Mermaids have always been cool. Sexy. Mysterious. Now they’re trendy.
If you’re in Bali, Indonesia, this might be completely in your face. Just as we predicted, the Bali phase of Mermaid Mania has come to fruition months after the rest of the world’s mermaid obsession, which is basically old news, right? Here in beautiful Bali, mermaiding is a real thing, and now there are mermaids all over Kuta’s nightlife flyers and there’s even a mermaid restaurant in Canggu, but here at TATTLAS we’re only mostly paying attention to the tattoo part of this tale.
IF ONLY Instagram would freaking let you filter for tags in a specific location or two tags at once, this album may have come out sooner (beeteedubs our IG @tattlas is only Bali tattoos). But we’ve been carefully collecting these photos like sea shells and there are finally enough recent mermaid tattoos from Bali to share them with you here.
Old School Mermaid Tattoos
Hey, Sailor! We know just where to send you if you’re looking for an Americana mermaid tattoo in Bali.
These Bali mermaid tattoos were made by three class act gents:
Traditional tattoo enthusiast and resident tattoo artist at Hundred Brothers Social Club – Legian, Bali
Known for his unique use of color between clean thick lines, with Luxury Ink Bali – Kuta, Bali
Old school talent at the name-says-it-all iconic tattoo shop Bold and Bright Tattoo Parlour on the shortcut road – Canggu, Bali
Classical Art Mermaid Tattoos
Before they were made into pin-up art in Hawaii (and Bali), these sirens of the sea symbolized danger and deceit. Historically, they are not trustworthy damsels. Mermaids can be muses. They’re also temptresses, some of them downright evil.
Straight out of a fairy tale, these mermaid designs remind us of old-fashioned illustrations from a storybook we could read again and again.
These tattoos were made by “Sod the Dog” at Duē Hatuē private studio in Canggu, who really stands out with this cohesive collection as Mermaid Mania kicks off in Bali.
More Mermaid Tattoos from Bali
Perhaps a different style will tempt you. We don’t actually like boxing artwork into categories, so call it what you wanna call it. Mermaids rule.
- Ali Bastardos, made at Flash Ink – Kuta
- Andre Tattooer, The Tattoo Room – Canggu
- Artem at Artful Ink – Seminyak
- Ladv at Be No Square – Kerobokan/Canggu
- Dwe’x Urusai – Canggu
- Chain Electric Tattoo, HBSC – Legian/Kuta
- Novacuztom_tattoo – Kuta
- Genyol at Big Rock Tattoo – Sanur
- Mariia at Minor Manor Collective – Canggu
- Ink Art Bali (Yogi Suryawan) of Rose Tattoo Bali – Kuta
- Rai Tattoo shared this from Ibu Tattoo Ubud
Where did all this craziness begin? Who’s responsible for making mermaids part of pop culture? Are there mermaids in Bali? To answer the last question: yes, obviously. In Indonesian, “Mermaid” is Putri Duyung and there are several myths about them. Nyi Blorong is the mermaid form of sea goddess Nyai Roro Kidul, AKA “Queen of the South Sea” in Javanese folklore. Surprise, just like the beautiful mythological mermaids of other oceans, she too is a heart-breaking soul-taker. And, even less surprising, people love to play dress up in Nyi Roro Kidul costumes. There’s also a Sundanese story about a putri (princess) who was cast into the sea by black magic after making some regrettable choices. Poor, poor Dewi Kadita.
Stories of Balinese mermaids are harder to find, but that may be because several Hindu deities have had a fish tail now and then and thus mermaid isn’t a permanent name for them. Balinese dragon-like sea serpents are called naga. Those ain’t mermaids. Although, Miss Roro does sometimes have a Medusa thing going on with snakes in her crown. Clearly we need to do more field work on the topic (help?). You’ll find beautiful handmade wood carvings of mermaids in Bali, and there are two guardian mermaid statues and one massive statue of an elephant with a mermaid tail at Pererenan Beach. Double-six beach in Legian has some mermaid statues too. Where are the tattoos of these? Please be inspired, people.
Left to Right:
1) An early illustration of mermaids sourced from Russia, 1866
2) Watercolor by Charles Santore for Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid
3) Line drawing of Ariel in Disney’s animated version of The Little Mermaid
4) Mermaid Lagoon in Disney’s animated Peter Pan movie
5) Balinese wood carving of mermaids (source unknown)
6) Painting of Indonesian folklore goddess Nyi Roro Kidul from this blog
7) More paintings of the Javanese mermaid (sorry no credits found)
8) Pererenan Beach, Bali mermaid statue
9) Statues at Pererenan Beach in Bali
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All of the mermaid tattoos published here were shared publicly by the artists and studios; the image rights belong to them. Collection curated by TATTLAS Bali Tattoo Guide. Last update: 2 JUNE 2018
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