A skull and crossbones (actually two thigh bones crossed below the skull) is often associated with piracy, and if that’s what you’re looking for, a tattoo of crossbones can symbolize that. The crossbones, with a skull above them, began as a symbol of death and mortality on tombstones in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, pirates flew a black flag with a white skull and crossbones, called a jolly roger, to signify the pirates were about to attack. A crossbones tattoo could symbolize danger, death, or mortality. Some people get a skull and crossbones tattoo to commemorate a near-death experience, a symbol for the wearer that they have stared death in the face and lived to tell the tale. But not all crossbones tattoos need to be dark and grim in meaning; another common design is a different character, such as a cartoon character or a sugar skull, in place of the traditional skull. A crossbones tattoo is a versatile template, and can easily be worked into something uniquely your own.