17 Most Popular Chinese Tattoo Designs And Meanings

Chinese tattoo designs are omnipresent. They have adorned the bodies of many people, with its exotic patterns comprising of not just figurines, but also of symbols, letters and fonts. These tattoos are usually quite minimal, but upon closer look, one can notice the intricate details. Chinese calligraphy is one of the widely chosen forms of tattoo designs, which use a set of symbols to depict a particular feeling or to get their names etched in a whimsical way. Chinese tattoos are a modern way of expressing their feelings using carefully etched characters. For those who like to keep their messages veiled, Chinese tattoos are best for you. In this article, we shall explore some of the best Chinese symbol tattoos and their associated meanings.

History And Significance Of Chinese Tattoos:

If you look at Chinese history, Tattoos were always treated as signs of punishment. The Chinese word for a tattoo is “Ci Shen”, which literally means “Puncturing the Body”. Tattoos are considered to be brutal forms of art, which lead to defamation of the body. However, with changing times, Tattoo art is slowly being embraced by the younger generation. Not only the Chinese, but people from all over the world prefer Chinese style tattoo designs to write messages using exotic symbols and patterns. From calligraphy to dragons, Chinese art has numerous designs to choose from.

chinese tattoo designs

Chinese Tattoo Designs and Meanings:

Following are the most popular and finest Chinese style tattoo designs with pictures and their meanings for men and women, you can select best choice from them.

1. Chinese Calligraphy Tattoos on Back of the Hand:

chinese tattoo designs on hand

If you are pretty fond of Chinese Calligraphy then this style of Chinese tattoos would be best one for you. Chinese Calligraphy is considered as one of the highest form of Chinese art and this form of tattoos can have any word, character or any form text in calligraphy form. You can choose any style and any colors to make it look beautiful, balanced, playful and unique. You can call it is the Chinese tattoo fonts for sleeves.

  • Best for: Chinese symbol tattoos are popular with both men and women. Chinese calligraphy uses exquisite way of lettering the symbols, which illustrates your love for the exotic.
  • Preferable ink: Calligraphy tattoos are best done in black color
  • Where: These tattoos can be done on any part of the body, including your biceps, arms, neck, wrist, elbows and even feet
  • Size: Depending on the spot of the body, you can get them done in small to medium sizes
  • Skin tone: These tattoos are best suitable for medium to fair skin tones.

2. Cool Single Chinese Letter Tattoos:

chinese letter tattoo designs

Single letter Chinese tattoos are the most commonplace of all Chinese tattoo designs. They are simple yet eloquent. Chinese letters unlike the English ones symbolize powerful emotions and concepts singularly. A single letter can mean friendship, love, animosity, courage, destiny, the world and so on. so all that you need to do is pick an emotion or thought which you want to get stamped on your body, translate it to the perfect Chinese letter and get the tattoo made! You can consider this is as a Chinese font tattoo.

  • Best for: These Chinese Alphabets tattoos are preferred by both the genders, which symbolise love, laughter, wisdom and other emotions. They are exquisitely done by the tattoo artists focusing on every single stroke.
  • Preferable ink: These tattoos are done in jet black color
  • Where: Single letter tattoos can be done anywhere on the body, but are more popular on the wrists, elbows and neck
  • Size: They are usually done in medium sizes, as the strokes need to be done perfectly
  • Skin tone: Calligraphy tattoos are suitable for all skin tones, preferably for medium to light skin tones.

3. Popular Chinese Animal Name Tattoos:

Chinese Animal Name Tattoos

Often people choose to get the Chinese name of their zodiac animal tattoos. Then again people choose to get animal names tattooed for the different traits they stand for. One may even show their love towards a particular kind of animal by choosing to get its Chinese name tattooed. These tattoos can be made more attractive and beautiful by adding curves and designs to the Chinese words. This is very lovely Chinese tattoo names of animals.

  • Best for: These are preferred by both men and women who believe on the power of Chinese Zodiac signs. They are known to bring good luck to those who wear it.
  • Preferable ink: Zodiac tattoos are done in black colored ink
  • Where: Zodiac signs are preferably done on arms and biceps for better visibility.
  • Size: Medium to large sized designs are most preferred to make the fine details visible
  • Skin tone: They are done on medium to fair skin tone

4. Chinese Lady Tattoo Designs on Shoulder:

Chinese lady tattoo

If you wish you can even choose the beautiful Chinese woman tattoo design. These designs can be used to symbolize the loss of someone important or it can be used simply for its attractive quality. In this tattoo you can also use vibrant colors to make it look for catching one. This tattoo even displays the emotion of a person. This is one of the memorable Chinese tattoo designs for men who are in deep love. It is one of the best lady Chinese tattoo designs.

  • Best for: Most men get this Chinese tattoo girl done, as it indicates that they are awaiting for their Lady Love. This tattoo can also represent a woman who they love dearly, but was separated due to fate.
  • Preferable ink: Chinese Lady tattoos are done in black and brown colored inks.
  • Where: They are best done on chest and back for the maiden’s features to appear well.
  • Size: Medium to large sized designs are the preferred sizes of this design
  • Skin tone: Light to fair skin tone complement this tattoo very well.

5. Chinese Angel Tattoo on Upper Hand:

Angels from ancient times are being considered as the messengers of gods and have been very popular tattoo design in every generation. As these tattoo displays your belief or faith in god. Angel tattoos designed with wings or hands are also very popular and generally girls are very fond of these tattoos as they resemble the same characteristic of an angel tattoo. Chinese Angel tattoo if depicted beautifully it looks very gracious and look good on your back.

  • Best for: Angel tattoos are usually done by women who believe in the divine power of the Angels. They are known to bring good luck and are considered to be links to God.
  • Preferable ink: They are done using Black inks, although hints of brown and red colors are used
  • Where: These tattoos look amazing on the back, biceps and chest
  • Size: Angel tattoos are preferably done in medium sizes
  • Skin tone: Light to fair skin tone can carry this tattoo design effortlessly

See More: Greek Tattoo Designs And Meanings

6. Chinese Name Tattoos On Hand:

Some tattoo designs comprise of the Chinese translation of one’s name. Some people get their own name tattooed while others get the names of their loved ones. You can add colors to it so that it becomes more eyes catchy and your loved ones get attracted to it easily. You can even add some small motifs to make it look attractive and beautiful. Here the alphabets in the name are very beautifully tattooed on the arms. This is one of the popular Chinese tattoo designs.

  • Best for: Chinese name tattoos are quite popular with both men and women, who like to get their names etched. Many people also prefer getting the names of their loved ones inked to eternalise their relationship
  • Preferable ink: Name tattoos are done in black and dark green inks
  • Where: As name tattoos are done in a horizontal or vertical pattern, the preferred places are neck, biceps, elbows and even knees
  • Size: They are done in small sized font for bigger names. If you have a smaller name, you can also go for medium to large sized fonts
  • Skin tone: They are suitable for all skin tones.

7. Chinese Koi Fish Tattoo Designs on Back:

In the Chinese culture the koi fish holds an important position. It symbolizes the courage that is required to overcome the obstacles in one’s life and achieve their goal. The koi fish tattoo can be made in two forms either upstream or downstream. If it’s downstream, it means that the person has already overcome the difficulties faced by him/her. If its upstream it means that person is still struggling with his/her problems. This is one of the best Chinese tattoos for Guys.

  • Best for: These Chinese back tattoo designs Chinese hand tattoos are popular with both the genders. However, it is mainly preferred by men, who believe in themselves and have the perseverance to achieve their goals, no matter what the situation is.
  • Preferable ink: The tattoo designs are done in multiple colors like red, green, blue to suit the type of fish
  • Where: This is a fairly large design and is suitable on the back or chest
  • Size: You can opt for a large sized design to depict all the details carefully.
  • Skin tone: Due to the use of deeper colors like red, this tattoo best suits fair skinned people.

8. Chinese Dragon Tattoos on Body:

Dragons generally stand for courage, strength and independence. Dragon tattoos are generally available in a large number of variations. You can either choose a classic black silhouette or make it vibrant with colors. These tattoos are generally worn by men on their biceps to attract the attention of the people around them. They can be large or small. You can choose a humongous scaly dragon or a tiny winged one, breathing fire. Chinese dragon tattoos have no end to their varying designs.

  • Best for: Dragons are the most popular Men’s Chinese tattoo designs, as it represents strength, valour and leadership qualities. A scaly dragon is a symbol of protection and independence.
  • Preferable ink: This dragon is largely done in red ink, with hints of other color to complement the red hue.
  • Where: This dragon is best done on the front portion of the body or the back
  • Size: Scaly dragon tattoos are best in large sizes, as the artist needs to put in all the details.
  • Skin tone: The use of brighter colors makes it suitable for light and fair skinned people

9. Buddha Chinese Tattoo Designs:

Buddha Chinese tattoos

The laughing Buddha has forever been the symbol of prosperity. Though these tattoos are black and white it is bound to attract positive attention. Chinese Buddhas are generally accompanied by the classic symbol of yin and yang. They are pleasant to look at and an uncommon choice. These tattoos are also symbols of positivity and luck, which many people wish to carry forever with them in the form of body art.

  • Best for: Laughing Buddha tattoos are generally done by many men, although women do prefer in smaller sizes. They are known to bring good luck to the wearer and are one of the best Chinese hand tattoos.
  • Preferable ink: These tattoos can be done in colored inks like black, brown and red
  • Where: This design works well on the biceps and arms.
  • Size: Laughing Buddha tattoos are generally done in medium and large sizes for men and smaller sizes for Women.
  • Skin tone: This design is suitable for medium to fair skinned people.

10. Flower Chinese Tattoos:

If you have fascination towards Chinese flowers then it’s one of the best ideas to get Chinese flower tattoos styled. You can even accompany these flower tattoos with meaningful Chinese words which would add more depth to this tattoo and it will look beautiful and attractive. You can even add some gentle colors which will give a striking look. These types of tattoos usually give a feminine look.

  • Best for: Chinese floral tattoos are suitable for women who look as pretty and fragile as these flowers. They are a representation of beauty and elegance.
  • Preferable ink: Floral tattoos are done using black as the border and attractive colors like violet and pink to stay as close as possible to real flowers.
  • Where: These Chinese tattoos on arm look the best, as it offers better coverage.
  • Size: Medium to large sizes designs capture the beauty of these fresh and natural flowers
  • Skin tone: This floral tattoo best suits fair skinned people

See More: Scorpio Tattoo Designs

11. Tattoo Designs Made by The Chinese:

Tattoo designs made by the Chinese

There are some tattoo designs that are designed by the Chinese masters of tattoo art. Their meaning and symbolism is known only to their makers. These Chinese tattoo makers refuse to make replicas of these stunningly beautiful designs thus making them one of a kind. This is one of the thickest Chinese tattoo designs for arms with intricate art. They are quite complex and need expertise to design them.

  • Best for: These complex Chinese sleeve tattoos are suitable for men, who like to adorn their hands with colourful intricate patterns. These tattoos have deeper meanings associated with them and are forms of Modern Chinese art.
  • Preferable ink: Chinese art tattoos are usually colourful with geometric patterns. So, one can use as many colored inks as possible.
  • Where: Elbows and arms the best spots for these tattoo designs.
  • Size: They are a group of smaller tattoos put together. So, based on the number of objects, you can choose the right size for your elbow
  • Skin tone: This tattoo best suits fair skinned people

12. Chinese Cherry Blossom Tree Tattoo on Neck:

Chinese cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms are one of the most beautiful flowers. Cherry blossom trees are a common site in china and form an important part of the Chinese culture. If you are a big fan of floral patterns and designs you may choose to get these Chinese flowers tattooed on your back. Cherry Blossom designs are also signs of mortality. They represent how short our life and how important it is to enjoy your life to the fullest, before it gets over. They are widely chosen patterns in Chinese neck tattoos.

  • Best for: Cherry blossom tattoos are best for both men and women who believe in the philosophy that Life is too short and one must make the best out of it before their time on earth gets over.
  • Preferable ink: They are preferably done using black and pink colors.
  • Where: Cherry blossom trees are done on the back of the neck and or on upper back
  • Size: They are best done in medium and large sizes, to capture the true beauty of the Cherry Blossom trees.
  • Skin tone: This tattoo best works for medium to fair skinned people.

13. Symbol of Chinese Music Tattoos:

Some people are very fond of music. They want to express the world that their life is devoted for music. So designing Chinese Music symbols is a great way to express yourself with even opening your mouth. These types of tattoos are styled generally of on your arms, shoulders or even or neck also. You can even add some small miniatures like stars to give it a beautiful look. Musical tattoos are one of the best designs in Small Chinese tattoos.

  • Best for: Chinese Musical tattoos are preferred by both men and women who love music and wish to get their favourite notes etched on the body.
  • Preferable ink: Musical tattoos are done in black colored ink
  • Where: They are usually done on the back, neck and biceps
  • Size: If you wish to make a loud statement about your favourite music, medium to large sizes look amazing.
  • Skin tone: Medium to fair skinned people can carry these tattoos effortlessly.

14. Chinese Tribal Tattoo on Face:

There are many ethnic minorities in China who still follow tattoo tradition. They design tattoo on their face at the age of 12 as a symbol of maturity. These tattoos are done between the eyebrows and around the mouth with some small creatures. Some of the tribal tattoos represent moustache also. Now its very difficult to find original tribal tattoo. People had modified them and start styling according to their choice.

  • Best for: Although quite rare, these tattoos are done by both men and women who strongly are connected to their roots and are proud of their ethnicity. They are one of the most painful and difficult forms of tattoos.
  • Preferable ink: They are done in dark green colored ink.
  • Where: These tattoos can be done on one spot of the face or all over the facial area, including mouth and nose.
  • Size: There is no particular size for this tattoo design, as it comprises of multiple designs put together to form a facial tattoo.
  • Skin tone: Suitable only for light and fair skin tones.

See More: Arabic Tattoo Designs For Men

15. Chinese Tiger Symbol Tattoo:

One of the popular Chinese tattoos is tiger tattoo. The tiger is one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac and the 3rd animal in the 12 year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. It resembles courage, hopeful, vain, friendly, self-reliant and lack of attention and care. So, person who possess these types of characteristic generally craft Chinese Tiger tattoo on their hands or arms.

  • Best for: Chinese tiger tattoos can be done on both men and women who are fierce, bold and are the leaders of their clan. These people are independent and are indispensable to their community.
  • Preferable ink: These symbolic tattoos are done in black colored ink
  • Where: Tiger tattoos are ideally done on the arms, biceps and even shoulders.
  • Size: You can get it done in medium and large sizes for better visibility of strokes.
  • Skin tone: Best suits both light and fair skin tones.

16. Chinese Tattoo Design On Leg:

Legs are one of the most favorite spots for getting Chinese tattoos. Especially on sportsmen and women who have well-toned muscles in their legs, these tattoos look amazing. You can choose from intricate to complex pattern such as this Chinese warrior design, which is painstakingly done to capture every single detail. The most popular Chinese leg tattoos are dragons, calligraphy and themes like Buddha.

  • Best for: Chinese leg tattoos are preferably done by men, although women who have toned legs can also get them etched. These tattoos symbol physical strength and power.
  • Preferable ink: Chinese leg tattoos are usually done in darker shades like black and brown.
  • Where: As the name suggests, these tattoos are inked on the legs, generally below the knees.
  • Size: If you wish to cover the entire leg area, you can opt for a large sized design for better visibility of details
  • Skin tone: Suitable only for light and fair skin tones.

17. Chinese Tattoos On Wrist:

Wrist is an important part of the body, which has the central nerves connected to the heart. Getting a tattoo etched on the wrist is a painful process due to the delicate nerves underneath it. Most common wrist tattoos are names and Zodiac symbols, which are close to their heart. Especially the names and details of someone you love dearly can be etched on the wrist to reveal your innermost feelings for them and prove what they mean to you.

  • Best for: Wrist tattoos are unisex and are usually done to get the names of their favorite people inked. These designs are quite simple and involve Chinese calligraphy and symbols.
  • Preferable ink: Wrist tattoos are done in black and brown shades.
  • Where: As the name suggests, these tattoos are inked on the wrists.
  • Size: Depending on the size of the wrist, you can get them etched in small and larger sizes.
  • Skin tone: Best suits medium to fair skin tones.

Additional Tips For Chinese Tattoo Designs:

  • If you are planning for a Chinese tattoo designs, these tips can help you achieve a better and perfect pattern:
  • If you are planning for a name tattoo in Chinese and your artist doesn’t know the language, you can use the Chinese name generator tool to get the design.
  • You can also use Chinese quotes if you want a longer tattoo which is also close to your ideology.
  • If you are on the lookout for a design that doesn’t use the letters or symbols, the next best designs are dragons and tigers. Most tattoo artists can do these designs well.
  • While choosing a Chinese character, ensure you are fully aware of its meaning and symbolism, instead of blindly choosing it.

We hope this article has inspired you to get your very own Chinese tattoo inked. While Chinese tattoo designs are quite common, you can choose from a number of creative patterns to stand out from the crowd. One thing you need to remember is that, Chinese patterns are intricate and one stroke here and there could alter the meaning. So, you need to really make sure that the design is exactly the way you want it. So, What are you waiting for? Choose from these patterns and adorn your body with these Whimsical Chinese tattoos!

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