The jaguar is a very popular symbol all over the world, and for good reason. Not only is it a beautiful cat but it also happens to be one of the most inspiring animals in existence. Saying all of that, it should come as no surprise that the jaguar tattoo is extremely popular.
Jaguars were gods to many Indian tribes. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas admired the animals so much that they built jaguar temples and totems. It was not uncommon to see adults and children wearing jaguar jewelry to honor the animal. In fact, the only animal god that held more meaning to those Indian tribes was the snake.
Simply looking at how the jaguars have persevered over the centuries should tell you why they are one of the most popular animal tattoo designs around today. While other big game animals have gone extinct, the jaguar has been able to stay around undisturbed in its favorite jungles across the Americas.
In this post, we plan to talk about what kind of cat the jaguar is and the symbolism behind the jaguar tattoo. Being as popular as it is, one would surmise the jaguar tattoo has a powerful meaning behind it. They would be right. We will talk about the symbolism of the jaguar tattoo and what it means in different cultures.
About the Jaguar
The jaguar is a member of the Panthera genus and is native to the Americas. You will find these majestic animals ranging from Mexico and the Southwestern United States, through much of Central America, all the way south to northern Argentina and Paraguay. Even though you might see a jaguar here and there in the United States, they have essentially been rooted out.
After the lion and tiger, the jaguar is the biggest of the cat species and the largest in the Americas. If you think you see a leopard but it looks larger and sturdier, you are most likely looking at a jaguar. The jaguar is a solitary animal and as far as habitats go, it enjoys swamps, wooded regions and tropical forests. They do not mind the water at all, unlike their bigger cousins which makes them even more dangerous on the hunt. No terrain can stop them if they have you at their sites.
The jaguar has a powerful bite even when compared to other large cats. What this does is allow a devastating death blow to it’s prey no matter if they are shelled or not. The jaguar is known for biting directly through the skull to make quick work of any prey in its crosshairs.
The sad thing is that the jaguar is still frequently killed for its fur and other body parts. It makes no difference this is universally outlawed.
Central American Jaguar Worship
The Aztecs, Incas and Mayas all showed respect to the jaguar. They even built temples in honor of the jaguar and offerings were made to try and appease this animal and to protect their villages. The jaguar motif was used as decoration in everything from pots and ceramics to jewelry and walls.
The jaguar was seen as a god of the underworld. The belief was that if the jaguar wasn’t happy with her family, the deceased family members would also spend eternity unhappy. This was why it was so important to appease the jaguar. This also bleeds into bad harvests and bad luck. In that sense, the jaguar became a symbol of prosperity and fertility.
The jaguar has always represented power and strength. It is an animal that can rule its territory simply by being what it is. For that reason, people who get jaguar tattoos want to feel that type of power everywhere they go. They want to achieve big things in their lives and the animal on their skin can be a constant reminder not to veer off course.
The jaguar tattoo also represents patience. The animal is willing to sit and wait for the optimal time to go towards its goals, which is an attribute that most people want to have. When someone uses their jaguar tattoo to remind them to be patient, they will give their abilities more value and will only accept the best for themselves and the ones they love.
It may seem odd, but the jaguar also represents aggressiveness. How can it represent both patience and aggressiveness? Well, it is only aggressive when it absolutely needs to be. Remember that the jaguar is smart, so it is not going to be aggressive when it is not in its best interests. It’s going to be aggressive when it wants to be and will stay motivated until it has reached its goals.
The jaguar also symbolizes facing your fears since the cat is a fearless animal. It will not life pass it by simply because it is too afraid to move forward. It also won’t let others stand in its way when it is trying to reach a goal. People who get jaguar tattoos will often do so because they don’t want to miss out on things simply because they are afraid of trying something new.
Summing up all of those other jaguar tattoo meanings, the jaguar represents confidence. It knows its own power, it is patient, and it is aggressive when it needs to be. Combined, it should be no surprise that the jaguar symbolizes confidence. Everyone wants to be confident in everything they do, so some people get the jaguar tattoo to remind themselves that they are the only ones who can stand in the way of their dreams.
Jaguars as a Totem
When used as a totem, the jaguar is a potent symbol as well. It possesses a remarkable variety of abilities and powers. When considering the jaguar is said to have over 500 voluntary muscles in use, it is not a surprise that this animal represents the physical nature inside you. But the muscle can also refer to the brain and spirit as the jaguar is a cunning animal that uses its wits on the hunt.
Jaguar Tattoo Variations
As in most cases, the symbolism of the tattoo has to do with the way the tattoo is depicted. In the case of the jaguar tattoo, if the jaguar is tattooed with other images it could lead to different meanings as well as having different meanings for jaguar tattoos inked in different styles. Below are a couple of ways we see the jaguar tattooed these days.
Realistic Jaguar Tattoo
The jaguar is a beautiful animal. Sleek and deadly, the jaguar hunts at night and takes its prey down in an extremely efficient manner. This is why some people feel that getting the jaguar tattoo in any other style than realism is a disservice to this great animal. The realism style is a beautiful way to get a tattoo as it depicts the jaguar in its natural state (if the artist does a good job). You can almost feel the eyes penetrating you when tattooed properly.
American Traditional Jaguar Tattoo
The American traditional jaguar tattoo is a staple of traditional flash art. Many times, you will see this tattoo on shop windows, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a great tattoo. American traditional tattooing has a lot of history behind it. If this is the style that you enjoy, we say go for it and get yourself a traditional jaguar tattoo.
No matter your reason for getting the jaguar tattoo, we suggest you do your research to make sure this is the right piece for you. Many of us jump the gun and get a tattoo that we think is cool, but we don’t put the time in to make sure it’s a piece we will want forever.
On the other hand, if you are ready to get your jaguar tattoo, we suggest doing your homework on a shop or artist that will do a great job for you. Make sure you talk to the people you are considering and check their portfolios to make sure they are able to do the work that you were hoping for.
However, if you are having trouble making a decision on who you should see, reach out to us at Tattoo SEO. We are the leaders in helping match customers to artists. We want to create the best match for you, so we can see your vision be put into ink.