There are many mythological creatures out there that have a following. From movies to books, the fantasy genre has created a giant fan base for these creatures. Dragons might be the most popular of all the mythological creatures. There is so much lore and history behind them that we can’t blame people for loving them. People are such big fans that they choose to get the image tattooed on their bodies.
The dragon tattoo is hugely popular not only because looks great on the skin, but also because there are plenty of dragon tattoo meanings to choose from. You can get a dragon tattoo in just about any color and any size, which means that it is one of the more customizable tattoos. They are a fit for any style of tattooing and work on any skin color.
In this post, we are going to be talking about the dragon and the meanings behind the dragon tattoos. As we were saying, there are many variations of this tattoo with a multitude of different meanings. We’ll talk about those variations and if it makes the symbolism different. By the end of this post, we hope you have a better understanding of what it means to have a dragon tattoo.
About the Dragon
The dragon is a mythical creature whose name is derived from a Greek word meaning “huge serpent”. This creature has ties with several cultures from European folklore and Middle Eastern mythology to Asian influence. While not everyone will use these more ancient dragon tattoo meanings, some do like the fact that they can attach these stories to the dragon images that they choose to get.
In European culture, dragons were seen as creatures of evil that must be slain by a noble knight. The evil dragons that are seen in current books, TV shows, and movies often get their influence from those classic European tales. An easy way that people can show that their dragon tattoos are of the more evil variety is to show fire coming out of the dragon’s mouth or to have it “coming out” of the skin.
Even people who don’t want to use an evil dragon tattoo meaning might be tempted to get one of these designs simply because they like the way the dragon looks.
Dragon folklore appeared in Jewish and Christian stories as a serpent and they regard killing a dragon as defeating Satan. There are many dragon slayers/serpent killers that have become legends, such as Beowulf, Archangel Michael and Tristan.
When someone chooses to get a dragon tattoo based on one of those legends, they will either get the exact design from the old books, or they will include one of those famous characters to make it clear which dragon they have. Of course, someone could also choose to get one of these dragons to show that they are protected from evil.
Dragon Tattoo Meaning
In Asian culture, the dragon can symbolize many things including meditation, strength, power, masculinity and the subconscious. What’s great about these dragon tattoo designs is that they hold so many meanings at once. You could choose to use just one of them, or you could use multiple meanings if they work with your personality.
For example, if you find meditation to be one of the most important practices in life, then you could get a customized dragon tattoo to express that. If later on you want to use the tattoo to be a symbol of strength, you can do that, too!
Dragon tattoos can also represent creation and destruction, master of natural elements, wisdom, prosperity, desire and sexual passion. The “creation and destruction” dragon tattoo meaning is one of the most popular around. Many people feel that they are the types who have a tough time keeping their lives intact and will get the dragon tattoo to express that.
Each dragon tattoo’s meaning tends to vary based upon the incorporating elements in the design. A dragon tattoo in the shape of a cross is going to hold very different meanings than one that has an evil look and is on the attack. Not only should you know all of the different dragon tattoo meanings, you will also want to think about what you can include in the design to make each meaning a bit more obvious.
As with all tattoo designs, there are an abundance of variations of the dragon.
Asian Dragon Tattoo
These dragons appear more like serpents and lack the wings often depicted in many renditions. These dragons symbolize wisdom, good luck, longevity, power and prosperity. Not many people think of the dragon as a good luck charm, but that’s the exact meaning that you can give to your dragon tattoo if you get one of the classic Asian designs.
Also known as the “dragon circle” tattoo, this version represents the circle of life and as something that destroys itself while at the same time being renewed. This symbol first appeared in funerary text found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. People who have had to “renew” themselves after going through tough times might find this dragon tattoo to be perfect for them.
Sleeping Dragon Tattoo
This symbol indicates that the wearer should not be messed with. The sleeping dragon symbolizes strength and power that is dormant, but ready to awaken when need be. This even applies to the books and movies. Many times, when a dragon has his treasure and is guarding his horde of gold, the dragon is content. When someone comes in and wakes the sleeping giant, they are going to be in trouble and the dragon is not one to trifle with.
Dragon Claw Tattoo
The dragon claw tattoo is a great way to represent the dragon without having a huge tattoo on your body. Many times, people will get the dragon claw tattoo coming out of the skin like there is an inner dragon waiting to get out of your body. This is a great way to show others that you have an inner being and maybe it makes it easier for the person to invoke the traits of the dragon. The claw represents a conquest over evil as well as destruction. It is considered to be a sign of power and fearlessness.
Rising Dragon Tattoo
This is depicted as a dragon rising up into the sun. This design is seen as a progression of life and stands for ascension and progress. If you really want a dragon tattoo and don’t know which meaning to use, the rising dragon is a good one to go for since the meaning makes sense for just about anyone.
Not only does it look good, it is also a great piece to take up a lot of space. If you are looking for a big back piece and are not sure what direction to go, this one will look great and has a lot of positive symbolism.
Smaug Dragon Tattoo
Smaug is the terrifying dragon in the fictional story, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written in 1937 but made a strong comeback with the movies that started in 2011. Smaug is a witty, hoarding dragon that lives in the mountain with all of his gold and jewels. Left alone and he is fine.
However, the Dwarves were looking to get their treasure back after Smaug invaded their kingdom named Erebor 150 years prior. When the dwarves show up to battle this monster, it ends up setting him off and he heads to the nearby city of Laketown. However, Bilbo finds a soft spot in his almost impenetrable armor during their talk in the mountain and Bard the Bowman is able to shoot an arrow in that spot and kill him.
You might see a fan of the Hobbit trilogy with the Smaug tattoo. You might also see other members of the movie in the image tattooed. The nice thing about the Smaug tattoo is that if paired with other members of the movie, you will know exactly who this dragon is.
Tribal Dragon Tattoo
When it comes to tattoo styles, the tribal style is one of the oldest in the world. It was first discovered thousands of years ago and different variations were used by many tribes. This style of tattooing was most prevalent in Asia, Europe, the Pacific and Africa. Back then, the tribes would make cuts on the skin and rub soot or ash into the cuts to create the tattoos. Even though this is how it was originally done, you don’t have to do this to get the same message.
Whatever you decide to go with, we suggest taking your time and doing your research on the artist or shop you are thinking of going to. Once you have an idea, sit down with the artist and talk about your plans and see if they want to suggest anything.