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Monday, February 17, 2020

World Tattoos: The Cultural Angle

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Tattoos started appearing in Neolithic times and they were considered as an ancient art. However, the word tattoo or tattow came from the Polynesian word “tatau” which means correct, workmanlike in the 18th century. It is considered that the earliest tattoos can be found in Egypt while the pyramids were being constructed.


On the other hand, tattooing also begins in the Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Every culture has its own special way of tattooing as well as its meaning.

Buddhist Tattoos

buddhist tattos

Buddhism is one of the major religions and it is full of symbols which have specific meanings. Each tattoo is a symbol of one or more teachings of the Buddha himself. For example, Mandalas or “Mandala Wheels” are very popular nowadays with each growing ring representing the growing universe. On the other hand, you have Dharma Wheels which are similar to Mandalas but they represent the Wheel of Truth and Law; it was believed that when spinning it, it can change the course of destiny. Lotus Blossoms have different meanings and it depends on how they are drawn, it represents the purity and every color of the blossom has different meaning.

Chinese Dragon Tattoo


Tribal dragon tattoos have been popular for ages, and even nowadays they remain one of the most popular. They can be drawn in both masculine and feminine designs and they look pretty powerful. Medieval have usually masculine and Gothic designs with a lot of detail, and they usually go best on your arms, legs or on your back. Sleeping dragon on the other hand is a very popular feminine design and it represents the restful, relaxed dragon and it fits best on your lower hip, back or on the shoulder.

Rosary Tattoos

rosary tattoo

These religious tattoos are also becoming more and more popular and they are linked to the person’s spirituality. The word rosary comes from the Latin word “rosarium” meaning the Rose Garden and it is used for praying in the Roman Catholic Church. “Hail Mary”, “The Lord’s Prayers”, etc. are just one of the recitations that are being used with rosary. Tattoo represents the faith and the Christian values of a person. However, some of the religions think that tattoos are forbidden but they can be taught to be a welcome sign of faith.

Egyptian Ankh Tattoos

egyptian tattoo

This symbol was used by ancient Egyptians to represent rebirth, eternal life and combination, and union of men and women. The Ankh was often held by a Pharaoh or another powerful official. It also can represent the birth and the love between men and women. Ankhs can be drawn in different color, but the best colors are six colors from the Egyptian palette – green, red, blue, yellow, black and white; and each color represents something different. It can be paired with other Egyptian symbols scarabs and writings.


Sun Tattoos

sun god tattoo

We all know that the Sun is the most important thing in this universe and it can represent a lot of things as a symbol and every civilization has its approach to its meaning. For example, in Rome there was the sun god called Apollo and it was thought that he brings the sun each morning in a chariot across the sky. In Egypt, there was a god named Ra and he was in charge of the sun and it was believed that Ra was making changes during the day the same way the sun did. Aztec culture had Huitzilopochtli who was the god of sun and war and he was supposed to guide the people to a promised land in the south. All in all, the sun tattoo can symbolize both the male and female power and its strength.

Japanese Tattoos


In Japan, tattooing had spiritual and decorative purpose. Irezumi are several forms of traditional Japanese tattooing and modern forms usually came and were inspired by them. Traditional tattoos are unique and huge. They were also used to identified people in different classes; they can represent someone’s belief and types of characters. Dragons signify power because of their ferocity and strength and they are the protectors of mankind. Butterflies are symbols of joy and longevity, cherry blossoms the transience of life, chrysanthemums endurance and integrity, etc. Whichever symbol represents you best even samurai symbol. If you visit Australia, you can get tattoo in Sydney with the best Japanese symbols.

Yin Yang Tattoos

yin yang tattoo

The opposites attract. The traditional Chinese design is circular with a light and dark half and they fit together perfectly. And in each half there is a drop of the other’s color in it, and it represents the duality of the universe. They come together to bring balance and to bring harmony to the universe. They come together to bring balance and to bring harmony to the universe. The dark half, the Yin has female nature and it is destructive, and the light half Yang is masculine and creative. they are brought together to create five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal.

If you would really like a special body art with a special meaning you should always try to find one which fits your nature and your character. There are lots of symbols from different cultures and maybe you can find the right one that describes you best.


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