Chinese and Japanese Tribal Dragon Tattoos
By Bernice Eker
Dragon tattoos are one of the most popular designs all over the world. It can go in any category, whether abstraction, naturalistic, dedication, stylized or combination tattoos.
Throughout history, dragon tattoos have never been out of fashion and had been used as a symbol in some parts of the world. It can be drawn as menacing or regal depending on your choice of design.
Dragon tattoos come in two popular forms: the Chinese or Japanese dragon of the east with its long, snake-like body and the European dragon of the west with its powerful wings and long neck. The European dragon usually symbolizes power and fear, a depiction of evil where as the Chinese dragon usually symbolizes unity and conformity, a depiction of good.
You can find many different designs of dragon tattoos in different forms and colors. Some of these dragon designs have additional background scenery where they are depicted flying in the clouds, swimming in the ocean, crawling on top of mountains or ravaging small villages. But the most common depiction of a dragon is being done as tribal dragon tattoos due to both its simplicity (the majority color being in either black or gray with the additional color to highlight the dragon) and its complexity.
Most often, the eastern dragons are the ones being used as a basis for the designs for the tribal dragon tattoos. Chinese and Japanese designs are the ones most common to be created into tattoos. Both have similar features: long, snake-like body, wingless and have horns. The only difference between these two dragons is their claws. Japanese dragons have only three claws where as the Chinese dragons have five. Their long, wingless bodies are less complicated to draw and since tribal tattoos are mostly being done in one color (two at the most), the outcome of these dragon are more elegant looking and sophisticated.
Though, some in today's society, eastern dragons that are being created into tribal dragon tattoos is being depicted as a symbol of fear and power; a contrast to the real symbolism of the eastern dragons.
Some people today would ask for a tribal dragon tattoo when they want to look tough or powerful. They would look for the best dragon design and ask to have it done. But there are still those who see the eastern dragon as a symbol of wisdom and would ask for a dragon as a sign of respect. And still, others would just like a tribal dragon tattoo because the artistry is very well made and it looks good in the body.
The most common place to find a tribal dragon would be on the whole arm length or at the back.
There are still some parts of the world where dragon tattoos are still used as a symbol in society. Whether they are being used as a status symbol in an organization or a clan, they are a mark of respect and power to the people who still value them.