The Chinese tattoo is a very fashionable style in western societies today. The exotic characters, the very graphic curves of Chinese letters and words, and their magnificent visual rendering in more or less calligraphic form make them ideal motifs for tattoos.
There are thousands of different Chinese signs, and it is generally thought that around 3000 signs allow you to read and understand most Chinese newspapers. A literate person will usually know more than 6000 signs, while a Chinese peasant will know very well less than 2000, without being illiterate.
Chinese tattoo character
The Chinese characters or sinograms are decomposed into several elements, each of which possesses a meaning, the radicals. It is the combinations of these roots which give the Chinese terms and characters. Therefore, there is not, strictly speaking, a Chinese alphabet in the sense in which we understand it.
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The Chinese motifs most commonly used in tattoos are generally of several natures:
- Chinese symbols and ideograms related to feelings or great concepts like happiness, love, strength, wisdom, truth, honor, beauty, friendship. The Chinese symbol of love and strength are among the most popular in the West. Chinese symbols are by definition linked to symbolics independent of their phonetic pronunciation.
- Tattoos related to the Chinese horoscope and the various Chinese astrological signs: dragon, tiger, rat, dog, cat, rat, buffalo, rabbit, rooster, horse, pig, Monkey and goat. Chinese astrology and its different signs have very different meanings and symbols from those attributed to these twelve animals usually, the serpent being linked to wisdom, for example, and not to evil as in the west.
- Chinese proverb tattoos: proverbs are particularly well integrated into Chinese tradition and culture, coming from popular wisdom or great thinkers like Confucius (“The honorable man begins by applying what he wants to teach; Teaches “) or Lao-Tzu (” Words of truth often lack elegance, elegant words are rarely truths “), for example
The main problem encountered by many Westerners being tattooed with Chinese symbols is the barrier of language. Indeed, many people get tattooed Chinese signs in the wrong sense because of a bad spelling, or whose meaning is completely different from what they thought they had chosen.
Tattoo artists generally have no knowledge of the language and simply reproduce flashboards full of errors and misinterpretations, or signs brought by their clients, found on the internet without real research. That’s why, even if we offer here some Chinese ideograms in image, we invite you to check each symbol that you want to be inked on the skin so as not to make the same mistakes of choice as Britney Spears, Rihanna or David Beckham, And their misspelled tattoos in foreign languages. The best way is to seek advice from a Chinese native speaker who will provide you with good advice in choosing your Chinese tattoo.
See more: Chinese Dragon Tattoos symbolism
Here are some examples and models of Chinese tattoo symbol :