Throughout art and tattoo history, nature has been a great source of inspiration. Tribal tattoos, which are said to be the start of modern tattoos, often had elements of the nature as their subjects. It is still apparent in today’s art. That is why there is no surprise animals such as tigers tend to become tattoo subjects. Tiger tattoo designs have grown popular because of its meaning and its great aesthetic value.
Tigers are one of the most revered felines in the world. They are often found in the wild and are great predators. But they are not only cunning animals, they are also one of the world’s most beautiful. With their striking stripes and intellectual eyes, it’s hard not to make tigers a subject for body art.
Tiger Tattoo and What It Stands For
Usually, tattoos have various meanings. What they meant can depend on what the wearer perceives. However, some tattoos have general meanings. These are usually from what the subject is about, how it acts, its characteristics and stories surrounding it.
A tiger tattoo is not any different. It can have multiple meanings based on the tiger’s characteristics and how people look at these creatures. Generally, tigers are pretty much how we humans want to live our lives – without any inhibitions.
Tigers are both ferocious and sensual. They are wild and untamable, strong and powerful, and driven by instincts and passion. While that may not be the best way we all can live, we definitely think about the freedom all these give. And so, getting a tiger tattoo is a perfect choice for those who are carefree, wild, and passionate. The design could say who they are as a person or can be a way to freely show what they can’t always be free to do and act.
Here are more meanings behind a tiger ink:
- Brute strength
- Royalty and nobility
- Energy and fierceness
- Protection and guardianship
- Passion and sexual prowess
- Danger and destruction
Tiger Tattoos for Lovers
While tigers may not be the most ideal subject for a couple or lovers’ tattoo, it’s actually a great choice. As mentioned, tigers were known to be a symbol for passion and sensuality. There is a saying that if you want to be a great lover, you have to be a tiger in bed.
This can be due to tiger’s affiliation with the sun. They are known as solar totems or that they are ruled by the Sun. It makes them fiery and passionate. And what does passion almost always equal to but love and sensuality.
The body parts of a tiger were also used in the old days as natural aphrodisiacs. Even today, the culture has remained alive in some parts of the world. Nonetheless, animal poaching has become illegal and there are very few who still make tigers as concoctions for a healthy sex life.
Nonetheless, some say getting a tattoo is the same as conjuring the creature. If you believe that, getting a tiger tattoo with your partner might be enough to make things steamier in the bed.
Symbolic Meaning of Tigers and Tiger Tattoos in Various Cultures
Tigers can also have different meanings based on different cultures. Here are some of the cultures where tigers are well-known and what they stand for:
- Indian culture – In India, tigers are known as emblems for unimaginable destruction. Until now, there are small villages in the country that still report cases of tigers allegedly eating humans. While these reports exists, albeit rarely, there are no proofs that state it as a fact. Still, they see these creatures as something meant to destroy.
- Chinese folklore – In China, tigers are said to be guardians of the dead. They are said to help the souls of the dead make it safe to the afterlife. They protect the souls so they are able to reach their final resting place. And so, tigers are often etched on a person’s tombstone so they can have a protector in the afterlife. Apart from that, Chinese people believe that tigers are associated with the God of Wealth. Having a tiger tattoo in the area could either mean protection and ward from evil or bringer of good luck and prosperity.
- Korean culture – In Korea, they believe that the tiger is the King of the Animals. A tiger tattoo is pretty much a symbol of power, dominance, and passion. It’s a great way to depict a wearer’s personality.
Tiger Tattoo Designs from Tigers in Pop Culture
Tigers are not just popular creatures in the wild. There are also tigers that found popularity in pop culture. While they may be fictitious, they are still tigers and they usually embody what a tiger stands for.
For example, there is Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Children, especially from the time Winnie the Pooh became a beloved cartoon character, would know Tigger. He is an adorable tiger who may not be as powerful and strong as normal tigers. However, he teaches kids to be courageous and brave in their own way. A tiger tattoo of Tigger is no surprise. There are those who find the character relatable and has helped them as they grow up.
Apart from Winnie the Pooh, Life of Pi is another pop culture hit with a tiger as one of the characters. In the story, the tiger is pretty much like that of a normal animal we see in the wild. But it was more than that in the movie and the book. It was seen as a protector and a guardian that kept the main character sane and alive, in his own way.
Life of Pi is an inspirational story and some get a tattoo of the tiger to show their love for the movie or the book. In a way, it also represents the person they see as their guardian or protector.
Variations of Tiger Tattoos
When it comes to tattoos, tigers have become such a popular choice not only because of what it means but also because of its great beauty. Getting a tiger tattoo is often about going big or going home. These animals are larger than life – vibrant and beautiful. Capturing them on ink requires certain set of skills and great attention to detail. Nonetheless, the end results are always amazing.
Here are some variations for tiger tattoos that might get you interested in getting one:
- Tribal tiger tattoo – Tribal tattoos have long been a part of humanity and of the tattoo industry. There is no surprise tribal tattoos are still popular these days. You can certainly get the vibe of strength, power and invincibility with this design.
- Baby tigers – Tigers are one of those creatures that are often seen with awe and fear. However, they are still related to the cats we have grown to love and care for around the house. Kittens and baby tigers still share the same adorableness we all love. Apart from being overly cute, baby tigers are also symbols for fragility and innocence.
- Blue tigers – Blue tigers come from Chinese mythology where they believe the universe is held by five powerful tigers. One of these is the blue tiger. This powerful creature is said to be the totem of spring and Earth, the element.
- Butterfly tiger tattoo – While this may seem as a weird surrealistic concept, it’s actually a powerful symbol for women. Butterflies are known as delicate and fair. On the other hand, tigers are known as symbols of power, dominance, and sexual prowess. Combining these two create an amazing symbol that shows women can be both.
Eye of the Tiger
When we talk about tigers, perhaps one of the first thing that comes to mind is the song entitled “Eye of the Tiger”. Perhaps inspired by real life tigers, the song is pretty much about a “man and his will to survive.” Since the song became famous, an eye of the tiger tattoo has become more than just a beautiful gem. It has also become a symbol of strength and determination.
As a tattoo, the eyes of a tiger could represent focus and patience. A tiger has to watch over its prey first, in order for it to have a successful kill. If it does, it will be able to survive another day.
The design is also more about symbolizing men and our most primitive desires. We let instincts take over, just as when a tiger is hunting. Therefore, it’s the part where we can see the creature on its purest state: stalking, focused, patient, and most of all, lethal.
If you want to get an eye of the tiger tattoo, it is best to do it in 3D style. Nothing’s better than capturing such intensity with the use of ink and your body as the canvass. However, you might want to find an experienced top tattoo artist for this. 3D styles are hard to do and requires mastery of certain techniques. If you want a photo-realistic design with amazing results, calling a pro on this style is the best choice.
3D Style Tiger Tattoos
Tigers are beautiful – with their shiny striped coats and their marvelous eyes. Apart from their strength, tigers are also known for their beauty and grace. If you’re the type of tattoo enthusiast who loves getting tattoos for their aesthetic value, tigers are still one of the best choices. And how else can we capture its beauty other than with 3D style of tattooing?
3D styles are these photo-realistic tattoos that are made to look like the real thing. Tiger tattoos in 3D styles require great attention to details. The furs look like individual furs, the eyes look as expressive as that of a real one.
However, this is one of the hardest styles in tattooing. Your tattoo artist should be masters at different techniques such as shadowing and highlighting. They should also be good at drawing since that would help in creating a realistic copy of a tiger.
When looking for an artist, you might want to check their portfolio and see how good they are at the style. This will help you with your search for the top artist.
Placement for Tiger Tattoos
Men usually prefer their tiger tattoos bigger than the average size. For that, the best placements are on their back or their chest. These areas have wider space for added elements or to effectively create a scene with the subject as the main focus.
For women, the back is the only place where they can get as creative as they want. The chest area is usually limited, unlike that of a man’s. However, they can also create larger tattoos from the hips to the thighs. There is enough space for bigger pieces but these are more or less hidden most of the time.
Average tattoos can be placed on the arms and legs. These can also be done on the back or the chest since they are still big enough not to drown in all the space. Still, these kinds of tattoos are commonly placed on the sleeves and legs.
Smaller tattoos are perfect on nooks and crannies of the body. These are also perfect for the wrist, ankles, inner elbows, inner forearm, the feet and the hands. Usually, these designs are minimalist since details are often lost when you create smaller tattoos.
The placement is also dependent on the design. If you want a whole tiger, you might want to put it on a larger area or create a design that best fits the sleeves or the thighs to the legs. Minimalist designs would work best on smaller areas.
Tigers are one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. These creatures are mostly known for their strength, power, and as a symbol of passion and sexual prowess. However, it can change meaning depending on which culture you are basing. Still, it is one of the top choices for tattoos mainly due to its aesthetic value. That being said, a tiger tattoo is one of those choices that can never go wrong.