10 Best Asian Dragon Tattoo Ideas You’ll Have To See To Believe!
Looking for ideas for your new tattoo? Well, we have compiled here some of the best Asian dragon tattoo ideas that will help you stand out amidst the crowd!
Dragons have always played a big part in not just Chinese and Japanese mythology, but all around Asia.
As dangerous as these creatures look, the dragon represents prosperity, growth, and good luck in Asia. So, it is no wonder that tattooing these creatures on your body has become such an overwhelming trend.
Although the West has always associated dragons with evil and the embodiment of chaos, it has never really impacted the craze of dragon tattoos negatively. Since this trend of tattoos began increasing, this is one of those tattoo designs that has never seen the fall of its kind much like the Phoenix tattoos. It is actually one of the most popular tattoos depicting Asian culture along with the famous yin yang tattoo designs. In fact, over time it has become symbolic to represent your inner fierce power, untamed style, and the will of fire to determine which way to turn in your life.
Typically pictured as a creature with four legs and claws, a body full of scales shaped like a snake, the Chinese dragons are known to turn into dragon kings and live in the four oceans, creating rain and protecting sea dwellers, and providing wisdom. However, even in the cultures of the East, there is a difference between the Chinese and Japanese symbols and meanings of the dragon. The most noticeable difference between them is the number of toes on their claws. Apart from that, this ancient mythical creature represents a fiercer monstrous image in Japan than in China although it is known to provide good luck and wisdom similarly. The Japanese dragon seems to be a mixture of both western and eastern cultures. Being rich in culture and mythology the dragon has been depicted in the tribal art styles of both China and Japan and is one of the most infamous tattoo designs all over the world.
So, if you are thinking about what to get for your first tattoo or whether you want to add a new one to your growing collection, well, look no further, this just might be the one you have been looking for. The best thing about these tattoo designs is that you can add your own details into them, from general intricacies to things that hold a significant value, you can combine it all. You can get it in a simple black or red ink or put in a vibrant range of colours from blue to green to gold to yellow and none of it will ever look out of place. So, please take a look at this list of these amazing dragon tattoo ideas to learn more, and who knows, you might just find the inspiration for your next tattoo in the process!
Amazing Traditional Chinese Dragon Tattoos
Dragons are one of the designs that tattoo artists love to experiment with. This is one of those tattoos that can set you apart from the rest with its fine lines and little details of the scales. Not too extravagant and not too delicate, this one represents a layered personality and innate wisdom perfectly. It shows you can balance your life with a style that many people are unable to do. This can be a perfect match for both men and women who can take risks while being prepared for the outcome at all times.
Although, not exactly a classic dragon tattoo, this is one of the instances where we can see the artist experimenting with different styles and art designs. This tattoo is a perfect blend of mythology and traditional cultures of China that is associated with both the symbols of the dragon and the yin yang energy. From the obscure fine lines used to draw the dragon to the prominent yin yang, it looks ancient and represents a sense of style with mythology and culture behind its inspiration. It becomes a symbol of your inner beliefs of the natural world and both the light and dark aspects that are associated with it. Delicate yet prominent this design is among the best of the best when it comes to looking for inspiration for your first ink.
The Breath Taking Japanese Dragon Tattoo
When it comes to the traditions of Japan, these dragons are usually more monstrous-looking than their counterparts in Chinese culture. Although still bearing the same meanings in terms of providing good fortune and wisdom and protecting everyone like a benevolent god, they can sometimes become the theme of our nightmares. This is why it is no wonder that the Japanese dragon tattoo is always a lot more vibrant, colourful, and look powerful. This Japanese dragon tattoo is no different when it comes to depicting the Japanese culture with fierce features, intricate details, and its snake-like body entwined around a katana. It represents your fierce nature and your will of fire to wield your own life like you would wield a katana while keeping careful watch over it like a fierce dragon. It shows your take no prisoners attitude and unwillingness to do anything by half measures. If you want your tattoo to represent your inner self then this could be the one you are looking for. Instead of a katana, you can even add other details that hold significant value to you!
This is a wonderful design of a koi-dragon, that is created by merging the bodies of a snake-shaped fire-breathing dragon and a koi fish together to form a fictional mythical monster. Separately, the dragon represents power, fierceness, and strength, while the koi represents spiritual balance, perseverance, and strength of will. Together they symbolize all the goodness of both of these creatures. This is why the koi-dragon is one of the most popular tattoo styles depicting Japanese mythology, culture, and art styles. This tattoo can symbolize your inner strength of will, endurance, and fierceness with a design that is both fierce and fun to look at with its red, black, blue, and green body. The best part is you can even add on other details or colours to customize it to your taste. How cool is that!
Asian Dragon Tattoos You Have To See To Believe
This beautiful depiction of a Chinese dragon tattoo is ferocious yet packed with finer details. This sleeve tattoo with its blue eyes and fine lines shows your ability to see the bigger picture while keeping an eye out for the little details. It shows that you can balance both of them out without losing yourself in one thing and ignoring the other. It shows that you have a plan before taking every step but are also unafraid of taking it as it comes. If you want a tattoo that will show represent your inner self, then this just could be the one you are looking for. It also has a touch of the dragon from the Dragon Ball series, Shenron.
Intricate Asian Dragon Tattoos With Details You Can Not Miss
This Japanese dragon tattoo with its intricate details of the dragon’s body twisted around the blooming flowers and vines will satisfy your soul if you are one of those people who can find meaning in the little things in life. It says a lot about your patience. The wisdom behind finding happiness in the simple things in life is unparalleled, as the traditional Asian cultures often teach us. This tattoo at once represents your fierce power while at the same time with its scales entwined with the blooming flowers, it also portrays your serene personality. So if you are looking for inspirations for your next tattoo, this flank dragon tattoo might just be the one you have been searching for. Along with a nod to the Japanese culture, it gives a nod to your personality and sense of art as well.
Cute Asian Dragon Tattoos That Will Melt Your Heart
If you want a dragon tattoo but are unwilling to unleash a monstrous creature on your body, then this just might be the one you are looking for. Yes, it is true that dragons are usually monstrous creatures, but no one said that they can not be cute, right? This tattoo actually shows that you are an easygoing, fun-loving, friendly person unless of course, someone dares to take advantage of your kindness. You are not at all afraid to let the dragon out then. This tattoo dragon is a kind and gentle reminder of a cute personality with a flower heart. So, if you are someone who loves cute painting rather than a more rough outlook on art, then this dragon tattoo is the one for you. You can even add some other symbols or colours to suit your personality and customize it to your taste.
Asian Dragon Tattoos To Up Your Sleeve Style Game
This tattoo is a perfect example of mixing and matching different styles and interpretations. The fire-breathing dragons are one of the most ferocious creatures, and to pair them up with a dainty daisy is really unique. This shows that you can put your personal touches to provide a unique point of view to any piece of art, and tattoos, obviously, are one of the best ways to do it. It shows your unique flair of style and point of view while respecting the meanings associated with the traditional values of China and Japan. As tattoos are one of the best fields to experiment on, do not shy away from experimenting to your heart’s desire and put yourself out there by mix and matching with these Asian dragon tattoos.
Asian Dragon Tattoos With Tribal Designs You Need To See
Who does not love a good Dragon tattoo or a good Tribal one! But, both of these together? Well, by the looks of these tattoos, it seems like the best idea ever. This depiction of a Chinese dragon tattoo made with tribal lines is so beautiful it takes your breath away. This Chinese dragon tattoo not only shows your natural talent for a style that is sleek, poised, underrated yet breathtaking at the same time. In Chinese culture and mythology, these fire-breathing creatures represent benevolence, power, and fierceness, and Chinese dragon tattoos are the best way to symbolize all your inner strengths and firmness of personality. So, if you are confused between a tribal design and a dragon tattoo, why not mix them and get both at the same time!
Another incredible tattoo you can go for if you want a tattoo-dragon on your back without the extravagant flairs added on. This design is sleek yet minimalistic and speaks a ton about a person’s core behaviour and way of looking at things with a slight nod to the symbols of Chinese culture. You could add on some simple minimalistic koi fish which symbolize the strength of personality in Japan to make it even more appealing.
Beautiful Asian Dragon Tattoo Designs For Your First Back Tattoo
If you want a vibrantly colourful eastern dragon tattoo, then this beautiful back piece might just be the one for you. This dragon tattoo is associated with the owner’s bold, power-packed nature, patience, and the ability to see things through to the end. The best thing is you can even change the colour of this tattoo design from green to blue or some other colour to give it your own personal touch.
If you are looking for a little more dainty design of Chinese dragon tattoos, then this red dragon tattoo is definitely the one you should be looking at. With fine lines and an overall delicate appearance, this one should feed your inner need for sophistication like nothing else can.
Tattoo Designs That Will Bring Out Your Inner Lisbeth Salander
Depicting an Asian dragon tattoo design is nothing new when it comes to literature and movies. So, while talking about that, we absolutely can not ignore Lisbeth Salander, the infamous ‘girl with the dragon tattoo’ from Steig Larsson’s book of the same name. Played by Rooni Maara, this character overwhelmingly portrays the mysterious nooks and crannies of the human mind. It shows how things are not all that they show on the surface. This dragon tattoo perfectly summarizes all that and more. It speaks of the owner’s curious and observant nature with keen attention to detail, which often ends up surprising everyone else around them. So, if you are someone who identifies with these traits then this is the one for you.
Best Dragon Tattoo Designs From Fantasies
When it comes to talking about the portrayal of dragons in fiction, we can not miss mentioning the dragons of ‘Game Of Thrones’. Those fierce creatures took not just Westeros by storm but its after-effects were felt here in the real world as well. They inspired a myriad of dragon tattoos, one of which we can even see on the wrist of actress Emilia Clarke who gave a face to our queen ‘Mother Of Dragons’ Daenerys Targaryen. Inspired by that, this is a little tattoo of three dragons at flight. This dragon tattoo represents a force of nature, rebirth or new beginnings, and the rise from the roadside to the proverbial throne. If you want to get a dragon tattoo that is a little different from the typical Japanese or Chinese dragon, then this could be the one for you.
In the end, another depiction of dragons in western literature we absolutely can not forget is that in Harry Potter. From flying away from the dragon to flying on its back away from danger and adversity, this series has shown us everything. If you are a Potterhead like most of us, then this Harry Potter themed sleeve tattoo is definitely going to be your cup of tea.
Asian dragon tattoos have been a signature of both pride and honour for both men and women throughout the years. People love to engrave them as sleeve, back, or leg tattoos. With their snake-shaped body, terrifying claws, and vibrantly coloured scales, these fire-breathing creatures show strength and a sense of style like nothing else can. They may not have existed and be a part of a myth, but they are alive in all our minds. You could choose one of the tattoos listed above for your next big ink, or just customize it your own way with a few mix and matched ideas from here and there. Here are a few more dragon tattoo idea suggestions that you could opt for.
- Shenron Dragon Ball Z dragon tattoo.
- Skyrim Alduin dragon tattoo.
- Lord of the Rings Dragon tattoo.
- Water dragon tattoo
- Dragon bursting into flames tattoo
Dragon Tattoo Ideas, History, and Meaning: Chinese and Japanese Designs
Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.
The Dragon Tattoo
The dragon is a popular and powerful design worn by both women and men, and although it can be designed in various sizes, the detailing and shading involved in most depictions often make this tattoo a larger-sized project. Some of the attributes and traits associated with the dragon are strength, courage, and independence.
In this article, we will discuss designs and review the meanings of the dragon tattoo, and you will have the opportunity to view a wide variety of photographs. We hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo.
Dragon Tattoos in History
Dragons are one of the most legendary creatures in the history of mythology and folklore. Dragons are a part of the historic culture of China, Japan, Vietnam, and many other countries. According to most Eastern civilizations, dragons were noble creatures with distinct honors and powers, while in the mythologies of European civilizations, they were usually considered evil and dark.
The symbolism of dragon tattoos cover a wide range of meanings. One civilization may consider dragons a symbol of strength and wisdom, while another may consider them to be greedy and a bad omen. The Chinese (representing wisdom, good luck, and goodwill), Japanese (representing balance), and Celtic dragon styles (often shown with crowns and thrones depicting power and strength) are among the most popular.
The Eastern dragon is seen as a noble beast that offers wisdom and protection while in ancient Western culture, it represents a much darker and more threatening creature. However, both are usually depicted as a very intelligent creature free to roam wherever it wishes. Thus, the dragon tattoo can also depict the freedom of your soul or life.
The dragon symbolizes protection, power, and wisdom. Its fearsome and warlike qualities make it a wonderful ally or a fierce enemy. Most people have heard stories about the knight slaying the dragon and winning the love of the princess. Among many ancient cultures, slaying the dragon is one of the highest honors a person can achieve. Think of the stories of St. George or Beowulf, although in both, the dragon might also represent pre-Christian thought.
One of the great features about the dragon is that it can be done in a variety of different styles, realistic or abstract, cartoonish or dramatic. Many are done in solid ink and follow the tribal style of tattooing. Even so, we are seeing more and more colored tribal tattoos today. Whether you choose solid black ink or color, the dragon tattoo gives a wide range of options to consider when designing your dragon tattoo.
The dragon's shape can be manipulated to fit in a wide variety of different locations on the body, although its most popular placement is on or near the shoulder. Among the Chinese, it is not unusual to see full-body tattoos that incorporate other symbols. At one time in history, members of the Chinese mafia wore these full-body tattoos which became synonymous with criminal conduct and were looked down upon as well as illegal. Nowadays, this criminal association is no longer common.
The number nine is a very special number for the Chinese. It is the largest single digit and associated with the dragon. A "nine dragon wall" is a barrier that is often found around imperial Chinese palaces and gardens. Only the most senior officials are allowed to wear the nine dragons on their robes, while other lower-ranking officers wear eight or fewer.
Chinese and Japanese Dragon Types and Meanings
The Asian dragon is one of the most popular mythological creatures picked for tattoo designs. They are a variety of different styles to chose from such as, winged and wingless, with snake-like features such as scales or cartoonish versions, with or without whiskers or horns. The dragon is believed to have the ability to multiply anything that it touches. They can be associated with the heavens or the sea. Japanese dragons are usually slender and wingless and have just three claws, while the Chinese or "celestial kingdom" types have five claws and beards of flames.
The Asian dragon represents balance. For the Chinese, the dragon represents one half of the yin and yang; the phoenix represents the other half. The Chinese believe in finding a perfect balance of yin and yang, and dragons might also symbolize the perfect mixture of good and evil. The colorful Japanese dragon, part of their cultural mythology for hundreds of years, represents balance, freedom, and good luck. It also is known to have supernatural powers and wisdom.
Many people choose a dragon to represent balance in their life. It is thought that balance is crucial for success.
- Chinese Dragons symbolize power, strength, and fear.
- Horned Dragons are known as the top dragons, strongest of all.
- Celestial Dragons are protectors of the Gods and heavens.
- Earth Dragons, also found in Chinese astrology, are the kind that rule the earth.
- Yellow Dragons are hornless and known for their knowledge.
- Treasure Dragons are the protectors of precious gems and other valuable earthly elements.
- Spiritual Dragons are in total control of the wind and rain.
- Coiling Dragons are the ones that live in the oceans.
There are six dragons in Japanese culture. Here are their names and meanings:
- Han-Riu, with stripes all over its body, is one of the biggest dragons with lengths up to forty feet.
- Kai-Riu, a beautiful red-colored dragon, is usually smaller than the others.
- Sue-Riu, the king of all dragons, is in control of rain.
- Ri-Riu is known to be a very rare breed and hard to find. Little is known about it, but it does have amazing eyesight.
- Hai-Riyo, known as a dragon bird, is one of the most advanced forms of dragons. It evolved out of Chinese mythology.
- Fuku Riu is the most favored dragon of all, known for good luck.
You may or may not have known, but the colors to the dragon also have meanings. Certain colors represent certain attributes.
- Black means that the parents are old and wise.
- Green is usually associated with smaller dragons. It also represents life and earth.
- Blue is associated with those from the West and represents laziness, compassion, and forgiveness.
- Yellow is associated with those from the East and those who are self-centered and helpful.
- Gold has great attributes, such as wisdom, kindness, and helpfulness.
Although certain colors and dragons have certain symbolic meanings, many are chosen just for their design. Either way, the Asian dragon makes a great tattoo for anyone and can be mixed with other styles, such as Celtic art and tribal designs.
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What Does A Dragon Tattoo Symbolize?
It is interesting how in the East, dragons are considered lucky and overall positive animals, however in the West, they are often viewed as destructive monsters.
Either way, dragons are packed full of symbolism and date back to ancient times when they were created by either the Chinese or Japanese (we won’t get into this argument).
Dragons are truly fierce mythological creatures, however, they represent many positive aspects of life and bring good luck to anyone wearing one as a tattoo.
Here are some of the main meanings involved with dragon tattoos :
- Good Fortune
- Triumph Over Evil
Dragons traditionally, especially in Chinese culture, have always brought good luck.
The dragon in almost any style or design represents good fortune for those who wear it as a tattoo.
Luck is needed in everyone’s life, so why not bring some with you?
Dragons may not technically be real (I guess that’s debatable) but they are known to have powerful abilities that supersede those of animals.
A dragon tattoo means that you are either a powerful person or you want a little more power in your life.
Dragons are also strong.
Not just in the physical way, but with their minds, dragons are strong and capable beings that can help people in many ways with their powers.
Dragon tattoos provide the wearer with positive strength that can help them through dark times.
Dragons are in fact so powerful that they even have the ability to triumph over evil.
Dragons are typically ethical beings who want the best for humans.
A dragon tattoo can represent the desire in the wearer to defeat evil and bring good into this world.
Dragon Tattoo Meanings Across Various Cultures
Though dragon mythology originated in the East, many cultures all over the world have taken on the concept of the dragon and came up with their own meaning for the representation of the creature.
Let’s take a look at what dragons mean to different cultures, including ancient cultures, around the world:
Japanese Dragon Tattoo Meanings
Dragons have been a popular subject throughout Japanese tattoo history since 1757, with the development of woodblock printing and the translation of the Chinese novel Suikoden, which showed heroes with tattoos of dragons, tigers, and other such images.
Japanese dragon tattoos can be colorful, exciting designs, emphasizing the dragon’s sharp teeth and fiery scales.
The colors used in these tattoos can be blue, yellow, pink, and red.
When the dragon tattoo is done in black ink, the dragon’s body is often contoured as if it is in motion.
Each Japanese dragon tattoo design makes the dragon look like a powerful, strong, and menacing creature.
As far as the meaning of Japanese dragon tattoos, the dragon to the Japanese is a mythological creature that symbolizes strength, wealth, and is seen as a guardian over people.
These are just a few of the meanings of a Japanese dragon tattoo.
For example, it can also symbolize wisdom, being noble, and power.
Among these many meanings, there’s a commonality of the great positivity that a dragon tattoo has for the Japanese and for their culture, unlike western cultures, which can view dragons as an evil menace that must be killed.
For the Yazuka, the dragon is a common Japanese tattoo symbol.
The Yazuka believe that dragons symbolize the duality of heaven and Earth and that there is never a winner or loser in life because we all end up in the afterlife.
It is also important to note that dragons in Yakuza tattoos are placed on the upper part of the body because they believe dragons are rulers of the sky.
Japanese dragon tattoos have different meanings or personalities depending on the color of the design.
We’ll talk a little more about specific colors later, but for now, here are a few key colors to be aware of.
Red dragon tattoos are powerful while green dragons are associated with nature.
Black dragon tattoos are wise and experienced, while blue dragons are benevolent and forgiving.
Gold dragon tattoos represent value and virtue, not to be confused with yellow dragon tattoos, which represent a noble nature.
- Neo-Japanese Dragon Tattoos
If you like the style of tebori tattoos but want something a little more modern, a Neo-Japanese dragon tattoo is the way to go.
Neo-Japanese tattoos take their inspiration from traditional images and work contemporary elements into the design.
This often means re-imagining historic depictions of Japanese dragons from paintings and woodblock prints in a 3D perspective.
Sleeves are a very popular form of Neo-Japanese dragon tattoo due to the mythological creature’s intricate, twisting shape.
For a Japanese dragon tattoo that’s really authentic, you might want to consider the tebori technique.
This traditional method of tattooing dates all the way back to the start of the Edo period in the 17th-century and involves using a slim bamboo or metal tool called a nomi with a set of needles fastened to its tip to apply the tattoo by hand.
A lot of people think that tebori tattoos will be more uncomfortable than a modern tattoo machine, but this is a common misconception.
Tebori tattoo technique is less invasive than a modern one, resulting in a faster aging process.
Have a search for your nearest Irezumi artist to learn more about the process and Japanese tattoo history.
Aztec Dragon Tattoo Meaning
An Aztec dragon tattoo typically is a dragon shown as if made of Aztec stones like a sculpture.
It also has a feather headdress just like tattoos of Aztec Gods, or, a long stone tail spreading into oblivion at its tip.
These tattoos are interesting-looking and look both fierce and artistic.
The meaning of this style of tattoo is hard to define.
Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent God, was a sort of dragon.
Therefore, many Aztec tattoos that look like dragons may be in fact representing Quetzalcoatl.
Because of this, it most likely means attaining knowledge and being wise, as well as a love of life and great luck throughout life’s challenges.
Yin Yang Dragon Tattoo Meaning
One of the main concepts of the dragon tattoo is the yin and yang meaning.
This tattoo usually shows a dragon circling or wrapped around a yin and yang symbol.
The dragon is typically in color to emphasize the white and black yin and yang symbol.
The yin yang tattoo represents the flow of energy and equalizing qualities of the universe.
There are both yin dragons and yang dragons, which can each be shown stylistically in the tattoo.
For example, yang dragons are shown as wingless and masculine.
They represent acting on your motives in a positive way with courage.
On the other hand, a yin dragon is a feminine symbol and represents darker energy full of introspection.
Whichever dragon you pick to be along the yin and yang tattoo will say something about your personality.
Chinese Dragon Tattoo Meaning
For the Chinese, the dragon is arguably the most important symbol of their culture.
Chinese dragon tattoos can be in color, made with black ink, or made with black ink, and a little bit of color used as an accent such as adding red flames in the background.
When color is used, the dragon is generally green or red.
When the color is used as an accent, it is typically red, purple, or blue.
Also, a dragon aimed toward the sky is the way it should be: dragons aimed downward in a tattoo are bad omens.
The Chinese dragon tattoo has many meanings including good luck, protection, wisdom, peace, strength, and power.
Getting Chinese dragon tattoos can help you enhance any of these skills or properties in your life.
Perhaps the most important part of Chinese tattoos is their meaning of good luck, which is celebrated throughout Chinese history as well as in their culture today.
The Chinese also include two of our most popular meanings for the dragon: power and strength.
These two meanings do not seem that different at first glance, but they differ greatly.
To the Chinese, a powerful dragon tattoo is one that shows that you have great control over others (in a positive way) because of your ability to be a great leader.
Strength in a dragon tattoo refers to the greatness of being centered enough in life to succeed in an upward trajectory and never lose focus on your goals.
Korean Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Korean dragon tattoos differ in their appearance greatly.
There are Korean dragon tattoos with a dragon flying upwards with Korean symbols on its body, or even ones with large colorful dragon faces with sharp fangs.
These tattoos can use back ink or be in bright colors.
The dragon’s face may even be part of a large mask with its eyes and fangs popping out of it.
The Korean’s view dragons in a more spiritual way than the Chinese of Japanese.
They play a large role in Korean ancient stories and a huge part of their culture.
One figure of these stories, called the Dragon King, welcomed strangers and all who came to him and was generous in that way to a fault.
Therefore, a Korean dragon tattoo means that you are welcoming and kind to others.
Another meaning of a Korean dragon tattoo is luck, providing the wearer with a good omen.
Korean dragons are also associated with power, meaning if you have this tattoo you are or will be a powerful person.
Viking Dragon Tattoo Meaning
The Nidhogg was the name of the historic Norse dragon, and it was viewed by Vikings as either a serpent or a dragon that stood for losing one’s honor or being a ‘bad guy’.
This is probably because the Norse believed this monster chewed up the bodies of those who have done harm to others, such as adultery or murder.
Nidhogg tattoos typically appear tribal, with many curving stripes wrapping around the monster often with Norse lettering.
The tattoos almost appear to be wood carvings in style.
They use black ink along with grey ink and white for shading to create the Nidhogg as either a singular image or as part of a large piece full of Norse tattoo imagery.
The meaning of having a Nidhogg tattoo isn’t that you are a bad guy.
Quite the opposite, it means you agree with the monster and view evil people as those who need to be stopped and maybe even punished.
The Nidghoog is also the symbol of death, meaning its wearer has the ability to conquer death or survive it.
Not to mention, this dragon is huge and powerful, so wearing it may provide you with some of that strength.
Celtic Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Celtic dragon tattoo designs form an interesting style because the dragon itself is created by Celtic symbols, gemstones, swords, arrowheads, and geometric designs.
The dragon is either composed of these symbols or surrounded by them and is in black and grey or in color.
Celtic dragons were considered protectors of the Earth, and for that reason, symbolize power and the wisdom of leaders.
Due to their mythical powers, they also can represent mystery and the uncertainty of life’s mythological creatures being real or just fantasy.
Worn by King Arthur on his helmet, the Celtic dragon is most often paired with other Celtic tattoo themes of power.
Tribal Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Tribal tattoo style is a common way to tattoo a dragon and is one of the more trendy dragon styles right now.
The style shows a dragon with or without wings made up of just shapes or illustrated in a very basic way.
I say basic not to mean these tattoos are not complex: the shapes and lines used could be called basic, but the composition is highly technical.
The way these tattoos are designed fits shapes and lines together like a puzzle, or like the design of a coloring book.
The meaning of tribal dragon tattoos is combined with legends all around the world.
It includes meanings such as protection, which comes from both Eastern and Western cultures.
Also, many cultures fear dragons and consider them evil creatures somehow related to the devil, meaning a tribal dragon tattoo could symbolize strength and overcoming challenges.
Vietnamese Dragon Tattoo Meaning
The Vietnamese people believe they were descended from a dragon and a fairy according to common mythology.
Their dragon represents the symbol of yang, which represents all of existence, life, and growth.
The Vietnamese style of dragon tattoo is often a highly detailed image.
Done in any color, these dynamic creatures are known to be wrapped up within themselves ready to attack or seemingly squirming like a snake.
They do not often have wings but instead fire coming out of their bodies.
The meaning of this style of tattoo has a lot to do with the Vietnamese belief that the dragon represents the symbol yang, from yin and yang.
These are parts to one symbol which represents balance on Earth, and the yang part of it symbolizes masculinity, the sky, breath and heat (hence, dragon), and nobility.
Therefore, not only do Vietnamese dragons symbolize life, but they also symbolize the power and strength of nobility.
The way they can symbolize masculinity in a tattoo is by saying that you are a good husband or father.
The Meanings of Dragon Tattoo Colors
Every color has its own meaning.
When connected to a dragon, this color takes shape into a specific meaning meant for a dragon tattoo.
These meanings can be more detailed depending on the style of the dragon tattoo and its design.
However, color is an important aspect of any tattoo, especially dragon tattoos.
Let’s take a look at some colorful dragon tattoos and their meanings:
- Red Dragon Tattoo Meaning
A red dragon tattoo is typical of the tribal tattoo style as well as the Chinese style of tattoos though it can be used in practically any style.
It can symbolize strength because the color red symbolizes toughness.
Another reason this is a great color dragon tattoo to get is that it symbolizes power.
Power in a red dragon tattoo represents not only the strength of the dragon but also its magical powers.
Another meaning of this color of dragon tattoo is individuality.
Wearing this tattoo means that not only are you unique enough to have a red dragon tattoo but this tattoo will give you magical help to become more apart from others in a way that’s healthy.
The red dragon is said to represent strength and a vigorous nature.
A red dragon tattoo is a popular choice due to the way its distinctive color stands out against black and grey tattoos.
The tattoo will help you not rely on others as much and find your own way.
- Golden Dragon Tattoo Meaning
There’s a reason that the golden dragon is gold.
It is the king of all dragons, because not only does it represent all life on Earth, but for the Chinese, it symbolizes people’s greatest traits.
It represents wealth, wisdom, and good health.
These are seen as traits given to someone who has chosen the correct path in life and who is a good person.
Someone would get a golden dragon tattoo if they feel they deserve these things and are on the right path.
There’s another reason this is the king of all dragon colors.
The golden dragon for the Chinese would represent the emperor himself and therefore was a highly respected symbol.
This is also part of why the golden dragon symbolizes wealth (emperors are rich) but for other cultures as well as the Chinese this tattoo symbolizes great prosperity because the color gold itself is (obviously) the color of gold.
- Blue Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Descended from 800-year-old blue-gold dragons, blue dragons in Japanese folklore are guardians of the Eastern signs of the Japanese Zodiac and symbolize approaching spring.
They have been used to represent leadership and are seen as gentle and forgiving in nature.
Japanese blue dragon tattoos are often accompanied by flower tattoos due to their links with nature.
The blue dragon is related to certain astrological symbols, representing Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius.
This would be a great tattoo for someone born under these signs.
These astrological symbols also dictate much of the meaning behind the blue dragon.
For example, The Sagittarius sign often means that someone is highly independent.
You may want to get a blue dragon tattoo if you are a lone wolf or someone who likes to do things themselves.
A part of being an Aries is being open-minded, which is the next meaning the blue dragon symbolizes.
This tattoo can mean that you are not only a free-spirited individual but that you have an open mind to matters of religion, politics, and others’ suffering (you may be an empath).
Other meanings of the blue dragon tattoo are generosity in the form of giving to others, and creativity, or if you are someone who comes up with creative solutions to problems.
- Green Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Green dragons are often seen as a branch between heaven and Earth since green is a mix of blue and yellow and is in between being a warm and cool color.
For that reason, they can symbolize life and death and the relationship between the two, causing a green dragon tattoo to mean you understand the life cycle or that you believe in life beyond the one we live on Earth.
Along the same lines, this tattoo is also a major symbol of spring, meaning the regeneration of life.
A green dragon tattoo would be a great tattoo to get for someone who has matured and grown greatly throughout their life.
It also symbolizes that you have learned an important lesson and have become a new person because of it.
- Black Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Apart from being a popular color for a tattoo style, a black dragon tattoo also has a significant meaning.
Since dragons represent good and evil, yin and yang, a black dragon tattoo can symbolize the dark side of the world which is more reserved and even feared.
This can either show that you are a more quiet and intelligent person, or mean something completely different in that you are someone who is tough and not to be messed with.
Black dragons also mean that you know someone who is old and wise, and that person could be you yourself.
You could get a black dragon tattoo to represent someone in your life who you hold dear and who has taught you a lot of lessons.
Or, you could get one to mean that you feel being wise is the ultimate goal in life.
- Purple Dragon Tattoo Meaning
A purple dragon has the power to represent royalty for many cultures.
A purple dragon tattoo can therefore symbolize that you have tendencies to be powerful and ‘rule’ over others with great kindness and respect.
This would be a great tattoo for someone who is a leader and wants to make a powerful and amazing change in this world.
Another meaning of a purple dragon tattoo is, for the Chinese, heaven.
A purple dragon tattoo can represent the power and strength of the Gods/God and can represent your hope that in your belief of heaven some deity will guide you there.
Meanings of Different Dragon Tattoo Designs
Finally, the designs or different dragon tattoos can be meaningful in their own ways.
Many of these tattoo designs include iconographies from other stories and traditions, like the phoenix tattoo or the Hannya mask tattoo, but there are also plenty of different ways to give a simple dragon tattoo a unique look through color, style, and even the way the tattoo is applied.
When the dragon is paired with another important symbol in a tattoo, the symbolism combines to create new meaning.
Let’s take a look at some dragon tattoo designs and why they are meaningful tattoos:
- Phoenix and Dragon Tattoo Meaning
The phoenix and the dragon are both two of the most powerful mythological creatures in Chinese mythology.
According to the Chinese, the phoenix and dragon together symbolize order and stability.
Both being elements of fire, they provide balance in the form of yin and yang.
They, therefore, represent harmony in nature.
A phoenix tattoo paired with a dragon tattoo also provides symbolism for long-lasting connections, excellent for a marriage tattoo to symbolize your undying bond between each other.
In Feng-shui, these two mean that a couple will have life and love for as long as they live.
The Japanese phoenix, known as Hō-ō, is another mythological creature that differs greatly from the Western version.
Unlike the Greek phoenix, it features a rooster’s comb, the long neck of a pheasant, the legs of a crane, the tail feathers of a peacock, and the beak of a parrot.
Just like a dragon’s scales, color is important here too; its black, white, red, green, and yellow plumage represents the five virtues of benevolence, purity, propriety, wisdom, and gentleness.
The same phoenix appears in Chinese mythology, where a dragon and a Japanese phoenix tattoo design often symbolize a successful marriage.
- Dragon and Koi Tattoo Meaning
Dragon and koi fish tattoos are often large tattoos that show the two creatures facing one another, or, more often than not the koi fish has a dragon head and the two creatures are literally combined.
Koi fish are often viewed as masculine when in tattoos, and sometimes have water in their background.
Koi fish tattoos symbolize perseverance through struggles in life and coming out on top after all that has been accomplished.
The dragon can symbolize good luck and strength, which are quite similar in meanings.
When koi fish are added to dragons, these tattoos symbolize transformation and rebirth.
- Wolf and Dragon Tattoo Meaning
The wolf and dragon tattoo usually shows the two animals facing each other or even touching their noses together to form a sort of heart shape.
This interesting tattoo can be done in color or with only black ink.
The meaning of the dragon and wolf tattoo is complex.
The wolf often refers to loyalty and cunningness.
But also, the wolf shared with the dragon many characteristics such as generosity and intelligence.
The two together form a powerful symbol that means you are an honorable individualistic person who is strong and on their own but maintains a level of honor.
Yet, if you betray them they are ferocious and will attack.
- Dragon and Snake Tattoo Meaning
The dragon and the snake in a tattoo together create a powerful pair.
They are both considered mystical in one way or another and they both are powerful and feared creatures.
As far as their design, they can be wrapped around one another, their bodies can be morphed together, or they can appear to be fighting.
Commonly, these two creatures represent yin and yang.
The dragon represents fire and wild ambition, while the snake tattoo represents a more cunning and rational side.
These two powerful beings with different personalities when put together create balance.
- Dragon and Rose Tattoo Meaning
A dragon and a rose tattoo are usually quite simple with a back or black and red dragon wrapped around a red rose tattoo.
The red rose pops out almost as much as the snake’s fangs and bright tongue.
This tattoo can be done in any style: Japanese, Celtic, tribal, you name it.
The meaning of the dragon and a rose tattoo is fiery passion.
Dragons are known to be intense in the way that they are powerful and strong.
When we add a rose into the mix, the meaning expands into an extreme passion for something or someone because of the rose which usually symbolizes love.
This tattoo means that you are in a passionate love affair or that you are an extremely passionate person with the power to make things happen.
- Dragon and Cherry Blossom Tattoo Meaning
Who saw such a beautiful tattoo?
These tattoos are simply wonderful.
They often use color to accentuate the pinkish red of the cherry blossoms and put a lot of emphasis on the aesthetics of the design.
They are also typically feminine tattoos because of their pink coloring and because the cherry blossom is often a tattoo for women.
The meaning of this tattoo design is that you must have strength going through life because life is short.
The cherry blossom tattoo symbolizes how ‘green’ life always is and how we should cherish the moments we have.
With the dragon, we are reminded to be strong despite this and to bounce back after tough situations.
- Dragon & Tiger Tattoos
Another creature that appears frequently in tattoos is the tiger.
Just like in Chinese folklore, dragons and tigers were believed to govern elemental forces like wind and rain.
Tigers and dragons can be found in a lot of Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo period artwork, often alongside each other.
Today, the pairing is just as popular, with a lot of tattoos depicting the two beasts engaged in action with one another.
- Dragon & Hannya Mask Tattoos
Even if you’ve never seen a noh play or kagura dance, you’ll probably recognize the Hannya mask as it’s become a familiar icon of Japanese culture and has appeared across various forms of media, particularly in manga, film, and video games.
In theater, the Hannya mask represents the souls of women who have turned into demons through jealousy and obsession.
Hannya mask tattoo design shows a range of emotions; as seen from the front it has an angry appearance, yet when it’s tilted down the demonic face appears sorrowful.
There’s no doubt that combining a dragon and a Hannya mask makes for a powerful tattoo.
Dragon Tattoo Ideas
Need some inspiration for your dragon tattoo?
We’ve got you covered.
Whether you’ve decided to go for a tebori tattoo or something more modern, here are a couple of ideas to spark your imagination.
Large tattoos are a good way to show off dramatic scenes, but it can be even more impressive when something as intricate as a Japanese dragon is presented in a smaller package.
You have a few options to experiment with here, but something that works particularly well is having the dragon coiled around another element.
In keeping with the Japanese theme, try working Japanese flower tattoos or Kanji into the design.
As always, remember to ask an expert or trusted friend when adding symbols or letters that aren’t from your native language into your tattoo to avoid an embarrassing mistranslation.
Some of our favorite dragon tattoos come in the form of sleeves.
With a long tattoo that covers the length of your limb, there’s ample opportunity to include different colored dragons to represent multiple meanings and create something visually impressive.
As we mentioned earlier, dragons were rulers of the sea in Japanese folklore, and many sleeve designs include elements such as waves and koi fish tattoos.
- Black & Grey Dragon Tattoos
Earlier we mentioned how color can change the meaning of a dragon tattoo.
Black and grey dragons are said to be descended from a thousand-year-old black and gold dragon and are wise in nature.
They are known as symbols of the North in folklore and caused storms, which makes for a dramatic tattoo idea.
Black and grey dragons are a popular tattoo choice, either fully monochrome or with extra flashes of color along their belly or back.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the meanings and main themes of Japanese dragon tattoos, it’s time to consider where on your body you want to get inked.
Traditional Japanese tattoos were often applied to the face and across the back and limbs (though we don’t recommend going straight for a face tattoo).
In modern Japan, some still associate tattoos with crime and disrespect for the body, though attitudes are shifting.
Chest placement is a popular choice for a dragon tattoo.
A lot of designs will have the head of the dragon tattooed onto one side of the chest with its body extending across the shoulder and sometimes even into a full sleeve.
Other tattoo styles see a dragon facing off against a tiger in a full chest tattoo.
Hand tattoos work well with both traditional and contemporary dragon tattoos due to the creature’s flexible shape.
A dragon tattoo can wrap around the thumb or sit poised on the back of the hand.
Another option for a hand tattoo is to just include the head of the dragon across the back of the hand and knuckles.
Remember when considering a hand tattoo that it will always be visible.
There is still some stigma about tattoos in Japan due to their association with criminal gangs like the Yakuza, so this is something to be aware of if you’re living in the country or planning a visit.
The limb is a great placement for a dragon tattoo as it allows you to show off the bright colors associated with the creature.
Limb tattoos tend to have the dragon coiled around the lower limb and forearm with its head at the shoulder, sometimes leading into a sleeve.
Smaller tattoo designs are also popular, with the dragon curled around the wrist.
Some would say the back is the perfect canvas for a dragon tattoo.
Both tebori and Neo-Japanese tattoo designs are true works of art that usually involve complex details, so with the scope of a back tattoo, you really have an opportunity to show this off.
Although simple tattoo designs are also an option, most back tattoos show one or multiple dragons soaring through the clouds and over the waves.
Just like your limb, a leg tattoo is a good choice for a dragon, as the length of the area means you can really show the size of the creature as portrayed in traditional artwork from the 18th-century and earlier.
Some choose to get both legs tattooed with different colors of the dragon, which can provide an interesting contrast.
The dragon is one of the ultimate tattoos for anyone to get.
Not only does it have a ton of symbolism, but it is truly beautiful in its many cultures, colors, and designs.
Dragon tattoos, at the end of the day, mean that you are going to do the right thing.
No matter whether you are getting it because of the dragon’s power, strength, ferocity, or any other reason, the dragon is always an ethical creature among most cultures.
This of course does not include part of the West, which believes the dragon to be an evil monster.
However, for the most part, dragons are good creatures and they are certainly great tattoos.
Alyssa Renee Hardy
Alyssa Renee Hardy is a writer, curator, and photographer who publishes articles on the topics of the arts, culture, and social justice. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion business and art history and museum professions. Her experience working with a variety of art institutions, her world travel, and her inquisitive nature provides her with a unique insight. Check out her about page, she would love to connect with you!
50 Chinese Dragon Tattoo Designs For Men – Flaming Ink Ideas
It is absolutely wondrous to behold the indomitable might of Chinese dragon tattoos. These mythical beasts possess ancient energy that translates into an unconquerable spirit.
For a lucrative symbol of prosperity, nothing can compete with the overpowering might of a Chinese dragon tattoo.
These auspicious icons are equipped with unrestrained significance that directly translates to masculine strength and amazing luck.
Chinese dragon ink is maximized by shades of red, but these wild designs can be pulled off in any hue. Multicolored emblazonments are mentally arousing spectacles that bring out extreme esteem from the public.
Here’s another crucial fact pertaining to Chinese dragon designs: They are associated with primordial energies that can alter the state of reality as we know it. Each dynasty in China imbued the mythological creature with different skills, and you can access very specific meanings by choosing dragons from a certain era.
These wingless flying wonders have piercing eyes and badass horns. As a result, they are undeniably one-of-a-kind. Chinese dragon tattoos can also embark on a gleeful celebration of the annual festivals that are held for an incoming lunar year.
To grasp the unabashed supremacy of Chinese dragon tattoos, just check out our professionally culled assortment ahead.
1. Forearm Chinese Dragon Tattoos
2. Arm Chinese Dragon Tattoos
3. Sleeve Chinese Dragon Tattoos
4. Chest Chinese Dragon Tattoos
5. Back Chinese Dragon Tattoos
6. Side Chinese Dragon Tattoos
7. Rib Chinese Dragon Tattoos
8. Leg Chinese Dragon Tattoos
Dragon tattoo chinese
75 Trendy Dragon Tattoo Designs, Ideas & Meanings
Dragon tattoos are a trendy choice of tattoo designs. Dragons are mythical creatures, which appear in many cultures throughout the world. The popularity of Dragon tattoos is easy to explain. Dragons are commonly depicted as spiritual beings combining beauty and intelligence with strength and power.
In western culture, dragons were initially regarded as malevolent – The evil beast that the gallant knight had to slay to rescue his fair maiden. Whereas, in China and Japan, they could be benevolent. This fusion of western and eastern ideas has probably led to dragons still being so popular today.
From an artistic viewpoint, Dragon tattoos are visually striking, and very colorful. They give a chance for a skilled tattoo artist to showcase his talent. The design of a dragon tattoo can also be any size, making it possible to place a dragon tattoo on any body part. It is also possible to combine a Dragon tattoo design with other styles. Tribal Dragon tattoos can be very striking.
Types of Dragon Tattoos
Japanese Dragon Tattoos
Japanese dragon tattoo designs are very popular with men and women. Maybe the stunning detail in the single dark ink is what appeals or the multiple colors.
Japanese tattoos are known for symbolic and rich in myths and folklore. Japanese dragons are seen as water deities, and a Japanese dragon tattoo design will often include waves and clouds. They are usually serpent-like and have a carp’s scales, paws of a tiger, eagle claws, and long whiskers.
Men and women often wear dragon tattoos to represent meanings of freedom and fearlessness. Other popular symbolisms associated with Japanese dragon tattoos are strength and power.
Chinese Dragon Tattoos
These designs can be very similar to Japanese dragon tattoos. Chinese Hanji script can look very attractive when incorporated with a Chinese dragon tattoo design.
Dragon Tattoos for Women
Dragon tattoo designs are trendy among girls. With the recent release of the Hollywood take on the Swedish Novel: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, their popularity is sure to continue.
Dragon Tattoos for Men
The options for dragon tattoos for men are wide and vast and can be inked in tribal, Celtic, traditional, abstract, or blend different styles. If you consider yourself to be a minimalist, go with tribal. The tribal style gives the design a simple, minimalist, primal look.
Tribal Dragon Tattoos
Because of their sinuous nature, dragons lend themselves well to the tribal design.
Small Dragon Tattoos
Dragon tattoos can be extremely versatile. It is possible to have a Dragon tattoo on pretty much any part of the body. It means that a talented tattoo artist should have little trouble drawing a cool design to fit any part of your body you choose.
A detailed dragon design can also look very striking over a large surface. For instance, a large and highly detailed dragon tattoo can look simply breathtaking and awe-inspiring covering a person’s entire back.
It is also possible to combine a Dragon tattoo with other styles and designs. Many people incorporate Koi and Chinese Hanji or Japanese Kanji text and writing to their tattoo design.
Great places to put Dragon Tattoos
History of Dragon Tattoos
Dragons are legendary creatures, usually of a serpentine or reptilian nature, and featured in many myths. There are two distinct types of dragons. Firstly, the European Dragon was passed down in European folklores, initially borrowed from Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies. The Chinese Dragon has also been borrowed by many other East Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea. Both kinds lend themselves very well to striking tattoo designs.
The English word “Dragon” comes from the Greek Drakon – meaning a serpent or water-snake of enormous size. The stereotypical European Dragon is a large lizard with wings, which can breathe fire. Whereas, Chinese dragons are more like large snakes.
The two traditions probably evolved separately, but have influenced each other to some extent, significantly more in recent times. Despite differences in appearance, in Europe, dragons were initially depicted as vicious and evil, whereas they could be entirely benevolent and helpful in the east.
Dragons have made it onto many flags and have even made it into the bible. In the new testament, the devil takes the form of a great red dragon with seven heads to battle the Archangel Michael.
Celebrities with Dragon Tattoos
Actress Angelina Jolie has a small dragon tattoo design on her left arm.
Singer Mel C has a dragon tattoo design on her right calf.
Singer Mel B has a dragon tattoo design on her back.
Actor Bruce Willis has a dragon tattoo design on his right shoulder.
Singer Lenny Kravitz has a dragon tattoo design on his left shoulder.
Singer Pink has an Asian dragon tattoo design on her left thigh.
Dragon Tattoo Designs and Ideas
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