Originally posted on February 14, 2022 @ 7:00 am
For hundreds of years, the tiger has been viewed as a symbol of fierceness, independence, bravery, protection, and even knowledge.
Much of the history and admiration that surrounds tigers need to be credited for beginning in Eastern Asia. Many countries like China, Thailand, and Japan all have their own beliefs and symbolism that they hold in respect to the tiger.
Because of the way Eastern Asian cultures were enamored with this majestic beast, they began by tattooing it onto their warriors and strongest men.
Chinese culture holds the tiger in great regard, most of the time depicting imagery of a tiger with a symbol for Han or “King,” drawn on its forehead.
It was considered a great honor to be adorned with a tiger tattoo, as he was considered to be King of all Animals.
In Thai culture, a tiger and a tattoo of a tiger also hold great meaning. Tattoos are believed to be used as a form of protection, guarding the wearer against any evil spirits, and are even considered to bring luck.
Because of this, “Sak Yant,” or mantra tattoos, have incredible popularity, and none more so than the tiger.
Very similar to Thai culture, Japanese culture also views the tiger as the ultimate symbol of protection and strength.
It was often for military men, police officers, etc., to get a tiger tattoo with their lines of work. Being an animal of the zodiac in their culture, the Japanese view the tiger as one of the rulers of the animal world.
Due to these reasons and so many more, tiger tattoos have remained a popular option for folks even into the present day. Many can struggle, though, on the specific type of tiger tattoo that they wish to acquire.
Does one opt for a more traditional tiger tattoo design, a tiger eyes tattoo design, a tigress tattoo design, or even something completely original to you?
To act as a helpful aid, here is a list compiled of ten different tiger tattoo design categories. Hopefully, anyone in need will be able to find some inspiration through this article!
Tiger Tattoo Ideas:
1. Traditional Chinese Tiger Tattoos
As mentioned previously, it’s due to historical Eastern Asian cultures that the tiger tattoo initially took off and reached the fame that it has today. Since then, many people have opted to receive traditional Chinese tiger tattoos. This has a lot to do with their meaning, but also the actual design techniques that these tattoos take on. Traditional Chinese tiger tattoos tend to depict the image of a tiger surrounded by cherry blossoms, grass, etc.
The tiger is also very common in a hunting or pouncing-style stance, as he would be in nature. Traditional Chinese tiger tattoos can often be colorful, as they wanted to accentuate the tigers’ natural beauty and fierce aesthetic. It’s also not uncommon to find a Chinese tiger tattoo with the famous “Han” symbol attached to it. If you’ve been considering a Traditional Chinese tiger tattoo or even a new take on their classic design, then check out some of these beautiful designs;
2. Traditional Japanese Tiger Tattoos
Much like the Chinese, the Japanese turned a great admiration and curiosity for the tiger into beautifully done tattoos. As can be noted when making comparisons, the Japanese forms of illustration are slightly different than that of the Chinese. With the traditional purpose of these tattoos being to ward of evil from the wearer, the imagery of these tigers is oftentimes even more fierce than that of other cultures.
It’s almost as though the original design concept for these tattoos was to come across as the wearer’s literal last line of protection. Considered an honor to have one, a tiger tattoo was created with immense attention to detail. If you’re thinking that a traditional Japanese tiger tattoo may be just the thing you’ve been looking for, try taking a peek at some of these tattoos;
3. Traditional Thai Tiger Tattoos
Unlike Japanese and Chinese tiger tattoos, Thai tattoos generally have taken on a different aesthetic appeal. While holding many of the same meanings, the Thai culture forged its own forms of idolatry towards tigers. Thai tiger tattoos are often depicted or done with two tigers facing one another – mostly in symmetrical ways. Oftentimes, the tigers will also be surrounded by Thai lettering or quotes as well.
Mantra tattoos’ hold deep and personal meaning for the Thai people, and tigers were one of the main components of these specific tattoos. Usually being quite large in style, these tattoos are very commonly done on the chest or back of the wearer. If you’ve been considering a Thai tiger tattoo for any reason, then perhaps check some of these links below for some added design inspiration;
4. Small Tiger Tattoos
Much like any other form of tattoo, tiger tattoos can also be done very small. While not always the most common choice for tiny tattoos, a small tiger tattoo can still offer immense detail and bold attributes. Many people choose this style of tattoo for the locations on the body. It fits perfectly. Oftentimes, this is on the persons’ hands or fingers, feet or ankles, neck or face, and even tucked in behind the ear.
While not as large as other tattoos, small tattoos can still hold just as much meaning to the person having it done. A good tattoo artist won’t skip on detail merely because of the size of their canvas. So, if you’ve been contemplating whether it’s even possible to get a small tiger tattoo, don’t stress! Here is a list of tiger tattoos that may be tiny in stature but don’t lack in creativity;
5. Realistic Tiger Tattoos
With tigers being one of the world’s most majestic and gorgeous animals, there’s no questioning as to why someone would want a realistic portrait of one tattooed on themselves. An extremely talented tattoo artist can bring an animal or human portrait to life through the proper use of detail. Tattoos that are done in a realistic style are incredibly eye-catching to the public.
Whether because of the large symbolic message that tigers hold or just because of their appearance, many people opt to get a natural-looking tiger tattoo. If you’re looking for images of realistic tiger tattoos to get an idea for your own, then take a look at some of these completed pieces;
6. Tigress Tattoos
As tiger tattoos became increasingly popular, many women also wanted to jump on the opportunity to get one! With many of the traditional tiger tattoos being designed in quite the masculine style, many began looking for a more feminine option. Tigress tattoos have since become undoubtedly popular, and not just with women! Tigress tattoos are often depicted in a friendlier sense – the tiger is not often in a hunting position.
Much of the time, these tattoos include both color and some sort of natural scene, whether flowers, trees, or grass. These tattoos are meant to showcase more of the beauty and elegance a tiger has, as opposed to its sheer power. If you’re considering a tigress tattoo, check out some of these links for some gorgeous inspiration;
7. Tiger’s Eye Tattoos
Equally as popular as a tattoo of a tiger itself is that of a tiger’s eye. Like the song, tiger eye tattoos often symbolize “a man and his will to survive.” Known to symbolize patience, determination, perseverance, and focus, a tiger’s eye tattoo has become a very well sought-after option. Tattoos in this style are meant to show a tiger in its purest form, focused on the task at hand and ready to hunt its prey.
Tigers’ eye tattoos are often striking, catching the eye of any passerby. Traditionally a gold, orange or reddish-brown color, tiger eyes make for a stunning portrait or tattoo. Have you been considering a tiger’s eye tattoo? Well, look no further because here’s a list that was made for you;
8. Tiger Head Tattoos
Another option for anyone seeking out a tiger tattoo is that of a tiger’s head. While still holding the same meanings as a tattoo of an entire tiger, tattoos of a tiger’s head have a style all their own. Some tattoos of tigers’ heads can take a very realistic portrait feel, while others are more of a traditional style of tattoo. This makes it, so the wearer has many options in regards to the facial expression of the said tiger!
Regardless of which style of tiger head tattoo you decide on, you’re sure to have a very visibly stunning final result. If you’ve been considering the option of getting a tiger’s head tattoo, look no further! Here’s a list compiled of ideas for anyone looking for this sort of tattoo;
9. Tiger and Dagger Tattoos
Similar to tattoos of other large animals, tattoos of tigers and daggers are also a common option for folks. The meaning of these tattoos is derived from the very nature of the relationship between man and animal. Showcasing a hard-fought battle or epic struggle, these sorts of tattoos can be very aesthetically appealing to some.
These sorts of tattoos can also be used to symbolize overcoming a feeling of betrayal or distrust. With it being such a notorious combination and the meaning behind it, it’s no wonder so many people have opted to get this sort of tattoo. If this is something you too have been considering, feel free to check out some of these works of art;
10. Entirely Unique Tiger Tattoos
Because tattoos are one of the best forms of self-expression, it’s so important to pick something unique and meaningful to you. Due to this, many people opt to get a tattoo that’s something they’ve never seen before or are sure no one else would ever get. Whether using favorite colors, quotes, or even a very out-there backdrop, people consistently find ways to make tattoos their own! This is the case with tiger tattoos as well!
Many people want a tiger tattoo, but they’d prefer something a little out of the box or specific to their personality. If you find that you’re also struggling to figure out a truly individualistic tiger tattoo, then try looking at some of these ideas. The following tattoos are truly one of a kind and can hopefully inspire one of your own;
In conclusion, with their roots firmly planted in the spiritualism of Eastern Asia, tiger tattoos carry the meaning of so many of life’s most important teachings. Regardless of the meaning for the individual wearer, tiger tattoos have the potential to be both storytelling and eye-grabbing, all at the same time. Whether you choose to go with one of many tigress tattoo designs, tigers eye tattoo designs, realistic tiger tattoo designs signs, or something entirely designed for you, your piece is sure to be stunning.