Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vincent Bears the Spear of Longinus

I met Vincent Corrigan on the way to the subway on 33rd Street between 7th and 6th Avenues. It was a giant arm piece that crawled up under his shirt and onto his shoulder that first caught my eye.

However, he offered up the piece above and, in the course of speaking with him, I took pictures of three other tattoos that were notable. I am going to discuss them in reverse order.

First, this piece may be familiar to many:

That's the Guinness harp, a trademark recognizable to beer connoisseurs:

Not to overstate the obvious, but Guinness is a dry stout beer that originated in Dublin, and is thus a matter of pride for the Irish. Mr. Corrigan, as one might venture from his surname, is of Irish ancestry.

The harp is on the top of his left bicep and is one of his older pieces. In fact, he credits Ryoko at Brooklyn Tattoo for taking what was previously a bit of shoddy inkwork, revitalizing it with some excellent restoration and making a respectable tattoo out of it.

Further down the arm, on Vincent's inner left forearm, are two symbols I recognized immediately:

The top one is the logo familiar to fans of the band Audioslave. The fiery emblem appeared on the band's debut album cover.

Vince is a singer and a huge fan of the singer Chris Cornell (lead singer of Audioslave, and more famously, Soundgarden).
I also am a fan of Cornell's (although I haven't seen him in concert,
unlike Vince who guesses he's seen him twenty times).

Below the Audioslave logo is one of the four runes representing band members from Led Zeppelin:

These runes appeared first on the band's fourth album. The rune tattooed on Vincent's arm is the one on the far right and according to Wikipedia:

Robert Plant's symbol is the feather of the Egyptian goddess Ma'at, representing truth, justice, fairness and writing, encapsulated by an unbroken circle representing life. According to Egyptian mythology, Osiris, the god of judgment and death, would take the heart of those who died and put it on a balance with the feather of Ma'at. If the heart outweighed the feather, the person's soul would go to hell, but on the other hand, if the heart was lighter than the feather, the soul would go to heaven.

However, Plant's rune is significant to Vincent because he is the lead singer.

And now to the amazing piece at the top of this post, well worth another look:

Vincent indicates that this is the "Spear of Longinus," one of the many names given to The Holy Lance, which was the weapon used to pierce the side of Jesus Christ during the Crucifixion.

The name Vincent has an origin in the meaning of the word conqueror and the surname Corrigan
derives from a root word which means "spear" or "lance". It is this primary parallel that gave Vincent the urge to ink this relic of Christianity onto his arm. It appears that the tattoo is modeled after the Hofburg Spear which is kept in Vienna.

This spear is an object of fascination in literature and the arts, often as the subject matter for narratives pertaining to the Crusades, with a link in some cases to Ireland. This brings the spear of Longinus an additional link to Vincent's pride in his Irish ancestry.

The spear tattoo, along with the Audioslave and Robert Plant tattoos, was inked by artist Eric Wigger at The Devil's Rose Tattoo in Blue Point, New York, on Long Island.

Thanks to Vincent for sharing all his ink with us here at Tattoosday!

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