple three-triangle piece will not due. All of these pieces tell a story in black ink that utilizes the profound art of geometric and tribal stylized tattoo art.
Some appear to tell the story of specific legends as if they would appear on a scroll, full of traditional shapes, images, mazes, and stunning designs that employ the use of negative space. Such masterpieces require a fair amount of planning, money, and time sitting, so you know these individuals worked hard to create a piece of art that they not only want to show off on their bodies but to the rest of the world.
Valknut Tattoo FAQs
What is the meaning of valknut?
The valknut is three interconnected triangles, whose name was coined by the Old Norse words valr, meaning ‘slain warriors’, and knut, meaning ‘knot’. The exact meaning behind the symbol is unknown but has had a number of explanations supposed by Norse Mythology scholars.
It is mainly believed to have been used by Germanic Pagans, as it appears on many objects during the 8th and 9th century, the time of their existence. It is also supposed to represent the power of Odin, who had the ability to ‘bind and unbind’ a person’s mind during battle.
Because the symbol often appears on burial gifts during these time periods, it is assumed that it is associated with death and the afterlife. It will depend on the person’s reason behind getting the tattoo will signify which explanation they relate to.
Did you enjoy these Valknut tattoos? Click on the links below for more amazing tattoo galleries focusing on Norse Mythology and characters.