50+ Memento Mori Tattoo Ideas To Live In A Moment

Memento Mori Tattoo
The Memento Mori tattoo represents a calm attitude towards one of the saddest things in the world. We'll reveal everything to better understand its philosophy.

Death is an unavoidable part of life, and we cannot cancel it. But despite understanding that fact, many people shy away from thinking about their mortality. While others embrace it as a reminder to live life to the fullest. One way in which individuals have chosen to confront the inevitability of death is through the art of tattooing. 

The popularity of the Memento Mori tattoo is explained due to its wise concept. These tattoos represent that part of your Stoic soul that appreciates every moment of your life. We prepared tons of curious information about the meanings behind Memento Mori tattoos, and their cultural influence. Also, you’ll get a lot of ink examples and our unique ideas for your perfect sketch.

🎁 Bonus:
Our catalog of 1000+ talented tattoo artists is an excellent option to select one of them to celebrate life with a unique, safe, and meaningful Memento Mori tattoo!

Memento Mori Tattoo And Symbolism Behind It

The first question to rise in your head may be: “What does “Memento Mori” even mean?”. At first sight, it may seem a bit horrifying, as it stands for “remember that you will die” in Latin. But the warmth of the meaning is much more pleasure than it sounds. This phrase was a historical beacon of the inevitability of death and the importance of living in the present moment. 

Memento Mori tattoos are more than just ink on the skin. They are symbols of the ephemeral nature of life, a reminder that our time on this earth is limited. They are etchings of mortality, a beautiful tribute to the fragility of existence.

Memento Mori Tattoo

The symbolism behind these tattoos is powerful and multi-faceted. Some of the most common images include:

💀 Skulls. A visual representation of death itself. They serve as a stark reminder that no one can escape the ultimate fate that awaits us all.

Hourglass. This is a reminder that time flies and every moment is precious, and you have to make the most of every second.

🌹 Roses. With their delicate petals and sharp thorns, they represent the beauty and pain of life. They show that even in the darkest of times, there is still beauty to be found.

🦋 Moths. They symbolize death and the afterlife, transformation, and rebirth in many cultures. They represent the journey from life to death, and the hope of a new beginning beyond the veil of mortality.

🕯 Candles. With their flickering flame, they are a symbol of life and death intertwined. It embodies the light that illuminates our existence, but also the inevitable darkness that will one day snuff it out.

🐍 Snakes. It is hard to deny the way snakes represent the cycle of life and death in the Memento Mori tattoo. They shed their skin and are reborn, just as we are supposed in the afterlife.

To get maximum inspiration, take a look at the most aesthetic rose tattoo designs!

Memento Mori In Culture

Memento Mori is a concept that has been deeply integrated into cultures throughout history. From literature to art, from religion to philosophy, the concept of Memento Mori has left an indelible mark on culture.

In literature, from the melancholic musings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the tales of Poe, the concept of Memento Mori has provided writers with a powerful tool to explore the existential nature of humanity.

In art, Memento Mori is a subject that has been portrayed for centuries. Artists have been using it as a way to explore the contrast between life and death. There are some unusual examples from the Middle Ages, like the Danse Macabre, but also some cool modern pieces, like Damien Hirst’s work.

memento mori tattoo

In philosophy, both Stoic and existentialist philosophers have found value in thinking about death. Big names like Jean-Paul Sartre and Friedrich Nietzsche have explored the idea of how life can seem kind of pointless when we know it’ll all end someday.

Did you know that Memento Mori has been a central theme in religion for thousands of years, too? For example, in Buddhism, the idea of impermanence is a reminder that everything is temporary, and that holding onto material things can cause suffering.

So, let’s find out how all the Memento Mori cultural habits have affected the way people tattoo themselves, nowadays. 

Memento Mori Tattoo Ideas

Classical Designs

Classical memento mori tattoo designs are hauntingly beautiful reminders of the fleeting nature of life. These timeless images serve as symbols of mortality, evoking a sense of introspection and reflection. From skulls and skeletons to hourglasses and moths, each design tells a story of life’s impermanence and the inevitability of death.

Memento Mori Memento Vivere Tattoos

Memento Mori Memento Vivere designs combine the traditional Memento Mori motifs with symbols of life and growth, creating a powerful message of balance and perspective.

Minimalist Tattoos

Minimalist Memento Mori tattoo designs may be small and simple, but they are powerful in their understated elegance. These tattoos often feature clean lines and basic shapes, allowing the symbolism to speak for itself without any redundant elements.

Colorful Ideas

Colorful Memento Mori tattoo designs are a striking and visually arresting way to celebrate life while acknowledging its transience. These designs often incorporate bright tones and bold patterns, comparing the dark symbolism of death with the vibrancy of life.

Best Memento Mori Tattoo Placements

Consider these placements as they are one of the best for enjoying your Memento Mori tattoo. They will serve as a good reminder to appreciate every day as they are always within eyeshot.

Arm & Forearm

The list of placements is opened by arm and forearm. Even though these are the most popular parts of your body to get inked, Memento Mori tattoo will give them a special charm anyway! 

Want to add some enigma to your ink? Explore the mystery of the moth – one of the greatest Memento Mori symbols! 

Chest & Stomach 

Chest is an awesome option for those who want to make a Memento Mori tattoo as treasurable as possible because in this way it is at the lowest distance to your heart. While the stomach is a big canvas for your ink, it is less aesthetic for your Memento Mori artwork.

Other Unique Ideas

Also, there are some unpopular places that can give you a fantastic look if approached properly. What is worth mentioning is that the legs are not so suitable for the philosophy of Memento Mori compared to the back, for example.

How To Come Up With A Remarkable Sketch

We understand that all those tattoos were designed for certain people, so you may don’t like them, don’t want to have the same, or just want something unique and personal. We’re ready to present some tips for developing your unrepeatable idea and some exclusive concepts we’ve never seen done!

💡 Idea #1. As Memento Mori has an attitude of stoicism, we can suggest you refer to some Stoic masterpieces. For example, Enchiridion of Epictetus is a great work to pay attention to, as it gives us an image of a ship about to break anchor. Don’t understand? No problem, let us explain the deep meaning behind it. 

Imagine you’re on a voyage and your ship is anchored. While you’re on shore, you might be tempted to pick up some shells to pass the time. But your attention should always be on the ship, waiting for the captain’s call to return on board. 

How to Come Up With a Remarkable Sketch

Similarly, in life, while it’s fine to enjoy the company of loved ones and pursue personal interests, we must always keep our focus on the bigger picture and be ready to let go of everything at a moment’s notice. And as we age, we should always stay close to the “ship” to be always ready and don’t have any regrets. 

🎁 Bonus:
You can take inspiration from literature, art, and religion too! For a better understanding, take a look at Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut.

💡 Idea #2. The skull is a classical symbol of the Memento Mori tattoo concept. But what if you don’t want to have that skull on your body forever, or find it a bit boring? And we have a solution here too! 

What about combining two different topics: the deep meaning of the Memento Mori tattoo and your inner child? You can design your exclusive sketch with a Dino skull (it is a fun twist to a usual skull) and a comet/meteor as a symbol of death in its not-in-your-control aspect.

memento mori tattoo

💡 Idea #3. Break the rules! Combine Memento Mori ideology with something personal, only you can relate to (what is kind of your life landmark). This will emphasize your individuality and fill your ink with deep and warm feelings and memories.

Final Thoughts

The fleeting nature of existence can often be forgotten in the chaos of our daily lives. But through the ink of Memento Mori tattoos, we are prompted to reflect on our mortality and cherish our moments. The symbols tattooed onto our skin serve as constant reminders to seize the day and follow our hearts. But even though it can be a heavy topic, it’s still essential to think about and find meaning in life while we can! 

And just as a painting is only as good as the artist who created it, so is a tattoo. Pick from our list of more than 1000 tattoo artists that are pros at designing exclusive and deep-meaning tattoos to ensure that your Memento Mori tattoo is not only visually stunning, but also safe and long-lasting.


💀 What Does Memento Mori Hand Tattoo Mean?

Memento Mori tattoos on the hand remind you that you are not able to avoid death and that nothing in this world is permanent, so it’s no sense to be afraid of it. These tattoos often represent the importance of living in the present, urging us to make the most of each moment and seize the day.

🌟 Is Memento Mori a Popular Tattoo?

Yes, Memento Mori tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. These tattoos are perfect to change the way you look at the world and your attitude to everything.

👹 Is Memento Mori Positive or Negative?

Memento Mori tattoos are seen as positive because they remind us to embrace life and cherish every moment. By acknowledging our mortality, we can prioritize what truly matters and make the most of our time on earth.

💰 How Much Does a Memento Mori Tattoo Cost?

Generally, smaller tattoos can range from $50-$200, while larger, more detailed tattoos can cost several hundred dollars or more. For better comprehension, you can use our tattoo price calculator, which considers the general factors to receive the approximate result.


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