A meaning almost always hides behind a tattoo. This is what the most famous and loved tattoos symbolize.
More and more people are choosing to get a tattoo. The reasons that lead to tattooing are different and vary from case to case. There are those who decide to engrave a specific drawing or writing on the skin of their body for a purely aesthetic reason , while others combine the art of tattooing with a profound meaning, often very intimate and personal. Motivations aside, it can be seen that in the world of tattoos some subjects are the most popular and not so much for a matter of fashion. A tattoo is a symbol, a memory to cling to and to keep forever.
In this article we will reveal the meanings behind the most famous and appreciated tattoos, both by men and women. First, however, we recommend that you keep in mind the directions suggested in this article if you are thinking about getting a tattoo. Do you know everything about this real art?
The meaning of tattoos with animals
Many of the most famous tattoos have an animal as their subject. Depending on the species, the meaning of the tattoo changes, which can change from being a symbol of protection to a reminder of your pet to always keep in the heart and also on the skin.
Eagle – this tact is especially preferred by men. The ancient Greeks used it to represent Zeus, while today it symbolizes strength, courage and freedom.
Dog: for any culture, the dog has always been a positive symbol. For example, for the culture of the ancient Egyptians it was associated with Anubis, the god who acted as a link between earthly life and that after death, while in China it indicates Fortune. In general, the dog represents fidelity and protection.
Koi carp: able to go up the strong currents of rivers and to challenge death without fear, this fish is famous in the culture of China and Japan for its resistance . As a tattoo, it symbolizes perseverance, courage and determination.
Horse: noble animal par excellence, as well as in dreams and in art, even in the world of tattoos the horse is a symbol of strength, free spirit and nobility.
Dolphin: Regarded as the most intelligent after humans, dolphins have a positive meaning in all cultures. There are those who see them as a symbol of protection – they often accompany the sailors’ ships along the routes – and those who are a sign of luck and intelligence .
Butterfly: the little insect is certainly one of the most loved tattoos by women but there is no shortage of examples among men. It represents everything related to change , metamorphosis and rebirth , but also femininity and beauty. Given its short life, it is considered as the emblem of the fragility of existence.
Phoenix : being mythological, the phoenix was famous for its ability to rise from its ashes, while for the Egyptian culture it represented the Sun God. Even today it symbolizes adaptation to change, immortality and rebirth.
Cat: As with other pets, many people choose to remember their cat as the subject for a tattoo. In general, this animal is a symbol of intelligence, independence and mystery.
Leo: in Buddhism it symbolizes wisdom , while for other cultures the sense of protection and security . In general, the lion is chosen for tattoos, especially by men, to be the emblem of courage, strength, power and endurance.
Swallow: this subject began to be popular thanks to the sailors because they were the first birds to be seen approaching the mainland. For this reason the swallows are both a symbol of hope and of love and fidelity , since they appear to be monogamous.
Tiger : in China it is the animal emblem of protection, while in other countries it indicates beauty, passion and power.
Unicorn: A good and kind mythological animal, the unicorn is one of the four sacred animals of China that should appear in times of prosperity . In the Middle Ages this species was considered not only humble but invincible , because it could only be tamed by a virgin, the symbol par excellence of purity.
The meaning of tattoos with the subject of flowers
Along with animals, flowers are also among the most chosen designs for a tattoo, perfect for any part of the body. They owe this success above all to their rich symbolism. In fact, not only in the tattoo world, but in general, one or more meanings are hidden behind each flower so as to make them a fascinating and emblematic species.
Cherry blossom : it is one of the symbols of Japan, where it has the meaning of courage, rebirth after severe pain and the union of family ties . Thus, as a tattoo it represents birth, life and, in some cases, it is chosen to remember a missing person, because it is a very fragile flower.
Lotus flower : another symbol of Japan and some countries of Asia, the shape of this flower has made it the emblem of perfection. However, its main meaning, even as a tattoo, remains that of rebirth, eternity and fertility.
Sunflower: thanks to its bright and bright colors, the sunflower is ideal for people with a cheerful and, indeed, sunny character. It represents friendship that lasts over time and loyalty.
Hibiscus: chosen both for the variety of colors it offers – typically summer – and for its unique and particular shape, the meanings of this tattoo are those of prosperity and beauty, even if tattooed in white it becomes the synonym of purity.
Orchid: unlike most flowers, the meaning of the sophisticated orchid can be associated with mystery, if tattooed in black, while in white it becomes a symbol of sensual and carnal love.
Rose: Probably the most loved floral tattoo. As a rule, the rose is associated with the meanings of elegance and beauty, but it is only through its color that it receives more detailed meanings. For example, the red rose has always been a symbol of love and passion, while the pink one of grace and sweetness, the yellow one of friendship and, finally, the blue one of mystery and dream.
Daisy : In some cultures, these flowers have the power to predict the future and to guide human beings in their lives. For this reason, one of their meanings is that of truth, as well as being a symbol of purity and innocence , so much so as to recall pure love like that of childhood . The same meaning is shared by the calla and the lily.
The symbols of the tattoo world and their meaning
There are also many symbols that are chosen indiscriminately between men and women as tattoos. Here are the most famous:
Tree of Life : In general, trees are sacred in most cultures, both Western and Eastern. They represent the life cycle , the link between past and present and also the link between earth and sky . The tree of life is a symbol of protection and knowledge .
Phases of the moon: this tattoo indicates the changes that can be encountered during the span of life and how we must adapt to them every time. The moon itself is the emblem of femininity.
Celtic knot : like the classic symbol of infinity in the shape of an inverted “8”, Celtic knots also have neither a beginning nor an end and therefore indicate eternity.
Eye of Horus: taken from the god dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, anyone who chooses this tattoo considers it a symbol of protection against enemies and rebirth after death.
Om: sacred symbol of Hinduism and Buddhism, the three letters represent the three states of human life, namely wakefulness, dream and deep sleep.
Ying and Yang : balance between light and shadow, between good and evil, this tattoo symbolizes the coexistence and necessity of opposites in the universe.
The meaning of the objects most represented as tattoos
Finally, various objects are represented as tattoos because they too can take on a different meaning from what they have in everyday life and particularly dear to the person who chooses them.
Anchor: it had become the quintessential symbol of sailors and their adventures, now this tattoo is famous among women and men because it signifies stability, safety and hope.
Compass : this object is often chosen by those who have experienced a period of bewilderment in their life after which they have managed to find themselves.
Arrows: they have different meanings depending on the case. They can refer both to dreams and goals to be achieved and to mistakes made and then overcome.
Feathers: for Native Americans, feathers allow dreams to fly and reach the minds of people on Earth. As a tattoo, they indicate, in fact, the dream, the spirituality and also the creative ability to elevate oneself.
Sailing ship: symbol par excellence of freedom, the sailing ship is tattooed with the meaning of solitude, calm and pride.
The choice of a tattoo reflects our taste, the will to express something, a feeling, to communicate a message. It says a lot about us, about our personality and behind a symbol or a drawing there is a very specific meaning. Before deciding, therefore, which tattoo to do it is useful to deepen its meaning, especially if it is tribal tattoos. Each of them has an origin, a history and constitute a huge category.
Quotes tattoos: There are many inspirational quotes for tattoos: they can have very personal meanings, or they can be famous quotes, aphorisms and phrases about love, life and friendship. In any case, think carefully before choosing the meaningful quote for tattoo. As you well know, tattoos are permanent (it is true, they can be removed, but this goes against the philosophy of tattooing) and then the tattoo must express something very personal. For more quotes where you can get inspiration go here.
The meanings of tribal tattoos
Observing the rock paintings of the upper Paleolithic one can observe how their bodies were tattooed. A 5,000-year-old mummy found in the Italian Alps was even tattooed. This shows how primitive this practice is. Many ancient civilizations used to tattoo the body with designs to which they even attributed magical powers. Among these are the Maori, the Samoans, the Egyptians, the Aztecs, the Celts, the Scythians, the Filipinos, the natives of America, the Eskimos, the Hawaiians, and Thaithians and many others.
Tribal designs had different meanings based on the tribes who used them and who carried them. They could symbolize religious motifs or represent talismans of love and charm, be seen as talismans against demons or indicate a status or social position. Sometimes they were made as a simple adornment of the body. In some cultures they constituted a prohibition or permission of a social class or outlined real magical rituals to ward off disease, infertility, demons, spirits and envy.
Maori tattoos have the ability to highlight the lines of the musculature. Marked black lines that redraw the geometric shapes.
The warriors, for example, could be adorned with this type of tattoo to indicate belonging to a rank, the testimony of experience in combat or depict some macabre details such as the number of enemies killed. They were also done on different parts of the body, some even on the face. To make them visible, the warriors tended to depict them in a clearly visible area during the war such as on the neck, chest, biceps, back
Compared to today, they were made by scraping the skin or by tapping with an awl or a hammer. Fortunately, tribal tattoos can currently be done with advanced and certainly less painful techniques.
The list of tribal tattoos would be immense, so we will see the best known, the most loved and the most beautiful ones.
The designs are usually abstract, with broad arabesque lines, particular and such as to attract attention. The motif is usually geometric and depict animals, flowers, insects, plants or fantasy.
The lion: Present in many myths and legends, the lion in ancient times symbolized important and positive qualities such as courage and strength. Even today, those who decide to get a tattoo want to communicate authority, determination, pride and power. It also indicates nobility and royalty as it is considered the “king of animals”. Depending on the peoples, it takes on other meanings such as: knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, exuberance, loyalty, sense of justice. Among the negative aspects associated with it are rebellion, pride, revenge, instinct and indomibility. The lion can be depicted calm, roaring, winged.
Lotus Flower: This figure is widespread in both men and women. They represent a hymn to life.For oriental people, the lotus is a symbol of beauty, purity, spirituality. It depicts life, creation, heaven and earth. For the Egyptians it was eloquence and the hope of rebirth. The latter meaning derives from the fact that the lotus flower is born immersed in the mud, but then it rises and blossoms in all its beauty.
The hummingbird: The hummingbird indicates prosperity and life. The Aztecs used it as a talisman to attract positive energy. Symbolizes joy and love. It can have other meanings such as loyalty, renewal, free spirit and passion. The tattoo can be drawn in many variations, outlining its shape or coloring it. Given its colorful plumage it lends a lot to bright colors.
The dragonfly: The dragonfly indicates rebirth, delicacy, gracefulness. In nature it is a free-flying insect and is related to the aquatic and land environment. Its body is elongated, has iridescent colors and undergoes various metamorphoses. Hence a whole other series of meanings, in addition to those mentioned above, such as freedom, spontaneity, creativity and whimsy. It denotes elegance, magic, illusions, dreams, as well as change and maturation. Loved by the Japanese, it is considered by them as a symbol of joy, strength, courage and success.
If you want to make it with a tribal style, you must use only black, without shades and shadows.
The scorpion: The scorpion is among the most complex and often ambivalent tribal tattoos. The presence of a poisonous sting seems to symbolize danger and death, as well as victory over adversity. Like the butterfly, it sheds its skin 5 or 6 times in its life, which is why it has taken on the meaning of rebirth, transition and change. It also brings back to protection and healing. The ancient Egyptians scorpion goddess Selkis helped women to give birth. Hence the reference to fertility.
Tribal tattoos: other meanings
Dolphin: harmony, friendship;
Shark protection : adaptability, resistance
Turtle protection : guide, family, navigator (Polynesia); longevity (Asia)
Lizard: luck, life
Butterfly: soul, transformation, freedom
Birds: freedom and communication with the gods
Swallow: freedom, good news, protection
Owl: knowledge, wisdom, magic
Cat: change, adaptability
Phoenix: immortality , eternity, renewal
Sun: eternity, life, joy
Moon: femininity, fertility
Pink: perfection, love
Kokopelli fighter, Tiki: fertility, protection
Manta: wisdom, elegance, freedom
10 tips for choosing the perfect tattoo
Getting a tattoo is something very exciting, but at the same time very stressful. If you really want to get a tattoo, you need to know that it requires a long preparation process; Furthermore, you must not forget that a tattoo lasts a lifetime and that therefore it is better to think about it and not be impulsive, in order to avoid problems in the future.
Since making the decision to get a tattoo is an important thing in life, taking the time to choose the perfect design is of paramount importance.
One beautiful morning you get up, think of getting a new tattoo and look for a tattoo artist, without doing any research, neither on the internet nor simply by asking friends or family, thus ending up tattooing anything on your body. It is certainly not the most recommendable thing to do, since the more you plan the drawing that will accompany you throughout your life, the more unique and fascinating it will be.
Do you want to get yourself a quick tattoo that you will regret in the next 6 months or do you prefer a quality tattoo that you will be happy to wear for the rest of your life? To avoid these problems in the future, we have collected 10 tips that will help you choose.
What to do before getting tattooed? Follow these steps:
- Avoid hasty decisions
This body art is very significant, so don’t be rushed with tattoos. Like when we get an idea and we keep thinking about it even in the following days. Taking it lightly will cause bad decisions that are easy to regret soon after. In fact, it can happen that in just one week we no longer feel the need to tattoo that particular motif.
- Think, think and rethink
This is the only thing you can do before getting a tattoo. Don’t think there is nothing to think about. If you start doing this, you will find that there are a lot of things to think about. Good ideas come only by thinking, so try to get into a creative thinking process. Also think about which color can best symbolize the chosen tattoo and the area of the body. Compare and see other people who have tattooed the same design – Instagram might be a good way to do it.
- Try to draw it
It is one of the most important steps to visualize your idea for the first time. Try to draw what you think, as this will help you share the drawing in your head with everyone else. If you are unable to draw, you will need to seek help from a tattoo artist who draws what you have in mind.
- Look for a good tattoo artist
Now you need to look for a good tattoo artist near your area. You can try searching the internet or even ask your friends. Since there is no rush, go to the artists and consult with them about your idea. Make them understand what exactly you want and listen to what they tell you.
- Think about the area where you want to get a tattoo
Whether a design looks good or bad depends a lot on the area you choose to tattoo. If you still don’t know where you want it, consult with the tattoo artist. He will be able to help you and give you suitable suggestions. Also ask him which are the most painful areas, so that you are prepared.
- Ask for a good catalog of tattoos
Once you have shared your ideas with a tattoo artist, ask them about tattoo catalogs that can give you more ideas about the designs. Also ask them to show you pictures of tattoos already done by him, so as to avoid having an inexperienced person tattoo you.
- Internet, a powerful tool
The internet is a great research medium. Use it to do research on your design: you can look for interesting ideas from the comfort of your home or office. But most importantly, look for the hidden meaning that the tattoo of your choice may have. Often it happens to get a tattoo and only later discover the true meaning of the tattoo which, perhaps, does not correspond to your personality.
- Try a temporary tattoo first
Temporary henna tattoos are part of a new trend that lets you know in advance how your chosen design will look on you. There are limitations, such as the fact that you cannot see it in color, but you will be able to realize what it will be like to have it. If you have any doubts, clarify it with your tattoo artist. Also, during these trial days, you may also realize that you no longer want to get tattooed in that area because you fear getting tired of the tattoo in the long run.
- Listen to yourself and think carefully about your decision
Pay close attention to what you feel and what you want: everything can change at the last minute, so think carefully, especially if you have any doubts or problems. The important thing is to be 100% convinced that it is the design you want.
- Get the tattoo
Call the tattoo artist you have finally chosen and make the appointment.