The Symbolic Meaning of A Phoenix Tattoo
The phoenix was an important bird in ancient Egypt, Greece, china and Middle Eastern cultures. The phoenix gets it‘s name from Greek culture where the term means “red” which is used for the color of fire. The phoenix was a beautiful red bird that was said to live for over 500 years. Greek historians believed that the phoenix came from Ethiopia. Egyptians named the phoenix Benu and they worshiped it as a sun god.
In ancient china the phoenix was known as the feng-huang bird which was able to unite marriage as well as the yin and yang. Some other versions of the phoenix stories include that the phoenix would fly to great lengths to gather herbs, and set them on fire along with itself only to rise again three days later. It is also noted that the phoenix was able to die from the death of his own body heat. The phoenix has become a symbol of immortal life as well as triumph and rebirth.
Tales of the phoenix appear in ancient Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Far Eastern mythology. In both Greek and Egyptian tales, the phoenix represented the sun, dying in flames at the end of the day and rising each morning. Early Christians came to view the flight of the phoenix as a symbol of rebirth and the resurrection, leaving the old world for the new world of the spirit, dying and rising again, reborn.
It symbolized the victory of life over death, immortality, and Christ’s resurrection. Jewish legend describes the phoenix as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendary longevity is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the ‘first man’. On Roman coins, the phoenix represented an undying empire.
Phoenix Tattoo Designs
Phoenix tattoo designs for women are very common, as the phoenix is said to have feminine qualities, such as duty, goodness, kindness and reliability. Although these are the lesser known virtues, they cannot be neglected. The flame along with the phoenix represents purification and transformation through fire and adversity.
Phoenix tattoo designs for men have become popular as the early designs of a phoenix had the body of a man and the expansive wings of the phoenix. The image has, however, changed over time, but the art remains as it is. There are some tattoo designs which have the phoenix surrounded by fire. You can also use fire to partially obscure it and show it rising from its ashes or also bursting through the sun.
Tribal Phoenix Tattoo Designs:
A tribal tattoo design gives room for self expression and allows the artist to abstractly interpret the image of a phoenix. These tattoos are often done in black ink. They normally do not have any background and can have intricate series of lines and shapes or may have simple stamp like images. A tribal design usually has the basic shape of the bird with some semi-realistic patterns bordering the tattoo design. They often are large in shape, hence are often made on the back.
Egyptian Phoenix Tattoo Designs:
There is an Egyptian legend attached to the bird as well. According to this legend, the phoenix carries the embalmed ashes of its previous birth to Heliopolis, the city of the sun. An Egyptian phoenix is said to sing sweetly and it dazzles in the plumage of gold, scarlet and purple. Some of the Egyptian tattoo designs also depict the phoenix with the body of a man.
Chinese and Japanese Phoenix Tattoo Designs:
The feathers of the Chinese phoenix are black, white, red, green, and yellow in color. They are the primary colors. In Japan, there is a tradition where the phoenix is carved into the sword hilts and the image of the bird is embroidered on kimonos. Like in China, in Japan as well phoenix tattoos have significant importance after dragon tattoos. It is often combined with dragon tattoo designs, which is seen as a harmonious combination of the best of feminine and masculine virtues.
Phoenix tattoo designs are generally huge and encompass large sections of the body, such as the back, chest or wrap around the leg or the upper arm. Due to the detailed design, every piece of the tattoo is clear and makes a powerful statement. These tattoos are also colorful and often contain red, yellow and orange, as the bird is closely associated with fire and the sun. If you want to make the tattoo unique, you can make use of blue, purple, green, copper as well as gold in your tattoo design.