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Deciphering the meaning of the most beautiful dragon tattoos is not a simple thing given the richness and complexity of the symbolism of this creature. However, we will do our best! The dragon with its fabulous scales has always had a very strong symbolic power in most countries and cultures. Although its representation as a protector varies, some of its characteristics are universal. In general, dragons (and dragon tattoos) are associated with:

  • Strength;
  • A symbolic totem;
  • Body art;
  • Wisdom;
  • Purity;
  • Prosperity;
  • Good luck and masculinity;
  • Sexual passion.

Recurring character and important symbol of the Japanese mythology; the red dragon or rather the dragons, enjoy a strong image; which will prove to be double-edged, according to the times and Asian myths. Characters of evil at the origin, those whose name is Ryu, have over time taken on a more friendly symbolism. Illustrating strength and generosity, through various tales paying them tribute. This admiring vision of the Asian dragon comes from the legendary Chinese culture, in which the giant reptile plays an important role, notably as a being endowed with superior intelligence.

The Japanese style dragon tattoo is therefore a must in the traditional Iremuzi tattoo body art. As recurrent as the carp, the lotus flower or the cherry blossom; this one however requires a larger surface, in order to be able to bloom there. The back is therefore the place regularly chosen to affix a dragon tattoo. Being of serpentine morphology and long, the size of the back allows him more easily the drawing. In the same way, for discretion some people or some amateurs choose other parts of the body to be tattooed. These people choose the arm, the thigh, the left shoulder or the forearm. Other people addicted to tattoos opt for rare models by covering all the parts of their body (their entire body).

Yes, that’s a pretty long and generic list, but don’t worry, we’ll be more specific. Since the most beautiful dragon tattoos are available in a wide variety of styles, we have selected the most common designs to explore their meaning in detail.

Meaning of Japanese dragon tattoos

In Japanese culture, it was even believed that the first emperor was the descendant of dragons. They are usually aquatic creatures; although some Japanese legends describe flying dragons that live in the sky. In Japan, dragons represent protection of family and loved ones; protection of the home as well as power and longevity. The Japanese dragon is truly considered a guardian and bringer of happiness.

Therefore, a Japanese dragon tattoo is perfectly suited for a strong person and will stand out to help or protect others around him. Japanese dragon tattoos often include elements such as waves or water. Water represents the reason for life of the Japanese as well as being the natural habitat of dragons.

Meaning of Chinese dragon tattoos

Dragons are the most revered creatures in Chinese mythology. In the days of imperial China; the dragon was the symbol of the emperor who was the only person allowed to make representations of dragons. It was even used on the flag of the Qing Dynasty from 1862 to 1912.

In terms of meaning, a Chinese dragon tattoo represents: strength, power, wisdom, longevity and good luck. Unlike the Western dragon, Chinese dragons are not violent; they are considered protective and helpful to mankind.

Chinese dragons are almost always depicted as rising to the sky. A descending dragon is considered a bad omen.

Meaning of western dragon tattoos

In Western traditions, the dragon has the opposite connotation of its Eastern counterpart. It is usually a powerful and frightening monster that should not be disturbed. In Greek and Norse mythologies, fighting a dragon was a way for men to become true heroes.

A western dragon tattoo can therefore be a sign of power and courage, according to the myths of knights who fought dragons. It is also a symbol of masculinity and fighting spirit, which is why the Vikings adorned the heads of their longships with dragon representations.

In the West, many people opt for a “Man Tattoo” to show their virile side or power; to enhance this body jewel. Women prefer tattoos to the “Tattoo Stone” because they are ephemeral, and especially to avoid pain and fear.

Meaning of Celtic Dragons tattoos (Traditional tattoo and Tribal tattoo)

Celtic dragons differ from Western dragons in that they are neither evil nor demonic. In fact, they were considered the guardians of the secrets of the universe. For this reason, they are among the most powerful Celtic symbols. These dragons have appeared on flags, armor and clothing for thousands of years.

Celtic dragon tattoo is linked to wisdom, balance and spirituality. The dragon’s body is usually drawn with many intertwined knots to show the ups and downs of life. They are often drawn with the mouth biting the tail to represent the cycle of life repeating itself over and over again. Celtic dragon designs make for impressive tribal dragon tattoos, with their intricate loops and knots.

Meaning of dragon and tiger tattoos

In Chinese folklore, the dragon and the tiger are mortal enemies. They are often depicted fighting. Although they both represent concepts such as strength, power and passion; they have very different ways of interacting with the world. The dragon has an element of wisdom and focuses on understanding the fundamentals of the world. The tiger, on the other hand, relies on brute strength to achieve its goals.

For a tattoo, the relative position of the two creatures is very important. A dragon beating or standing over a tiger represents protection and the victory of good over evil.

However, many people get tattoos of these two beings fighting each other; without one having the advantage over the other. This represents the balance between two immense forces. A perfect balance between good and evil, just like the symbol of Yin and Yang.

Dragon and Koi Tattoo: Meaning

The elements of this tattoo have a strong connection to Asia, especially Japan. Koi carp is brave; strong and able to face the most difficult situations without any sign of fear. According to eastern legends, if a koi carp was able to swim upstream and climb the great falls of the dragon gate (on the Yellow River); it would become a dragon.

A tattoo with a dragon and a koi represents perseverance and progress through hard work; for the koi carp only becomes powerful after completing its challenge.

Meaning of Dragon and Phoenix tattoos

The phoenix is a much-loved creature that magically rises from the ashes. Its symbolism is rebirth, redemption and the ability to rise when you are down.

A phoenix tattoo can also be linked to a particular event in one’s life. It can mean that the person has been through a difficult, even tragic experience; but has recovered. In this sense, it symbolizes the overcoming of oneself.

The dragon and the phoenix are very complementary animals; therefore, the two are often combined to create unique tattoo designs.

Meaning of dragon and snake tattoos

The snake embodies good health and is a symbol of regenerative power. It is also considered a symbol of evil and misfortune in some cultures.

Most tattoos depict dragons and snakes as mortal enemies. Snakes embody healing (that’s why they are the symbol of medicine). On the other hand, dragons are driven by the primary forces of nature and the natural elements. In this sense, dragon and snake tattoos symbolize the conflict between intelligence and intuition, the modern versus the traditional and society versus nature.


Congratulations on reaching the end of this article! As you can see; the meaning of a dragon tattoo can vary greatly depending on the tattoo ideas, style and culture that inspired it.

One thing is for sure though; underneath the aesthetics of a dragon tattoo, there is often a deeper meaning that tells a part of the wearer’s life.

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