Tribal Dragon Tattoo Designs
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A tribal dragon tattoo gives you the best of two worlds: a creature of far eastern mythology combined with the popular form of tribal art. Traditionally, eastern tattooing depicts symbolic creatures in rich, vibrant colors, a great contrast to the monochrome style of tribal art.
Dragons have a difference in meaning between cultures: in the West, the dragon is seen as an evil creature, in the East as a benevolent. The meaning of a tribal dragon tattoo is usually something personal though.
Here's our gallery of tribal dragon tattoo designs, click the thumbnails to enlarge:
Lore of the Dragon
Dragons have a rich mythological history in both Asian and European cultures. In some societies, they were related to water and were serpentine in nature. In other societies, they were winged, more related to the skies and could fly.
Here are a few of the many legends and myths that surround these unique creatures:
- In most oriental traditions, dragons are associated with power. They are long, snake-like and have feet with claws.
- In Hinduism, they have several heads that are often depicted to resemble a cobra's head. The belief is that they are divine, good in nature and are often associated with certain lands that are held as sacred.
- In the philippines, the ancient native myth is that the dragon, a serpent kind, would rise from the ocean to swallow the moon.
- In Greece, these ancient creatures were used as protectors and were known as "all seeing".
- The Vikings also believed in the dragon's ability to see all, and adorned the bow of their ships with dragon heads.
- In Italy, legend has it that they could kill human beings with just one look.
- Similarly, many Western and European cultures portray them as evil or to be feared. Often they are fire-breathing beasts with a mean temperament.
Most people go for a black tribal dragon, both you might want to add a little color somehow for a striking effect of contrast. For instance, an all black design with that has bright red flames shooting out of the mouth, red eyes and/or a bright red sun as a background.
If you are considering a larger piece, then you might want to include other creatures that are closely related. For example, in many of the Asian philosophies, dragons were paired with other animals or symbols that had special meaning:
- The yin yang symbol can be used to designate the balance of opposites, and is found in many Asian art forms. The dragon would be a yang and its opposite the phoenix, a yin. The two together also signifies marriage or marital bliss, showing the yin yang relationship between male and female. Placing the two together in yin yang fashion could be an interesting design enhanced with tribal in the background.
- The tiger also has a special place in Asian folklore. Sometimes the tiger is known as the king of land and the dragon as ruler of the seas. In many mythologies, the tiger is ridden by the gods.
Here are some more pics of tribal dragon tattoos: