It used to be that just about all tattoos done on the front of the upper body were always chest tattoos or they covered the entire upper body. That is certainly not the case now as sternum tattoos have recently become pretty popular. Now people can decide to get just about any tattoo design on their sternums or they can get tats that use the sternum to add additional meanings.
If you’re interested in getting a sternum tattoo, you will want to know what those meanings are and why this particular part of the body has become such a popular canvas for tats these days. We will talk about what the sternum tattoo is and what it means to the person wearing it. It’s all going to depend on the design, but the placement of the tattoo has relevance as well. By the end of this post we hope you have a better understanding of the sternum tattoo.
What is a Sternum Tattoo?
The sternum is the long, narrow breast bone connecting the rib cage that covers the chest and protects the vital organs beneath. It is located between the collar bones and runs between the breasts to the point where the ribs meet above the stomach. Obviously, this is a very important bone in the body since it guards your heart and is the centerpiece of the upper skeleton.
Sternum Tattoo Meaning
Because the heart, lungs, and many major blood vessels are housed beneath this bone, damage to the sternum can be fatal. It represents the center midline of the body, connecting the left and right halves. If you think about that in terms of tattoo meanings, you can come up with a lot of creative ways to use the sternum to add additional meaning to whatever design you choose. It’s one of those “hidden” meanings unless the person looking at it recognizes that you purposely had your tattoo drawn there.
Images tattooed on this part of the body are most often incredibly significant to the individual and placed on the sternum because of that personal importance. In most cases, you will often find that the owner of the tattoo chose to get it on their sternum to add a “protection” meaning to it. That’s not always true but take a look at the images to see if it makes sense.
Because of its location, images or words that are “close to the heart” are placed on the sternum, emphasizing their meaning. This is where people can put pictures of important people in their lives or even a word or two that hold significant meaning. Since many people only want to get tattoos with a lot of meaning, they could usually add in just a bit more meaning simply by getting a sternum tattoo.
Sternum Tattoo Variations
Popular images for these tattoos vary between men and women, mostly because of the difficulty of rendering images between women’s breasts compared to the relatively smoother surface of men’s chests. Men have an easier time getting just about any image tattooed in this region, while tattoo artists have to be more strategic when they do sternum tattoos for women.
For men, sternum tattoos often begin centered at the sternum with the image spreading across the chest. A very popular sternum tattoo is anything with wings since the artist can easily place the middle of the animal or insect’s body directly on the sternum and then draw outwards. In fact, anything that is symmetrical can be placed in this region for those same exact reasons.
Birds such as eagles, owls, and ravens are commonly used with their wingspan stretching across underneath the collarbones. Griffins, Pegasus, the phoenix, and other winged mythological creatures are also common because of the aesthetically pleasing appearance of their full wingspans. All are symbols of strength, determination, and renewal. If you do decide to get a bird of some kind on your sternum, make sure that you understand all of the meanings that are attached to those animals, so you end up with a tat that you’ll be proud to have for years to come.
Although images with wings and similar shapes look great as a sternum tattoo for men, they aren’t the only images men get for a sternum tattoo. Any image with symmetry fits well on a mans sternum as the tattoo can go up past the normal area of a sternum tattoo. The breasts of a woman limit the tattoo a bit but, on a man, the sternum tattoo can transform into sternum/chest tattoos that still look great.
For women, “sternum” tattoos often become “under the breast” tattoos which began at the very bottom of the sternum and often spread over the stomach and bottom of the ribs. Commonly used are delicate images that used intricate lines to create the effect of feminine symbols such as lace and jewelry. These tattoos often end up looking like a mix of jewelry and armor which, as you might expect, looks very nice and holds plenty of extra meanings.
Also popular are lotus flowers and mandala-like designs that harken to Indian culture. The mandala is probably the most popular design that we have seen and they have different meanings depending on the culture or religion you are talking about. In the Hindu religion, the mandala represents focus and is usually placed in place of prayer. It helps you to focus on the task at hand.
In Buddhism, the mandala is said to be a symbol of balance of the relation of human life to infinity as well as balance in the mind and body. The Buddhist religion is about balance as well, so the image of the mandala is one of great importance.
For Christians, the Mandala represents a beautiful design meant to bring additional beauty to old Christian artwork and sculptures. You will most likely see mandala shapes in the stained-glass windows in places of worship.
The symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis crouching and stretching her winged arms is also a popular trend because of her great significance within the mythology. The wings of her arms flow perfectly with the underside of the breast making a powerful feminine figure look even better when tattooed. Isis was the symbol of a strong woman, yet a woman who took pride in the creativity of life by teaching women how to brew beer, bake and weave among other things.
Traditional flowers like roses are used as well, often imbedded in an intricate design. Floral patterns and vines are designs that flow well with the sternum as there they can follow any lines of the body and look great. There are a multitude of flowers that can be tattooed in the area and many of them will have their own meaning. In addition, the color of the flower will also tell a story of what you are trying to convey
As you can probably tell by now, there is a lot to think about when getting a sternum tattoo. Not only does the placement of the tat add more meaning to it, but you also have to think about how the tattoo will look on that part of your body. As long as you have an experienced tattoo artist working on it for you, you can expect your sternum tattoo to look great as long as you get a design that means a lot to you.
However, we understand the process of finding an artist can be tough and frustrating. You are most likely looking for a connection with someone. Someone you feel comfortable with and someone that you think can tattoo your vision to perfection. If you can’t seem to find a person that fits that description, please reach out. We have a great deal of experience in matching customers to an artist that will do the job.