Breast tattoos, usually called sternum tattoos on men, are images that fall just above or below, between, or covering the breasts. Because the placement is close to the heart, these images are generally significant to the individual in some way. Memorial tattoos are placed here to emphasize the deceased’s importance in the individual’s life. Children’s names or the names or symbols of other loved ones are often placed here as well.
Aside from tributes to loved ones, core traits and characteristics are portrayed through imagery and symbols between the breasts. Often, the images are delicate and feminine although more realistic images, like animals, are chosen. Patterns that resemble lacework or other delicate motifs are popular and emphasize femininity. Thin chains with small gems convey a jewelry-like image that offers a pretty look. The inclusion of flowers adds to this as well. These symbols of femininity are especially an appropriate choice for the breast because they enhance the idea of fertility and maternity.
Mandalas and lotus flowers are widely used as well to express serenity as well as a divine femininity. Often tattooed directly onto the breast and around (or over) the nipple, the designs, especially Mandalas, highlights the life-giving and nourishing ability of the breasts. The image of a crouching Isis, her wingspan extended underneath the breasts is another strong symbol of fertility, maternity, and the ideal woman. Her incredible power in the Egyptian pantheon is a representation of the divine feminine.
Birds or wings are used on their own as well to symbolize a free spirit and a desire for freedom. Owls are commonly depicted as a representation of wisdom, as well as liberty in one’s life.
Butterflies and moths can be placed between the breasts as well, conveying transformation and change. These symbols, as well as flowers and intricate floral designs, are often used as cover-up tattoos that seek to mask the scars of a mastectomy. These tattoos are symbols of survival and are incredibly significant to the individual as a reminder of the strength within.