The Real Meaning Of A Lion Tattoo

With any tattoo, you should make sure you have considered everything thoroughly. Tattoos are difficult to get rid of once you have one. Though they can be removed later on, the process of tattoo removal can be costly and time-consuming, which is why it is so important to do a lot of research before deciding on your new tattoo. 

A lion tattoo is usually quite big and will take up a large expanse of skin on your body, so it's perhaps not the best option for a first-time tattoo patient. Interestingly, tattoo artist Bryan Gutierrez revealed to Glamour that lions are one of the most popular designs seen in his Miami tattoo shop. He called the tattoo design "badass," and added that lion tattoos look particularly great when sized on a smaller scale so they look "like a fierce piece of jewelry you wear." 

The lion is clearly a popular motif to have tattooed. Still, whether this is your first tattoo or your 50th, it's important to know the meaning of what is being inked on your body. 

Lion tattoos have many different meanings depending on the detail

As with all tattoos, there is no one meaning with a lion tattoo, but Tatt Mag describes some of the most popular associations so you know exactly what your potential lion tattoo could mean. 

One of the most common meanings of lion tattoos is protection, as well as courage. These two words are how most of us view lions in the wild, so it makes sense this would translate into a tattoo. Additionally, someone with a lion tattoo could be representing ferocity and adversity. Lions are strong and dangerous, an image only helped by their magnificent appearance. Many choose to get a lion tattoo to prove they haven't been beaten by physical or personal struggles. 

Tattoo studio Chronic Ink Tattoo suggests another equally powerful definition of a lion tattoo — royalty and pride. Of course, all tattoos are individual and could mean something entirely different from person to person. The most important thing is to consider what your tattoo means to you as well as what it might mean to a wider public.

The definition of a lion tattoo also differs between cultures

Another intriguing aspect of tattoos is that their meaning changes depending on differing cultures. As said in Tatt Mag, a lion tattoo could represent a whole other set of principles from country to country. 

In Chinese culture, lions are strictly protectors. This association is why you'll often see statues of lions outside of public spaces like temples and restaurants. According to Byrdie, lions are thought to have mystic powers in Chinese Buddhism and are seen in pairs that represent the different sides of the lion much like yin and yang. In Japanese culture, lion tattoos represent gentleness, more specifically the gentleness we should find in one another. They are additionally representative of strength and honor. Honor is a huge aspect of Japanese culture and originates all the way back to premodern Japan (via Britannica), though it isn't as common of a concept nowadays. Much like in China, you may see lions outside Japanese public buildings for protective purposes. 

In summary, lion tattoos represent loyalty and, perhaps surprisingly, gentleness. However, in Western culture, a lion tattoo is more likely to symbolize ferocity or power. As long as you know what you want to say with your tattoo, you should get the lion tattoo that suits you best.