Sharing many aspects of symbolism with lion tattoos, tiger tattoos are a common choice, a combination of beauty and strength. Tigers are the king of animals and a popular symbol in the Eastern world.
Tiger tattoo art can have the following symbolic meaning (besides your own):
- Power and might.
- Pride and beauty.
- Passion and sensuality.
- Cruelty and violence.
- Purity and courage.
- In Japan, the samurai used the tiger as an emblem, for obvious reasons.
- Tiger images and statues are used to ward off evil spirits and bring luck to families and businesses.
- In some cultures, tigers are believed to punish sinners.
This being said, ask yourself the question why you would want a tattoo of a tiger. They are or have been (90s) very popular, please don't get one because it's fashionable.
Does the animal have a special meaning to you? If so, tiger tattoo designs might be a good choice for you, but if not, drop the idea.
Usually a tattoo of a tiger is quite large because of the nature of the image. If you don't have a tiger in your heart, you might start regretting your tattoo some day (and let me tell you, tattoo removal is not easy, nor cheap on such a large tattoo).
Tribal Tiger Tattoos
The geometric shapes and swirls of the tribal tattoo style work very well on tiger tattoos. The natural stripes on a tiger's coat, as well as the action with which the cat moves lend themselves well to be stylized in the tribal style.
White Tiger Tattoos
Only one white tiger was ever found in the wild. He was captured and brought to the United States where he was bread to a normal colored tiger. When she did not produce white cubs, they bred him to his daughter. This resulted in a white colored cub, and every white tiger seen since then has been a direct result of inbreeding. Inbreeding often results in stillborn cubs, premature birth, cleft palate, and they often miss things as vital as the roof of their mouth. All white tigers are cross eyed and so are handicapped by default.
White tiger tattoos could symbolize the fact that you are someone special, one of a kind. Knowing the information above though, why would you want a white tiger tattoo?
The Siberian Tiger Tattoo
The largest (and one of the rarest) of all tiger species, with males reaching over ten feet from nose-tip to tail-tip, the Siberian tiger haunts the forests of Southeastern Russia and parts of China .
Perilously close to extinction, only a few hundred of these majestic animals remain in the wild. Tiger tattoos depicting the Siberian tiger are symbolic in and of themselves -- power unmatched.
Popular Tiger Tattoo Combinations
Tiger tattoos are combined with other tattoo designs. The most popular combinations are those with:
- Dragons: popular is a tiger combined with a dragon in the Chinese yin yang style. The dragon symbolizes protection (female force), the tiger means power (male force).
More Dragon Tattoos...
- Butterflies: the face of a tiger in the shape of a butterfly is also a popular design.
More Butterfly Tattoos...
- Flowers: Japanese flowers, like cherry blossom, go well with a tiger tattoo. There's also a flower called Tiger Lily, that's popular as a tattoo design.
More Flower Tattoos...
The most popular spots for a tiger tattoo:
- The back: tiger tattoos are usually large in size, the back has got plenty of space.
- The legs: a tiger crawling up your leg is a popular tattoo design.
- Upper arm: also a good place for a crawling tiger tattoo.
A man called Dennis Smith (San Diego), is turning himself into a tiger with the help of cosmetic surgery and tattoos.
A list of his body modifications:
- He's got orange and black tiger stripes tattooed on his body from head to toes.
- His teeth have been sharpened by filing them.
- He's got latex whisker implants.
- He had his lips modified.
- He wants a surgeon to graft tiger fur on his skin.
Famous Tiger Tattoos
Only 3 celebrities with a tiger tattoo that I can think of, let me know if you know more:
- Angelina Jolie: more about Angelina Jolie's tattoos here...
- Cyndi Lauper: has a tiger tattoo on her left ankle.
- Lucy Liu: has a tiger on her lower back.
Some people also get the design of a tiger cub tattooed. I have yet to see the first guy with a baby tiger tattoo, but it's a fairly popular feminine tattoo design.
Beyond their cultural and spiritual significance, tiger tattoos may also serve as the declaration of support for animal rights; after all, the tiger, which is the largest of the "big cats," is critically endangered, and many sub-species of the massive predator have already become extinct.