The Taoist symbol of Yin Yang is called Taijitu in Chinese and is often incorporated with other tattoos to make dramatic combinations. The dolphin, Koi and dragon are most commonly paired with the Yin Yang in modern tattoos. Yin is the female counterpart and the black component. Earth and life, and harmony. Yang is the white component. The male full of change and chaos, air and day. The unity of the opposite is a common theme in traditional Chinese imagery.
Much like life, every relation has two aspects and two sides to remain in perfect balance in peace. Followers of eastern spirituality see the Yin yang as a symbol of internal balance and being centered. Ironically, in China tattooing is termed “Ci Shen” that translate to “puncture the body.” The art has been in traditional Chinese literature for thousands of years, but it was actually an uncommon practice and very undesirable as it was seen as defamation of one’s body in mainstream culture.
The subculture and minorities have stronger origins in traditional Chinese tattooing, and tattoos have gotten the stigma of being associated with the underground trades and organized crime. Criminals were marked with Ci Pei, the mark of a severe crime’s punishment was a face tattoo and exile to a faraway land.
Here are some of our favorite Chinese tattoo designs: