The general public’s interest in tattoos has grown, with about 75% of Americans stating they like the way they look. In reality, according to Pew Research Centre, 41% of people under 30 and 46% of people between 30 and 49 have at least one tattoo.
With tattoos becoming more and more popular, it raises the question of what they symbolise to different people. The pattern, colours, extra text, and overall significance of a dragon tattoo can vary greatly across the fifty persons who receive one.
Find out more about the various meanings associated with dragon tattoos, such as approved symbolism, dragon kind, and more.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in China
Dragons continue to be an important and symbolic animal in China. It is, after all, one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Chinese dragon tattoos, distinguished by their colourful scales, branching horns, tightly wound bodies, and open mouths, represent the following:
Half of the balance formula — the male “yang” side of the “yin/yang.”
One or more of these meanings can be associated with Chinese dragon tattoos. It might also convey admiration for Chinese ancestry or culture.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in Japan
The Japanese name for tattoo, irezumi, frequently denotes tattoos done in the traditional manner. The dragon, the koi fish, the waves, and other symbols that are emblematic of Japanese mythology and culture are all included in this design. Japanese dragons resemble Chinese dragons found in tattoos, but they typically have three toes instead of four or five, a small moustache and beard, and no flowing mane.
In Japan, a dragon represents:
Power and protection.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in Europe
Asian and Celtic dragon tattoos have extremely different aesthetics. Celtic knots are also used in the creation of this twisted, swirling “snake.” According to Celtic mythology, the dragon represents magic, strength, intelligence, and power.
Dragons represented immense magical powers, strongholds, and keepers of priceless wealth in Celtic mythology. The Western European Gauls marched under a flag with an image of a dragon that said, “The Red Dragon Leads the Way,” even during the Middle Ages.
In their oral histories and works of fiction, such as the legend of St. George slaying the dragon in front of the king, other European nations detested dragons. The meaning of a dragon tattoo with European connections varies depending on the nation, era, and culture.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in Mexico
Numerous ancient civilizations that once called Mexico home considered dragons to be powerful beings. In particular, dragons have been a popular motif in artwork and designs from the time of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations.
The most well-known is the Mayan Ouroboruos, a picture of a circle-eating dragon. This was made by the Mayans to represent the “circle of life” as they saw it, which is a never-ending process of self-renewal, self-regeneration, and self-improvement that leads to the development of a stronger, more resilient person.
The god Quetzalcoatl, represented by a feathered serpent (or dragon), was revered by the Aztec people. In their mythology, he was essentially the creator deity who created humanity by crossing the void between Earth and sky. Similar to Ouroboruos, Quetzalcoatl’s tattoos represented death and resurrection.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in Korea
In South Korean culture, dragons are associated with youth, in contrast to their connotations in China and Japan. They also represent the skies, rivers, and lakes because they are seen to be creatures with strong connections to Korea’s natural resources and land.
The Symbolism of a Dragon Tattoo in Ancient America
For thousands of years, tattoos were a common means for Native American tribes in ancient America to express their religious beliefs, indicate social standing, celebrate milestones, and commemorate coming-of-age ceremonies. Certain Native American tribes associated the image of the dragon with strength, grace, and wisdom. Some replaced intelligence with “wisdom.”
Although Native American tribes associated with the dragon had some significance, many choose to substitute other legendary creatures such as the thunderbird.
The Symbolism of a Tribal Dragon Tattoo
A tattoo’s designation as “tribal” refers only to one of the many distinct tribes, societies, and civilizations to which particular images and symbols are used to denote social standing and membership. Every distinct community will have a different meaning associated with tribal dragon tattoos. Among the most typical interpretations are:
A pursuit of more.
Dragon Tattoos in Popular Culture
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo immediately comes to mind when discussing dragon tattoos in popular culture. Lisbeth Salander, the girl in question, has several tattoos all over her body, one of which is a dragon. Her dragon tattoo and all of her tattoos are used in the book and movie as a metaphor of her taking control of her own body.
Famous dragon-like characters from popular culture in general may appear on someone’s body art only because they adore the work of media; having a tattoo of the fictional character immortalises the character. Among the most well-liked dragons are:
Shenron, a wish-granting dragon from the Dragon Ball universe.
Any dragon in the Eragon series.
Smaug, a dragon in The Hobbit.
Toothless, the main dragon in How To Train Your Dragon.
The House Targaryen crest from Game of Thrones, the Song of Ice and Fire book series, and House of the Dragon.
Falknor, a dragon friend of Atreyu in The Neverending Story.
The dragon form of Eustace Scrubb from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, who transformed because of his selfish heart.
Spyro, from the beloved console game of the same name.
Dragonite, Charizard, or any dragon-type Pokémon at any evolution.
Sisu, from Raya and the Last Dragon.
Maleficent’s dragon form from Sleeping Beauty.
Mushu, Mulan’s trusty but mischievous sidekick in Mulan.
Haku from Spirited Away.
Your dragon tattoo will stand out among the others, whether you choose to give it a deeper significance or honour a fictitious figure who had a profound impact on your life.