TRADITIONAL ICONOGRAPHY: ROSE OF NO MAN’S LAND
Following our charity sale for Covid-19 we want to talk about the history and meaning of the “rose of no man’s land”, iconography used for our communication on the charity activity.
The origin of the Rose of No Man’s Land tattoo can be traced back to the song of the same name (“La rose sous le boulets”), originally published in 1918 at the end of the First World War by the French music publisher Leo Feist. The well-known English version was published in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, by Jack Caddigan and James Alexander Brennan.
The song itself was a hymn for the Red Cross nurses who treated wounded soldiers during the war. Because of their mission nurses worked in this very dangerous area between the two lines in front of the opposing soldiers, known as no man’s land, leading many of them to become victims themselves. The “Rose”, as a motif, symbolizes the peace and tranquility of these heroic women.
The popularity of the song is inevitably permeated in traditional tattoo culture with the earliest examples of the “Rose of No Man’s Land” appearing in the books and sketches of Gus Wagner and Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins among others.
It became a staple among soldiers commemorating these nurses who were seen as saviors and continued to be popular as a tattoo symbolizing appreciation for volunteers around the world.