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The Symbolism of 10 (Even More) Tattoo Designs


There are so many design ideas out there in the tattoo world, it’s tough to just jam them all into one article. That’s why us at Lucky Bamboo Tattoo are separating them into 10 design bite-sized pieces so that it’s easier to digest and keep track of, and it’s a fun way to find out hidden meanings behind tattoos you may already have.


Watercolor feather tattoo designs by Leah.
Watercolor Feather by Leah

Feather tattoos can come in many designs and styles. From something incredibly basic and simple to one of the more elaborate designs, like the pictured watercolor piece by Leah. Feathers have been symbolic in many cultures around the world, often worn in some fashion or another, or very prominently like in a traditional Native American headdress. The feather symbolizes freedom, trust, wisdom, honor, strength, and power.


Originally, during the days of pirates and swashbucklers, the flag was flown as a warning to merchant ships, slaver ships, and even sometimes to royal vessels (if you had a particularly bold pirate) to warn them to surrender or die. Side note, pirates were the original emancipators of slaves. They would free them, drop them off on dry land or give them the opportunity to join. In modern times, it often represents freedom, rebellion, and danger.


Hannya Mask by Jared

One of the more popular Asian/Japanese tattoo designs, the Hannya mask originates from Japanese Noh theater. The mask was a representation of a jealous female demon. The mask would often change or distort depending on the degree of anger and jealousy the demon possessed. Today, the mask is often attributed to good luck and wisdom. Sometimes, the mask is a means to warding off evil spirits.


Traditional Devil by Pineapple

A devil tattoo has been around for quite a while, since at least the 1920’s. In the majority, it has nothing to do with religion or faith, regardless of the subject matter. A lot of the devil tattoos are predominately done in the American Traditional style, not exclusively, but they are the majority. The most common meaning behind a devil tattoo is rebellion and acknowledgment of temptation.


The Foo Dog is a symbol that has been around for thousands of years, originating in China. Statues of them would be placed in front of palaces and homes as guardians. With that traditional role of the Foo, it makes sense that they symbolize defense, protection and authority.


Flag Tattoo

Flags representing your home country are pretty popular, whether it’s Old Glory, the Union Jack, or whatever. The meaning behind displaying your home flag is universal. Pride. National pride and displaying your patriotism are the major themes behind one of these tattoos.


Cool arm tattoo
Patriotic Tattoo by Rob

The majestic eagle goes hand in hand with the American Flag. You’ll often see tattoos featuring both images. Eagle tattoos have been popular in America since WWI. It’s one of those classic designs that can be done in many different styles. Whether it’s American Traditional, or photo-realism, when done right, eagle tattoos always look great on anyone. The eagle represents freedom, strength, justice and independence.


Pocket watch tattoos are very often incorporated among other images to create a kaleidoscope of individual meanings that tie into each other. The obvious representation is time. However, the meaning behind the time theme can very. The hands on the watch could indicate a significant time to someone, such as a birth. Or it can represent that time it short and to enjoy your life.


Dreamcatcher by Pineapple

Dreamcatcher tattoo designs come in all forms and designs. The client of the pictured tattoo wanted a Spartan helmet added in. Traditionally, dreamcatchers were a talisman representing the circle of life, the sun and to filter out bad dreams. As a tattoo, it represents protection, a ward of evil and darkness, good dreams and good fortune.


Mountains, Flag and Trees by Rob

Mountain tattoo designs are quite popular, and often incorporate other imagery regarding nature or the sky. Mountains have long been looked upon with awe and wonder. Their size can be intimidating and impressive. Mountains represent growth, change, nature, strength, eternity, and grounded/centered.

To read the previous two articles pertaining to this subject, click the links below!


If you’re ready to get your next tattoo done, schedule an appointment with an award-winning tattoo parlor. Here at Lucky Bamboo Tattoo, we have some of the best and most experienced tattoo artists in the Salt Lake City area. We can tattoo any style you’d like, and our artists can even design your next piece as well.

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