If I don't figure this oue soon I won't be able to see it anyway
September 14, 2011 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Idea(s) for a tattoo: Stories, myths, folklore, symbols/icons, quotes, lyrics, that deal with blindness or feature blind characters. In the case of a quote, it doesn't necessarily have to be by an actual blind person.

Ok, so I've got an eye condition that will eventually render me almost completely blind (Retinitis pigmentosa, for anyone interested), and I'd like to somehow incorporate that fact into my next tattoo. I just don't know exactly how. I'm open to any ideas really, from something extremely simple to really elaborate.

My first idea was to find something in Japanese folklore related to the blind that I could use to design a traditional irezumi style half-sleeve, but the farthest I got was the Wikipedia article about the Tōdōza and Zatoichi, so if anyone could provide some more info in that direction in particular, that'd be great.
posted by Venadium to Grab Bag (33 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Out. Figure this out soon. Oops.
posted by Venadium at 8:51 PM on September 14, 2011

Sorry if this is a bit glib, but maybe Daredevil from Spider-Man?

There's that Arctic Monkeys lyric 'Love's not blind its deaf'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:57 PM on September 14, 2011

er, Daredevil from Marvel Comics.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:58 PM on September 14, 2011

It's all about the Borges / Milton / Homer / Blind Blake / Blind Gary Davis combo. Well, it would be for me. But I'm the guy who'd be in a Twilight Zone episode as a bibliophile and break his glasses.
posted by LucretiusJones at 8:59 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Blind as a bat comes to mind
posted by udon at 9:02 PM on September 14, 2011

Response by poster: Eh, I don't think I know enough about Daredevil to get anything related to him tattooed on myself. I'd feel like a poseur. And I'm not really a fan of Arctic Monkeys either.
posted by Venadium at 9:02 PM on September 14, 2011

Well Odin wasn't blind but he did sacrifice an eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:13 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

For quotes, I'd look at Saramago's Blindness. Not sure what reading the book would be like if I knew I was going blind, but there are lines in the book that will stick with you.
posted by eisenkr at 9:29 PM on September 14, 2011

Paul Atreides from Dune.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:38 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Blinded By The Light
one of the classic posters for X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes

another poster
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:47 PM on September 14, 2011

Well Odin wasn't blind but he did sacrifice an eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom.

Hodur was blind -- Loki tricked him into shooting his otherwise-invincible brother Baldr with the one plant which could kill him.
posted by vorfeed at 9:52 PM on September 14, 2011

Lots of people get dragons - what about taking creative license on that theme and getting a gnarly looking basilisk?
posted by SquidLips at 9:55 PM on September 14, 2011

Braille tattoos?
posted by cazoo at 9:55 PM on September 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

"To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. " ~ John Milton
posted by Deflagro at 10:25 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by XMLicious at 10:54 PM on September 14, 2011

Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender. blind and badass

a bat, though they're not technically blind.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:08 PM on September 14, 2011

“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart. (Mais les yeux sont aveugles. Il faut chercher avec le cœur.)”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“I think we are blind. Blind people who can see, but do not see.”
― José Saramago

“I walked 500 miles just to see a halo, when I opened my eyes I was blind as can be.”
― Tom Waits

“Blindness is a private matter between a person and the eyes with which he or she was born.”
― José Saramago, Blindness

“Blind is not the situation when people cannot see others but when people fail to feel or sense the existence of others”
― Millie Huang

“Pale blind diver, luckless slinger, lost discoverer, in you everything sank!”
― Pablo Neruda

Source. There are many, many more, but I tried to choose only those that described physical blindness.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:19 PM on September 14, 2011

posted by XMLicious at 11:19 PM on September 14, 2011

If I were you, I'd get Ἥφαιστος . Hephaestus can be a powerful ally.
posted by Sphinx at 12:13 AM on September 15, 2011

Tiresias, the blind (hermaphrodite) seer.

The disembodied VISOR of Geordi La Forge.

"my light is spent", a familiar but decontextualized line from John Milton's "On His Blindness".

posted by foursentences at 12:45 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Or combine them -- Tiresias, clad in tunic and cloak and leaning on his gnarled stick, but unexplainedly wearing Geordi's VISOR.
posted by foursentences at 12:47 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Living is easy with eyes closed"
posted by ouke at 12:58 AM on September 15, 2011

Buddha eyes, maybe on your back -- one on each shoulder blade?
posted by seriousmoonlight at 3:11 AM on September 15, 2011

You could get a Rutger Hauer Blind Fury tattoo, with him holding katana sword. Or YOU holding a katana sword.
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:18 AM on September 15, 2011

Yep, Tiresias, the blind prophet who appears in Oedipus Rex and is, ironically, the only character in the play who is able to see things as they really are.

As foursentences mentions above, Tiresias is also known for having whacked two mating snakes on the head with his staff. The snakes were actually deities in disguise, so as punishment, they turned Tiresias into a woman. He later became a man once again, and was called upon by Zeus and Hera to settle an argument between them: who derives more pleasure from sex, men or women? Zeus claimed women, Hera claimed men - Tiresias agreed with Zeus that women had it better, so Hera punished him with blindness. Zeus couldn't stop her, but softened the blow by gifting him with foresight and a long life.

Love that little story, it has always reminded me that vision is not the only way to see.
posted by guessthis at 3:52 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are the group of blind men trying to describe an elephant by touch. Could be a great image, plus it implicitly means "make no assumptions."

Or three blind mice, because mice in shades always look cool

quote: "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king" [In regione caecorum rex est luscus.] -- Desiderius Erasmus
posted by Mchelly at 4:18 AM on September 15, 2011

Maybe something exceptionally simple, like the outward curves that represent sonar waves? I think it'd be kind of cool, minimalist, and also underscore the idea that your other senses may be heightened with the loss of others.
posted by xingcat at 4:27 AM on September 15, 2011

Do you have a personal motto that has led you through life? Instead of your tattoo being about visual impairment, you could have your life motto inked in using braille. Not necessarily the raised bumps mentioned above, but in ink instead. That leaves you with a much wider scope, just interpreting into a different language.
posted by librarianamy at 4:55 AM on September 15, 2011

The blind boy and the loon, an Inuit story.
posted by KathyK at 5:19 AM on September 15, 2011

I'd get a raised scarification in the shape of an iris so you can still feel it with your fingers long after the vision has faded. It will be filled with blood, just as your retina. A dark adaptation of the eye. Iris is the twin of Hermes, I believe. The goddess of hope.
posted by effluvia at 8:28 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the three blind mice would be a cool tattoo. You could have them walking up your arm or across your back or something, maybe "stumbling" into a mole or something. It would be cute.

There's also the character Kay from the Fables graphic novels who sees the bad in people so he routinely gouges his eyes out. He's based on a character in a Hans Christen Anderson story called "The Snow Queen."
posted by Fister Roboto at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

There's loads of fascinating imagery and symbolism in both the left and right versions of the Eye of Horus, or Wadjet.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:00 PM on September 15, 2011

in case you like creepy tattoos:
The Corinthian from the Sandman series - has teeth where his eyes should be.
The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth - carries his eyeballs in his hands.
posted by anotherkate at 3:48 AM on September 16, 2011

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