Discover the Most Popular Chinese Tattoo Symbols and Meanings

Discover the Most Popular Chinese Tattoo Symbols and Meanings

Tattoos nowadays are widely accepted as a form of expression. At the same time, Chinese tattoo designs are popular not only for their design and shape but also for their meaning in Chinese culture.

So you should understand the meanings of any Chinese tattoo symbols before getting one. This article will reveal the most popular and finest Chinese tattoo symbols and meanings for men and women.

Read on to find out!

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1. Chinese character tattoo

These tattoos are the most commonplace of all Chinese tattoo designs. They are simple yet eloquent.

Unlike English letters, traditional and simplified Chinese characters symbolize powerful emotions and concepts singularly. There is the friend character, love character, courage character, destiny character, etc. 

chinese character (友) for friend on 5 wrists of friends-min

A group of friends getting the Chinese symbol for friendship on their wrists, moofeeler_tattoos

Each character has flowing lines and graceful curves, making it exquisite and interesting.

Some people have small Chinese tattoos on their wrists or they choose a larger symbol on a different part of their body. So all you need to do is pick your favorite word or thought, translate it to the perfect Chinese letter, find a reputable tattoo artist, and you're good to go! 

Note: There are various Chinese characters, each representing a different meaning, so thoroughly research each symbol! This research assures you that you don't have a meaningless or embarrassing tattoo. Also, go to a reputable tattoo shop with someone specializing in Chinese symbol tattoos to flawlessly replicate the design. That's because the tattoo could easily go wrong or worse. With one wrong swoop, your Chinese symbol can mean something different from what was intended.

Chinese symbols and meanings-min

Common Chinese symbols and their meanings, Pinterest

2. Chinese calligraphy tattoo

Chinese calligraphy is writing Chinese characters as an art form with curves, corners, and flowing lines.

So these tattoos would combine purely visual art and interpretation of the literary meaning. So tattooing a Chinese calligraphy word or phrase on your body means having one of the clearest examples of artistic finesse.

Chinese Calligraphy Scripts-min

5 different calligraphy styles for the traditional Chinese character dragon (龍), AsianArt

3. Dragon tattoo

As part of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is an important Chinese cultural symbol in modern and traditional Chinese culture. So, it's widely chosen in the catalog of tattoo designs. 

In general, the dragon is the most admired creature in Asian culture. It represents power, pansophy, strength, independence, competence, wisdom, longevity, abundance, and good luck. 

You can get it in a black outline or choose from vibrant hues. Also, its designs are varied with no limitation, so you can choose a standard Chinese dragon or a Jade dragon tattoo, one with breathing fire or widespread wings. 

Blackline of a Chinese dragon with red outlined lotus flowers in the background-min

Blackline of a Chinese dragon with red outlined lotus flowers in the background, aimee_rose_tatts

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4. Chinese phoenix tattoo

A Chinese Phoenix tattoo resembles rebirth, immortality, and a new beginning of one's life. Legends said that this mythical bird is reborn from the ashes of the flames of death, signifying a journey through fire or adversity. The rising or flying Phoenix symbolizes a person who has overcome tough times. 

It's an excellent way to express a transformation or triumph of a challenge.

Chinese ink wash art style of a phoenix-min

Chinese ink wash art style of a phoenix, koizhou_tattooist

5. Snake tattoo

The snake is a very popular tattoo among Chinese people. 

From the dawn of time, the snake has been associated with irreligious symbols of regeneration and generative capacity. It's also believed to represent Caduceus and the staff of Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine, reviving, and healing. This explanation might be why this tattoo symbol has a skyscraping position for people's choice.  

Snake around peonies-min

Snake around peonies, tattoo_dark_venmon

6. Chinese Buddha tattoo

The laughing Buddha is famous worldwide as it symbolizes prosperity, happiness, and joy. Like a cross or a rosary bead tattoo, a Buddha tattoo showcases its owner's faith in others.  

The Chinese Buddha tattoos should be black and white and generally gelled with Yin-Yang symbols. Such tattoos are gracious at first look, attracting positive attention and showing their owners' respect towards their faith. 

Bodhisattva tattoo-min

Bodhisattva tattooed on a person's back, zhiyong_tattoo

7. Chinese Yin-Yang tattoo

Originating from Taoism, a Chinese philosophy that dates back to ancient times, the Yin-Yang symbolizes unity in opposites.

The Yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows and depicts protection, femininity, and the trough of a wave. The Yang represents the light swoosh, meaning brightness, passion, positive hopes, and growth. 

It's common to see koi fish as part of the yin-yang symbol, but you can also place your loved ones' names inside the Yin-Yang tattoo. 

Koi fish as part of the yin yang symbol-min

Koi fish as part of the yin yang symbol, stewartfrancis75

8. Chinese flower tattoo

If you're looking for a strikingly feminine yet meaningful tattoo, or if you are simply a nature lover, you should go for Chinese flower tattoos. 

Some typical options are cherry blossoms, which stand for femininity and love, or peonies, commonly adored as the "king of flowers." 

Chinese flower tattoos symbolize flourishing, the flow of strong energy, beauty, grace, and perfection. They also represent love, adoration, and unity.

Red Chinese ground orchid tattooed-min

Red Chinese ground orchid tattooed in a Chinese ink wash art style, chenjie.newtattoo

In closing

Many people choose to get meanings Chinese tattoo designs because they are intrigued by the symbolism and aesthetics of traditional Chinese art. But it can be difficult to find the original ancient meaning of tribal tattoos because people have started innovating their tattoos with vogue designs.

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