Panther tattoos have always been popular among tattoo enthusiasts because of their unique symbolic qualities and powerful statement.
A large aggressive cat, the panther has many facets that lend to its intrigue and mystery. Although the panther tattoo is most often a full-body image, some people choose to get a detailed drawing of the panther's head or its claws.
Those who choose animal tattoos obviously decide on an animal that represents their inner character. They want to show their uniqueness through the symbolism of the animal's traits. Then again, there are always those who just really love the NFL and want the Panther's team mascot branded on their skin :-)
A side note about black panthers: black panthers are not actually one specific kind of cat, but a group of cats that have the genetic potential to be born black. Usually when someone says “black panther”, he is referring to a black jaguar, a leopard, or even a puma or cougar.
Panther Head Tattoo
The Symbolism of Panther Tattoos
There are many things a panther tattoo can symbolize and there's a difference if the tattoo is worn by a man or by a woman:
- A strong defender
Tribal Panther Design
Panthers in Mythology
Panthers have been used in mythology all over the world:
- In Greece, a panther is the symbol of the deity Dionysus, the god of wine, theater and ecstasy. He embodied self-liberation, the ability to free oneself.
- They are seen by Pagans as a representation of motherhood, femininity and power.
- Panthers have also been used extensively in Central and South American mythology by the Aztecs and Mayans. The Aztecs believed panthers were familiars for their shamans, who believed they had the power to transcend the realms of reality and the spirit world. The Mayans also believed in the cat's ability to transcend realms.
- In China, the panther is representative of the element water and feminism.
- The black panther has been used as a symbol of Jesus Christ in the early Middle Ages.
History and Development of Panther Tattoo Designs
Amund Dietzel Crawling Panther Design
In more recent history, the famous tattoo artist Amund Dietzel developed the popular crawling panther design you can see in the picture on the right. The design is inspired by a children's book of myths and legends from the 1934, “Minute Myths” by Marie Schubert.
In the book is a story about the Cuchulain, a Gaelic hero sent to prove his worth to his desired bride. A black panther was sent to devour him as one of the feats he had to overcome. The illustration of this panther is found on the bottom corner of the first page of this story, which Dietzel adapted to create the crawling panther design, one of the most popular tattoos of the 20th century. This type of traditional panther tattoo was a very common military design.
Panther tattoo art is often large and detailed, twisting its way across muscles, with its claws digging into flesh. Occasionally it's drawn as a tribal design, either with a panther drawn in simple clean lines, or more detailed depiction of the cat against a tribal background.
Panther Tattoos for Women
Feminine Panther Tattoo
Panther tattoos symbolize women with a "wild side"...
Panthers are known to be loving and gentle with their cubs, yet fierce when it comes to defending their families. This makes a tattoo of a panther the perfect choice for a woman: they represent a courageous and attractive woman who is protective of her loved ones.
Women may choose this strong, sensual animal to symbolize ferocity and power. Panther tattoos for women are viewed as symbols of protection, or even as a symbol of rebirth and beauty. Women may choose this design to symbolize new beginnings.
Although black panther tattoos are more popular with men, more and more women are getting tattooed with panther designs because they symbolize confidence, protectiveness, freedom, beauty and a personality with a 'wild side'.
Panther Tattoos for Men
Men may choose a panther tattoo for the symbolism of strength and power. They are often chosen to show leadership, mystery, freedom and valor. Men often choose to have the design placed on a large muscle, such as the biceps or back. Their ferocity and stealth make them a great symbol of strength and confident masculinity.
Men usually opt for an aggressively looking panther as compared to the more tranquil ones often chosen by women.
Choosing a Panther Design
There are myriad tattoo styles and designs. The design of a panther in a natural background like waterfall represent calmness (water) and power (panther). These types of designs portray the cat in its distinctive natural habitat. You can also have bamboo in the tattoo design to represent the habitat of the animal.
A tattoo design depicting a panther head in water would represent hunger and its characteristics of being a sleek predator. This design indicates that the person is interesting and unique while at the same time passionate, craves attention and elicits respect from others. In addition to this, you can also go for a claw tattoo, which represents the ferocious character of a very dangerous opponent.
Tribal panther designs can make an impact and aggressive statement as well as being very attractive. It makes the design look very interesting because of the mixture of colors that are related to tribal patterns.
If you are a fun loving or humorous person you can also opt for a pink panther tattoo :)
Panthers can mean many different things to different people, but there are a few things that are clear. These animals are fierce, protective, mysterious, strong, and almost regal in their grace and poise. That is a very powerful thing to have on your body.
Here's our gallery with panther, jaguar and leopard tattoos:
Make sure you check out these designs as well: Lion Tattoo Designs...