Throughout history, getting a dragon or dragon age tattoo has been extremely popular in a wide variety of cultures all around the world. For many, this tattoo portrays deep meaning about their personality, story, and nature. For others, these tattoos simply offer beautiful and elegant designs.
Dragon tattoos have a vibrant and exciting history, as well as lots of powerful – often surprising meanings associated with them. Learning more about the history and story of the dragon tattoo may even inspire you to get one for yourself!
Meaning and Design of a Dragon Tattoo
In stories, various types of dragons are mentioned, with each different species carrying a different purpose and story. Those who choose this tattoo will take time to select a species and color scheme that best represents them as a person or the message they want to convey.
Common Associations and Meaning of a Dragon Tattoo
There are a wide variety of species when it comes to dragons. These creatures can vary massively in both physical appearance and nature – meaning that their associations alter alongside them. Many choose a type to symbolize the balancing factors of their life, making each dragon tattoo unique and personal to the wearer.
- Chinese dragons have typically long, snake-like bodies with no wings and four legs. These beasts also often have long whiskers protruding from their snout. In China, these beings represent physical strength, power, and fear. They were often displayed as stone figures around Chinese Emperors throughout history. The dragons are also typically depicted in red and gold, colors that are also associated with power, wealth, and wisdom.
- A horned dragon looks more like a typical dragon, with four legs and wings. The defining feature, as you may expect, is large horns extending from their heads. These horned beasts are the most influential species.
- A Celestial dragon is also a long, snake-like creature, with no wings and four legs — similar to a Chinese dragon. However, there are a few key differences: Celestial dragons do not have snout whiskers, their tail is typically longer, and their skin is almost always purple or blue, or covered in the patterns of constellations. These creatures are told to be protectors of the gods. The blue and purple coloring represents trust, and compassion, with these colors, potentially being used for this mammoth to represent the nature of the deities they protect.
- A Yellow dragon is as it sounds, a yellow dragon — with wings, and four feet. These creatures are often associated with knowledge and wisdom, which is primarily due to their appearance. Yellow is considered logical due to how it helps to stimulate thought and problem-solving skills.
- Spiritual dragons also look very similar to Chinese dragons, with long bodies, four legs, and no tails. However, this creature typically also has a couple of extremely long, twisted protruding horns from its head. These horns are usually colored blue and gold which, in unison with how they control the elements, explains why they are wise and trustworthy.
Design of a Dragon Tattoo
There are lots of different designs you can use for your dragon tattoo, each of which fit different aesthetics and convey different meanings.
To begin with, you can use any of the different dragon species mentioned in the section above, each of which has different physical attributes that may or may not appeal to you, as well as different meanings and connotations.
In addition to using different species as the subject of your dragon tattoo, you can also bring your design to life in several ways, which also helps to alter the aesthetics and emphasize various elements of the creature itself.
- You could go for a classic dragon tattoo style, having one or more beings drawn in a realistic art style, bringing the focus to the attributes and the meaning behind the beast itself, without any additional elements. You could also have a tattoo of part of the dragon, such as a dragon head tattoo. This popular choice allows you to fully show off the beauty and complexity of the mythical creatures, without over-complicating the design with unnecessary elements. Some people also like to commemorate their pets with a bearded dragon tattoo, potentially incorporating some aspects of the dragon as a mythical creature as well.
- Some people get a tattoo in a Japanese style where the color matters as much as the actual dragon figure. A Japanese dragon tattoo typically depicts a dragon itself, while using various combinations of colors to convey desired meanings and connotations for the wearer. These color combinations used in a Japanese dragon tattoo, paired with the subject of the design often create a beautiful idea for the part of the body you choose to get it.
- Chinese dragon tattoos are another popular choice. These tattoo designs generally contain little to no color — emphasizing the shape and design of the beast itself. This style of dragon tattoo takes inspiration from water and waves, taking shape with more curvature, often wrapping around the body part it is on.
- A Dragon Ball Z tattoo takes inspiration from the Japanese animated series of the same name. A Dragon Ball Z tattoo often mimics the cartoon style of the series, and often depict various characters from the show — in particular Shenron, the Dragon God. A good Dragon Ball Z tattoo makes excellent use of vibrant colors and this aesthetic style to bring about a simple yet beautiful looking tattoo design.
- A dragon tribal tattoo usually features exquisite designs of the creatures wrapped around or in front of various tribal patterns. Alternatively, the beast itself is designed in the tribal ornament, with the patterns making up an image of the dragon. These designs are often more straightforward than other styles but offer the same level of meaning and beauty.
- Floral dragon tattoos are similar to tribal tattoos, except they feature a dragon in front of or wrapped around a flower or bed of flowers. These tattoos often feature bright colors for the flower petals while keeping the beast itself in one color, creating a nice contrast.
History of a Dragon Tattoo
It is not clear when or where stories of dragons began. However, we do know that as early as the Greek times, there were stories and descriptions told of huge, flying serpents.
From here, dragons have become renowned mythical creatures throughout history, appearing at some point in almost every culture. Dragons play a massive part in the culture of various Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Vietnam.
There is a considerable contrast between Eastern and Western depictions of dragons in stories and mythologies, with Eastern representations portraying dragons with distinct honors and powers, and Western cultures seeing them as evil, mysterious and destructive.
- The Chinese have always seen Dragons as a status of wisdom, good luck, and goodwill, which is one of the reasons why the Chinese New Year celebrations contain plenty of depictions and imitations of dragons, and their decorations often include images of dragons.
- For the Japanese, Dragons carry the meaning of balance, often seen as Yin and Yang. These serpents controlled various opposing elements of nature, ensuring stability in the world.
- The Celts view dragons as a symbol of power and strength, with most stories telling of a hero using a dragon to win a battle, or indeed a dragon bringing about the destruction of entire empires.
- In many fairy tales, we hear of a knight that has to slay a dragon to free the princess. In Western cultures, this can be interpreted as the defeating of evil, met by an immediate reward. In many ancient cultures, it is considered a status of strength and one of the highest attainable honors to kill one of these beasts.
- Many ancient stories of dragons tell of how the beasts would protect some form of treasure — such as the Greek Ladon, who was known for protecting a garden full of golden apples.
- We can also see dragons in modern adaptations and stories. Some fantastic examples are the HBO series Game of Thrones, the Disney animated film Mulan and the Japanese animated series Dragon Ball Z. Another film, the girl with the dragon tattoo, has also inspired thousands of people to get similar tattoos. We recommend you watch the girl with the dragon tattoo online.
- Over time, the dragon has changed form and shape, from the Greek stories talking of a snake-like creature to the modern Western depiction of a dragon with wings and four legs. The specific reasons for these adaptations are not completely clear — although they do offer a variety of exciting designs and styles you could use for your dragon tattoo.
- That said, whether the dragon is depicted as honorable and wise, or destructive and evil, they are almost always massive, scaly creatures with long, pointy teeth and a tail.
- This rich history behind the dragon helps to make dragon tattoos even more compelling and meaningful — wearers can share the stories behind the beasts used for their dragon tattoo, making your design seemingly come alive for anyone who looks at it.
Dragon Tattoo in Mythology
The dragon is present in a wide range of mythologies throughout history, taking up various roles and characteristics from story to story. For the Japanese and Chinese, the dragon is usually a protector or controller of some element or treasure. However, for Western Mythologies, dragons are portrayed as an evil creature that must be slain for the greater good.
Whether the creatures good or bad, these stories are certainly some of the most fascinating and exciting myths in existence, from whichever culture they may originate.
More specifically, there are variously named dragons throughout mythologies — dragons which are mentioned as having a particular power, or that are responsible for a given element. These appointed entities offer some of the most refreshing mythological stories in history and would make for excellent subjects for a dragon tattoo design.
Akhekh (from Egypt)
This beast has a serpent-like body, four wings, and wings, similar to those of an eagle. This dragon lives in the far reaches of Egypt, mostly in the deserts near the Nile. The stories about the physical appearance of Akhekh inspired the conception of other mythical creatures such as griffons, eagle-like creatures with four legs.
This transition between cultures has led to later depictions of Akhekh altering slightly. These later versions maintain the serpent-like body but give the creature an antelope’s body and an eagle’s head with Egyptian headgear.
Drakon Kholkikos (Colchian Dragon)
This creature is enthralling in appearance, with magical teeth and a collection of three tongues (or so one of the countless stories goes). There are loads of tales about how the monster died, with some pointing to a knight killing the dragon to obtain a treasure that it protects, and others talking of a witch sending the beast to sleep with her magic. According to one of the legends, this serpent-like creature guarded the Golden Fleece in the sacred grove of Ares in Kolkhis, hence its name. It can be also found as the Colchian Dragon.
Drukis often called the Thunder Dragon and in Bhutanese, is used to personify their culture and general way of life. Druk is an elaborately scaled creature that appears on the national flag of Bhutan, and in their anthem. Druk is present in almost every element of Bhutanese life. Leaders in this culture are even called The Thunder Dragon Kings.
This beast is the protagonist of Indra. It was a malicious spirit. It represented the droughts affecting the waters of India. On the opposite side of this coin was Indra. As the God of rain, he would always be at odds with Vritra. Eventually, Indra did defeat this beast by destroying its 99 fortresses and then finally breaking its jaw in two, allowing the rivers to flow freely.
Fafnir is a truly infamous mythological beast. This dragon started his story as a dwarf king, who murdered his father to steal his treasure. As he acted in this way, the wealth he now possessed cursed him and turned him into the monster seen in the Scandanavian stories. His scales are impenetrable to any ordinary weapon, but eventually, Sigurd killed the beast by penetrating his soft underbelly.
This dragon is more commonly known as Quetzalcoatl — the feathered serpent God that was worshipped by the Aztecs, Toltecs, and the Mayans. This dragon was seen as an all-powerful creator God, considered by these vultures to be the God of creation. For these cultures, the sun was sacred, and as a result, they hated solar eclipses.
In Sumerian mythology, Kur is the first dragon in existence. He lives within the void above Earth. This monster is usually related to the idea of the underworld. In line with this depiction, the creature is told to have once kidnapped a Goddess. Because of this, a hero Enki traveled to this realm to slay the dragon.
Python is an early telling of a dragon that can be found throughout mythological history. In some stories, Python is the female child of Gaia. She was so enormous that she could wrap her body around the Delphi Oracle, therefore allowing her to protect her mother.
This beast is a pet of Hera, which allowed her to freely cause damage and pain throughout lands while avoiding punishment altogether. However, Apollo eventually did kill Python for the crimes she had committed.
Stoor Worm was an evil creature that is associated with the contamination of animals and foods. He was also very greedy, randomly choosing seven people from the nearest village to eat each week. Fortunately, this creature’s damage was not left unpunished, when a little boy named Assipattle sailed into the stomach of the beast and burned its liver.
Ideal Body Part for a Dragon Tattoo
The front is a perfect choice for a dragon tattoo, as it allows for lots of workspaces, as well as the aesthetic of a dragon tattoo working well with the natural contours of the front of the body. A popular choice for this area of the body is a red dragon tattoo circling the heart area, symbolizing a form of protection and wisdom around the heart.
The back is by far one of the best choices of location for your dragon tattoo, as it gives you so much space to work with, and looks so good. With a back tattoo, you have complete freedom in terms of your design. Some people even choose to have a black dragon tattoo spanning the full length of their back, allowing them to display the beauty and complexity of the dragon in full.
A dragon scale tattoo is becoming very popular to make on the back. It is easy for an artist to make the scales look realistic enough, so they seem as if they are hidden under your skin. This pattern has become more popular since the filming of the “Game of Thrones” TV Series.
A dragon tattoo sleeve is an excellent way to display your design in full. Many wearers opt for a Japanese dragon tattoo design when it comes to a dragon tattoo sleeve because they enjoy the aesthetic of having vibrant colors wrapping around the full length of their arm.
A popular choice for the bicep is a medieval dragon tattoo, using the dark and powerful aesthetic of the beast to emphasize those qualities in the arm. Having a dragon tattoo on the bicep is also a very masculine choice, with many men choosing this location to display their dragon art.
Thigh and Hip
The hip offers a very alluring and unique style for your dragon tattoo. Many people, predominantly women, choose a red dragon tattoo to run up their thigh, as this color fits well with the natural contours and shape of the leg.
Women often choose a watercolor dragon tattoo or a jade dragon tattoo circling the thigh as it offers an intricate and feminine design. More often than not, these designs will trickle upwards onto the stomach or back, creating a unique tattoo design.
To wrap it all up here are a couple of videos of the mentioned above movies and TV shows
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trailer Watch Online
Game of Thrones, Every Dragon Scene From Seasons One Through Eight (by @Angel)