Many people view dolphins and dolphin tattoos as highly symbolic – these intelligent creatures are seen as a friendly and benevolent protector and a symbol of the joy and abundance that is associated with the ocean. The dolphin has a near-universal appeal and it almost always draws positive connotations to mind.
That being said, a nice dolphin tattoo is hard to find. For some reason, they turn out bad most of the time. If you're going for a dolphin tattoo, make sure you find a skilled tattoo artist.
Dolphins & Their Cultural Meaning
The dolphin has a rich symbolic history. It has been admired and lauded in several cultures for thousands of years:
- The Celts were one of the earliest cultures to appreciate the dolphin. In ancient Celtic art, it stands for prosperity, wisdom, and guidance. Because it lives in the sea, the Celts came to associate dolphins with rejuvenation and a new start in life as well.
- The ancient Greeks also incorporated the dolphin into their mythology. In Greek legends, the animal carried human souls to the “Island of the Blessed” after death. The Greeks saw the dolphin as a mystic figure with a spiritual connection to the sea and the entire universe. They interpreted the presence of dolphins riding in a ship’s wake as a very good omen.
- Some people see the dolphin as a representation of Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of rejuvenation and new life, just as some believe Christ came to bring new life to people on earth.
Dolphin tattoos have a different meaning to different people, but there are some similarities:
- They can express someone's desire for a deeper spirituality, dignity, wisdom and balance in life. Many people choose to get a dolphin tattoo to remind themselves of these qualities each day, and to make an outward statement of the type of person they are striving to be.
- Freedom and playfulness. The image of a dolphin sailing through deep sea waters brings to mind ideas of free-spirited independence.
- Some people get a dolphin tattoo simply because it is cute and because it makes them smile when they see it.
Both men and women get dolphin tattoos. For women it is popular as a lower back tattoo, a belly button, ankle or wrist tattoo. Men get them on the shoulder, lower leg or upper back. Men usually go for serious and realistic tattoo art, women in general prefer a more flowery and mystical vibe.
Dolphins are often combined with other symbols, like a fairy, the moon, sun, stars, waves, the yin yang symbol, hearts and so on. Of course, the dolphin and unicorn are a classic combination and can be considered the most epic duo of all time.
The dolphin image is a versatile one. This is partly because of the various shapes in which it can be depicted – normally oblong, it can be curled into a near-spherical shape without looking distorted. You can have an outstretched dolphin, or even a chain of them (nose to tail), to form an armband – or you can have the image curled around your bellybutton. The latter were very popular tattoo designs a few years ago.
Dolphins can also be adapted to a variety of other tattoo styles, like Celtic or Tribal styles. Tribal dolphin tattoos show a dolphin as a totem animal. The Celtic version incorporates the dolphin into the typical Celtic knotwork.
No matter what style of you decide to get, your tattoo will be a positive day-to-day reminder of the kind of person you seek to be and will encourage you to focus on the important elements of life, while not neglecting joy and happiness.
If you're into dolphins, you'll like these designs as well: Dragon Tattoo Designs