In this charming example of how unique tattoos can be, the breast of a red robin is used as a substitute for the heart in a classic ‘pierced heart’ tattoo. Most often, the pierced heart has been shot by none other than Cupid himself, inciting his victim to romance. Used in that way, it becomes a symbol of being in love.
In this instance, though, the listless robin is not swooning but is, instead, dead. In their own way, birds have a generic symbolism that relates to spiritual and emotional states, often serving as links between heaven and earth.
For example, in western cultures, doves have come to symbolize peace, while storks bring new babies. The mythological phoenix is a symbol of renewal and resurrection in the west while in the east it was associated with a strong marriage. The Koran notes that the language of birds is the language of angels.
But a bird that is pierced through the heart, seems to convey something more poignant than it’s own death. By extending the two symbols and combining them, we could interpret this tattoo as either the death of love or perhaps even the similarity of love and death.