Reviewed & updated: December 22, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
If you are fascinated by dark elements in a tattoo design, then the traditional plague doctor tattoo is an ideal choice for your skin.
The bubonic plague which swept through Europe, Africa, and Asia was responsible for the death of millions of people.
Also known as the Black death the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the dark ages and was a crucial turning point in the economic development of the European counties. Now everyone could not hire medical practitioners for them, the town or the cities they lived in hired the plague doctor.
Mostly young doctors or volunteers, if we go through early literature the reviews on the plague doctors were mixed. To be more specific some of them did not help the cause which they wanted to serve and could hardly save any patients. Now, people, who are fascinated by the concept of darkness, horror, and death mostly get the plague doctor tattoos.
Simple Plague Doctor Tattoo
The simple plague doctor tattoo is mostly done with an elementary design. The size of the tattoo can vary from medium to large and totally depends on the tattooer. The ideal place to put the plague doctor tattoo design is the arm, back, legs, or chest. The concept of death and darkness is associated with this tattoo style.
In the simple plague doctor tattoos, you will find the doctor is wearing all precautionary measures like a coat, hat, and a mask. They used to tend the patients with the bubonic plague and also carried a cane with them so they didn’t have to touch them. This tattoo can be done for various reasons ranging from the reminder of the black plague epidemic to inking them for its unique deadly vibes.
Ear Plague Doctor Tattoo
One of the most unique designs and placements is the ear plague doctor tattoo. A lot of people who do not like piercing can definitely go for a tattoo in the ear. The color of the tattoo is totally decided by the owner of the tattoo and the meaning of death is reflected in the plague doctor’s design.
Now a beginner is advised not to get an ear tattoo because it can be quite more painful than other places. The plague doctor design can also be fused with lanterns, skulls, ravens, and many such ideas. But only an efficient artist can etch this design perfectly in this sensitive space.
Plague Doctor Mask Tattoo
One cannot go without noticing the unique kind of mask the plague doctors wore. The Italian doctors in Naples for the first time wore these beak-like masks and eventually it spread throughout Europe. Now, these tattoos are mostly done in traditional black ink and are placed on the forearm, wrist, bicep, and calves.
Herbs, dried flowers, and spices were stuffed in the long beaks which according to the doctors protected them from the airborne viruses. The bird mask with the long beaks is alone enough to scare anyone and is inked as a symbol of death. If you are a horror genre fan who likes gruesome cool tattoo ideas then this is the best plague doctor tattoo choice.
Linework Plague Doctor Tattoo
This traditional plague doctor tattoo follows the same theory as that of line art. With the minimal usage of shading and pigment, the linework plague doctor tattoos are created. The linework technique can be done with bold black ink or can be done with colors. Ranging from small to medium these tattoos extremely blossom well on the bicep, forearm, wrist, calves, thighs, and back.
With an eerie uniform and tall hats, these self-proclaimed physicians were not only responsible for taking care of patients of the black death but also kept a record of the death toll. For these reasons the plague doctor tattoo design is mostly associated with death and is done by people who romanticize the concept of death. The concept of linework plague doctors is both popular among men and women.
Gothic Plague Doctor Tattoo
Often in gothic folklore, we find mention of vampires, witches, werewolves, and several other dark elements of the world. Many gothic lovers are attracted to these deadly elements and in a similar fashion can get a gothic plague doctor tattoo.
Often these gothic tattoo ideas are fused with other ominous symbols like the skulls, ravens, crescent moon, and many more. They further heighten the idea of fear and death and the best place to put these tattoos are the forearm, wrist, back, and calves. They are done by many tattoo lovers who are most inclined toward mystery and goth motifs.
Realistic Plague Doctor Tattoo
The realistic style plague doctor tattoos are extremely popular among men and women. This tattoo style is hardly done in black and is mostly inked as a colored plague doctor tattoo. The bird-like mask and the unique dark costumes are mostly done in black and grey while vibrant colors are used to create a gloomy and smoky effect.
These downright grotesque traditional plague doctor tattoos look so grim and real when done following the realistic approach they seem to come out of the skin. Just like in realism an able artist is only capable of creating wonderful artwork, similarly only an efficient tattoo artist can replicate the concept of realism on the skin.
Monochrome Plague Doctor Tattoo
As the name suggests this plague doctor tattoo styles are done with a single color. For an efficient tattoo artist out of thousands of colors, one is enough to create the spooky feature related to this tattoo. From the monochromatic color scheme, the tattooer can choose their favorite color and the correct placement for this design is the neck, arm, leg, back, and ankle.
The monochromatic technique used to create these plague doctor tattoos gives a chill to the viewer just like the horror movies. Hired by the cities or towns during the time of the plague most of them did not have the qualifications or experience to treat patients which often resulted in their client’s death. For this reason, the plague doctor tattoo designs are often understood as a harbinger of bad news and a deathly vibe.
Upper Arm Plague Doctor Tattoo
One of the most popular and coolest places of choice for any tattoo design is the upper arm. This portion consists of the bicep and tricep areas and is a great place to get a tattoo work with great details. Tattooing on the upper arm shows confidence and strength in the tattooer as it is a place that does not go unnoticed. Traditional plague doctor tattoos, just the mask look tattoos or any other design can be done using black or other colors.
Long dark robes, pointy fingers, and bird masks with a long beak are the content of these tattoos and the concept it demonstrates is that of death. They are both popular among men and women who love dark elements of this world. Beginners are suggested to choose this portion for tattooing as it hurts less due to the presence of muscles and fats.
Female Plague Doctor Tattoo
The concept of the plague doctor came in the 17th century. With the 1619 plague outbreak in Paris, these doctors became the key caregiver of plague-affected patients. Now the field of doctors was mostly dominated by men but there were also some learned female doctors too. This particular plague doctor tattoo features the power of femininity.
In the 17th century, women were not deemed fit to do such professions and were treated as second-class citizens. As a costume with a mask was worn people were unable to clarify the sex of some doctors. This became an advantage for few women who wanted to practice this profession. Depending on the size of the tattoo they can be inked by women on the wrist, forearm, back, calves, and thighs.
Small Plague Doctor Tattoo
With a small hat, and costume this unique appearance is mostly based on the concept of minimalism. Done utilizing a small place with mostly black ink they perfectly blossom in the ankle, neck, wrist, forearm, and chest.
They mostly symbolize two concepts, one is that of death that is related to the plague doctor and the other is the concept of minimal tattoo art. They are both popular among men and women and are done by people who are selective about flashing their tattoo art.
As medicine started to improve and the profession of the doctor became methodical plague doctors were eventually deemed impractical but the idea was later adopted in creating cool tattoos.
Other designs which can be tried with this tattoo idea are:
- Abstract plague doctor tattoo.
- Knife plague doctor tattoo.
- Roman numeral plague doctor tattoo.
- Guitar-playing plague doctor tattoo.
- Candle and plague doctor tattoo.
feature image from Pinterest
What is a traditional plague doctor tattoo?
A traditional plague doctor tattoo is a design featuring a long-nosed, robed figure wearing a bird-like beak mask with glass eyes. It is traditionally associated with the medical profession and its fight against the Bubonic Plague; however, it can also have personal significance for those who choose to get it inked. The image has a long history and is often seen as a symbol of protection against illness, bad luck, and death. It can also be used to represent a person’s strength in the face of adversity. Some may get the tattoo to commemorate someone who has been lost to disease or to show respect for those battling it today. Additionally, some may choose the design for its unique aesthetic and to show that they are not afraid of the dark. No matter what motivates you to get the tattoo, it is a powerful reminder of courage in difficult times.
What does a traditional plague doctor tattoo look like?
A traditional plague doctor tattoo typically features a tall figure wearing a dark robe and a bird-like beak mask. The mask is usually white, but can also feature other colors. The eyes of the mask are often depicted as glass orbs or lenses, while the nose is long and pointed. Often times, there will be additional details added to the design such as stars, snakes, ora even wings.d Some may opt to add them initials or dates to the design in order to personalize it. The end result is an intricate and creative tattoo that honors the history of the medical profession and their efforts against the plague.
How much does a traditional plague doctor tattoo cost?
The cost of a traditional plague doctor tattoo can vary depending on the size, complexity and specific details of the design. Generally speaking, these types of tattoos tend to be more expensive than other designs due to the level of detail required. Tattoo prices range from around $50 for a small simple design up to several hundred or even thousands for large and complex designs. It is important to talk with your artist about the cost before getting inked, as there may be additional fees for things like custom art or special colors. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare prices from different artists before making a final decision.