Tiger Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings

Updated on January 26, 2016
thelyricwriter profile image

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

Tiger Tattoos

Like all animal tattoos, the tiger is deeply symbolic. There's a huge variety of designs to choose from, like a Bengal or a white tiger, a ferocious tiger, or a cute tiger.

In this article, I will discuss tiger tattoo designs and their meanings. You'll have the opportunity to view several designs pictured below. In the end, I hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo design.

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Colorful tiger tattoo.
Colorful tiger tattoo.
Colorful tiger tattoo. | Source
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What Tigers Mean

When it comes to animal tattoos, the tiger ranks up there with the best of them. Tigers have been a part of fashion, magic acts, and carnivals for years. Their beautiful stripes make them very attractive in fashion, art, and tattoos. Although the lion is considered to be the king of the jungle, it is actually the tiger. The largest percentage of tigers live in the dense jungles of Asia. Due to the popularity of their fur coats, they're on the endangered species list. The beauty and symbolism of the tiger has made it a highly sought-after tattoo.

  • The Bengal and Siberian tigers are absolutely beautiful animals. The Bengal is orange with black stripes, while the Siberian is white with black stripes.
  • They are deadly jungle predators. The humans who still live in the jungles where these tigers roam have to be on constant alert for them. One of the tiger's strengths is his ability to hunt and ambush his prey without detection.
  • The tiger has played a very important role in Asian cultures, such as China and Japan. In these cultures, the tiger ranks right up there with the dragon. You may also see tiger tattoos that actually have a dragon.
  • Japanese Samurai had tigers on their crests.
  • As you have already read, the tiger is an endangered animal. Due to this fact, the tiger tattoo has become very important for those who care about the tiger species and conservation. These people wear the tiger tattoo with pride as a reminder of their work.
  • As of today, there are only a few thousand left in the entire world. The species became endangered after people had been hunting them for their fur.

The tiger can be portrayed in a variety of different ways. Some show it with a calm expression, while others may show it looking fierce. Many show the tiger in the jungle. Some tiger tattoos will only portray the head of the tiger and others show the entire body.

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Tiger head by Steve Byrne. Done during a guest spot at Temple Tattoo, Oakland CA, October 28, 2013.
Tiger head by Steve Byrne. Done during a guest spot at Temple Tattoo, Oakland CA, October 28, 2013.
Tiger head by Steve Byrne. Done during a guest spot at Temple Tattoo, Oakland CA, October 28, 2013. | Source
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More Meanings

There are a variety of different meanings that are associated with the tiger tattoo. Here are some:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Beauty
  • Pride
  • Ferocity
  • Vengeance
  • Danger
  • Courage
  • Passion
  • Independence

Two of the most common meanings associated with the tiger tattoo are power and strength. In nature, the tiger is the top predator in its environment. There is no other animal that it is afraid of. The beautiful tiger usually roams alone. Therefore, a tattoo can represent a free spirit or independence.

Along with these positive connotations, the tiger can also symbolize danger, vengeance, or punishment. It can represent the darkness within a person. These meanings are probably associated with the tiger's aggressive behavior.


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Huge tiger back tattoo at the Urban Bear Street Fair.
Huge tiger back tattoo at the Urban Bear Street Fair.
Huge tiger back tattoo at the Urban Bear Street Fair. | Source
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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Pete 

        15 months ago

        I'm getting this one.

      • profile image

        jarnail singh 

        2 years ago

        singh

      • profile image

        lark38 

        2 years ago

        WOW i've been looking every were for some asian & siberian tiger tatts. what can i say this page has got the most beautiful tigers i've ever seen, my favourite is the 16th tatt followed closely by the 25th one & the last one number 27. i would gladly pay for 98% of the tattoos i just think that there such majestic big cats.

      • profile image

        lovedoctor926 

        5 years ago

        Awesome hub! Nice layout and well-written. I love tigers especially the Siberian one. I think a tiger tattoo would be a great choice for anyone since they represent boldness and courage. voted up.

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        5 years ago from West Virginia

        Tweatie, thanks for the great comment! I am glad that you gained so much from this article. This is exactly why I do it! It would certainly make for a great tattoo, as well as being very meaningful to you. Perfect choice. I appreciate all your feedback and thanks again!

      • profile image

        twEATie 

        5 years ago

        Love this! Voted up. I'm half Chinese and half Vietnamese and born in the year if the tiger. I been wanting a tiger tattoo for over 10 years and finally decided to get it on my 27th birthday in April this year. Love your post on this. It really helped me want to get my tattoo sooner lol. I hear a lot of negative things about tube tattoos and thankful I found your post on this. It was very interesting. Thank you for taking your time to do this. It has really made a difference for me.

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        5 years ago from West Virginia

        Thomas

        Appreciate the comment pal. That is a good point. I don't stress that but as an artist and someone looking, you want something unique. Would love to see some of your work. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment Thomas.

      • profile image

        Thomas Wendling 

        5 years ago

        Like your article on tigers. I have done so many tigers over 35 years. Being a tattoo artist, tigers are a common request. I try to stay away from the patterns and design my own for the client, as I want everyone to be unique. Tigers are definitely a sign of strength. When I get a few extra minutes, I will return and send some pictures of a few I have done.

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Nitin, thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you found the inspiration you needed for your tiger tattoo. Take care.

      • profile image

        Nitin 

        6 years ago

        Great design tattoo I really love tiger I admire the pic im going too have a tiger tattoo love it

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Klingonkorra, thanks for coming by! That is sad to here. One day, they all will regret this, but it will be too late. Glad to know there is people like you out there you know:) Thanks again.

      • Klingonkorra profile image

        Klingonkorra 

        6 years ago

        i´m born in the year of the Tiger and I am so sad that this year they are building 18 new railway tracks through the tiger-jungles in india. When will they stop ruining the Tiger´s habitat? Everyone get a tiger tattoo and represent the King of the jungle!!

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Seeker7, thanks for coming by and for your time, vote, and comment. Absolutely. They are so beautiful. Perfect for paintings and tattoos:)

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Alocsin, thanks for taking the time to come by. Yes, I haven't seen many myself in the U.S. I would agree, more so in Asia and Europe.

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Gypsy, thanks for dropping by. Appreciate your time. They are a great tattoo design.

      • Seeker7 profile image

        Helen Murphy Howell 

        6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

        Hi LW!

        This is a beautiful hub and the artistic impressions of the tiger tatoos are stunning. The tiger is one of those animals that although can be a danger to humans, is so beautiful and awesome that you just love and respect them anyway, no matter how dangerous they may be. After all they are just doing what nature has intended them to do. The world would be one very sad place if we were to loose this beautiful, magnificent creatures.

        Wonderful hub + voted up awesome!!!

      • alocsin profile image

        alocsin 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        I guess these are more popular in Asia because I've never seen one in the U.S. Which is too bad because they're quite stunning. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Bobbi, thanks for taking the time to come by. Your right, such a beautiful animal. It is very well portrayed as a tattoo. Glad you enjoyed it. Have a good one:)

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

        Voted up! Love those kitty cats. lol

      • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

        PurvisBobbi44 

        6 years ago from Florida

        lyricwriter,

        I loved this hub, I voted up, beautiful and awesome, for several reasons. First, I love Tigers, they are especially beautiful, and it is amazing how the Tattoo Artist can do such beautiful work with ink on skin. And I loved the way you presented the information for the reader to enjoy. Very Good.

        Your Hub Friend,

        Bobbi

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