Croatia – The beautiful linework and Christian cross looking geometric designs you see here is not just a design that is aesthetically pleasing. These medieval tattoos from Croatia indicate the harsh history of Balkan and resistance against Ottoman armies that used to kidnap Christian children and women. Many families under Turkish occupation used these tattoos as a form of protection to mark their children or women in order they could remember their faith even if they were forced to convert to Islam.
These patterns and symbols are usually designed as discreet crosses and mostly they were done by women who would do the act of tattooing on holy days. This art over the course of centuries has often been forbidden but is has managed to survive nonetheless.
The ink of traditional Croatian tattoos was often mixed with the milk of mothers, as well as charcoal, honey and other natural materials.
Many old women in the rural areas still carry on this tradition, while younger generations have discovered these designs to be both symbolic but also aesthetically pleasing and minimalist, thus the new generations have started to pay tribute to their history.