chinese tattoo symbols

Discover the Most Popular Chinese Tattoo Symbols and Meanings

Chinese tattoo designs have been increasingly in vogue and famous in the Western world for the last decade. Chinese tattoo symbols are not merely designs or shapes that look good. They tell tales of folklore and represent Chinese culture and history. Each symbol carries a deeper meaning and is representative of Chinese culture. 

However, Chinese is a difficult language, so you should ensure that you understand the meanings of Chinese tattoo symbols before getting one. This article will reveal the most popular and finest Chinese tattoo symbols and meanings for men and women. Read on to find out! 

Chinese character tattoo

Chinese character tattoos are probably the most commonplace of all Chinese tattoo designs. They are simple yet eloquent.

Unlike English letters, Chinese characters symbolize powerful emotions and concepts singularly. A single characters can mean friendship, love, courage, destiny, basically combining an entire world in a single character. Additionally, each character comes with flowing lines and graceful curves, making it exquisite and interesting. 


So all you need to do is pick your favorite word or thought, translate it to the perfect Chinese letter, find a reputable tattoo artist, and you’re good to go! 

Note: There are various Chinese characters, each represents a different meaning, so don’t forget to research each symbol thoroughly! This assures that you don’t end up with a meaningless or even embarrassing tattoo. You should also get your tattoo from a reputable shop, with someone specializing in Chinese symbol tattoos to flawlessly replicate a design. That’s because the tattoo could easily go wrong or worse. Even one wrong swoop can mean something totally different from what was intended. 

Chinese calligraphy tattoo

Chinese calligraphy is the writing of Chinese characters as an art form, with curves, corners, and flowing lines. These tattoos combine purely visual art and interpretation of the literary meaning. So having a Chinese calligraphy word or phrase tattooed on your body means having one of the clearest examples of art finesse. 


Dragon tattoo

The Chinese dragon is a Chinese cultural symbol, so it’s widely chosen in the catalog of tattoo designs. The dragon, in any case, is the most admired creature in Asian culture. It represents power, pansophy, strength, independence, competence, wisdom, longevity, abundance, and good luck. You can either get it in black silhouette or choose from vibrant hues. Also, its designs are varied with no limitation so that you can choose a standard Chinese dragon or a Jade dragon tattoo, one with breathing fire or widespread wings. 


Phoenix tattoo

A Chinese Phoenix tattoo resembles rebirth, immortality, and a new beginning of one’s life. Legends said that this mythical bird is reborn from the ashes of the flames of death, signifying a journey through fire or adversity. The rising or flying Phoenix symbolizes a person who has overcome really tough times. It’s an excellent way to express a transformation or triumph of a challenge.


You might also be interested in: 8 Most Popular Chinese Symbols for Love That You Would Like to Know.

Snake tattoo

The snake is a very popular tattoo among Chinese people. From the dawn of time, the snake has been associated with irreligious symbols of regeneration and generative capacity. It’s also believed to represent Caduceus and the staff of Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine, reviving and healing. This explains why this tattoo symbol has the skyscraping position for people’s choice.  


Chinese Buddha tattoo

The laughing Buddha has been famous worldwide as it symbolizes prosperousness, happiness, and joy. Like a cross or a rosary bead tattoo, a Buddha tattoo showcases to others its owner’s faith.  


The Chinese Buddha tattoos should be black and white and generally gelled up with Yin-Yang symbols. Such tattoos are gracious at first look, attracting positive attention and showing their owners’ respect towards their faith. 

Chinese Yin-Yang tattoo

Originating from a Chinese philosophy dating back to ancient times, Yin-Yang symbolizes unity in opposites. The origin of Yin-Yang tattoos stems from some of the oldest principles of philosophy and cosmology.


The Yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows and depicts protection, femininity, and the trough of a wave. The Yang represents the light swoosh, meaning brightness, passion, positive hopes, and growth. You can also place your loved ones’ names inside the Yin-Yang tattoo. 

Chinese flowers tattoo

If you’re looking for a strikingly feminine yet meaningful tattoo or if you are simply a nature lover, you should definitely go for Chinese flower tattoos. Some typical options are cherry blossoms, which stand for femininity and love, or peonies, commonly adored as the “king of flowers.” Chinese flower tattoos symbolize flourishing, the flow of strong energy, beauty, grace, and perfection. They also represent love, adoration, and unity. 


It’s hard to find the original ancient tribal tattoo because people have started innovating their tattoos within vogue designs. Today, only a few Chinese minorities still keep this tattoo tradition. 

What do you think about these Chinese tattoo symbols? Would you get one or not? Let us know by sharing a comment! 

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