The whole world is talking about the death of Amy Winehouse. Among the things that stands out about her life is her tattoos. Since her career began in 2003, Winehouse rapidly went from no tattoos to fifteen. Depicting a large number of self-reflected objects, she said she painted her body when she needed a boost out of boredom. Now that she has passed away, what hidden messages can we hope to understand from the tattoos of this tragic singer?
A unique trend in lesser known Winehouse tattoos
Several of Winehouse’s tattoos were of pinup girls and other types of nautical or sailor imagery. However, over the years, a few distinct tattoos were added that stand out from her typical choice of inking. In particular; powerful depictions of birds that tend to hold a great deal of symbolic significance. A major part of mythology, superstition, and tattoo history, what did the bird tattoos that Amy Winehouse chose say about her, her life, and her untimely death?
Significance of birds in Judaism
The Jewish Virtual Library discusses a tradition that takes place during the Jewish calendar date of Yom Kippur. Also known as the day of atonement for sins, fowls take on an important role during this day in a ceremony called Kapparot. In particular, birds are symbols for transferring out the sins of a person. If birds and Judaism held significance for this young Jewish girl from the London suburbs, could the three bird tattoos of Amy Winehouse tell us a hidden message?
Double Meanings of the Never Clip My Wings Bellbird
Around the time that Winehouse got her first bird tattoo in 2007, the Observer was one of the first media agencies to predict that she would die young. In addition to being a type of alcoholic drink, the Bellbird is also known for its far-reaching singing voice. Perhaps Winehouse wanted a tattoo that combined her vice of drinking with her gift of singing just as the meaning of the Bellbird carried a double significance.
However, she had “Never Clip My Wings” inscribed around the bird hinting at her want to be accepted for her shortcomings by the public and still have the freedom to show off her best side. In order to give fans a chance to see the sweet girl behind the rehab scandals, the Guardian countered with a touching Winehouse interview.
Hope behind the American eagle ankh
When Winehouse got her next tattoo, it was shunned by the media community. Nonetheless, the symbols that Winehouse chose were, once again, brimming with significance. The ankh is an ancient symbol of Egypt. As we all know, Jewish people were once enslaved in Egypt and then liberated by Moses.
Since the American Bald Eagle is a symbol of freedom, perhaps Winehouse was combing the ankh and the eagle in an effort to find freedom from her continued enslavement to drugs and alcohol.
Classic 1950s Barn Swallow finale
Less than a year before her death, the last tattoo that Winehouse chose was the barn swallow. Although it fit with the other nautical and sailor themed tattoos she already had, this one specifically speaks of sailors that wanted a symbol to ward off death. Sadly, Amy Winehouse succumbed to death, despite her pleas, at the end of July, 2011.