The designs of the modern Egyptian tattoos are based on ancient Egyptian symbols, images of Egyptian gods and goddess, kings and queens, and animals.
When we think of civilization we think of Egypt. Egyptian Civilization was filled with mysteries and a great deal of spirituality. The mythology and the culture of ancient Egypt was an important part of Egyptian civilization which still fascinates people. The hieroglyphics tells us a lot about the Egyptian culture during the age of Pharaohs.
Lot of people these are getting Egyptian Tattoos fascinated by the deep meanings, stories and their beautiful designs. If you are thinking of getting an Egyptian Tattoo or already got one then this article will help you understand the meanings and history of Egyptian Tattoos.
- 1 Egyptian Symbols
- 1.1 Meaning of Ankh tattoo
- 1.2 Ankh Tattoo Designs
- 1.3 Meaning of The Eye of Horus (Egyptian eye tattoo)
- 1.4 The Eye of Horus Tattoo Designs
- 1.5 Meaning of Sphinx tattoos
- 1.6 Sphinx Tattoo Designs
- 1.7 Hieroglyphics tattoos
- 1.8 Hieroglyphics Tattoo Designs
- 1.9 Meaning of Pyramid tattoos
- 1.10 Pyramid Tattoo Designs
- 2 Egyptian God and Goddess Tattoos
- 3 Egyptian King and Queen Tattoos
- 4 Egyptian Animal Tattoos
Meaning of Ankh tattoo
Ankh tattoo is one of the most common Egyptian tattoos. Ankh tattoo is for both men and women. Ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents eternal life. It also symbolizes the union of female and male energy, particularly the union of Osiris and Isis which was believed to flood the Nile river that brought fertility to Egypt. That is the reason the Ankh is also called the Key of the Nile or the Key of Life.
In ancient Egypt the Egyptians saw Ankh as a symbol of hope for eternal life. So, even the Egyptian slaves used to wear a little wooden Ankh around their neck hoping for an eternal life after death.
Because of Ankh’s visual similarity to the reproductive organs of a woman some people believe that the crown of the Ankh represents the womb, two stems being the fallopian tubes and the shaft represents the birth canal.
Ankh Tattoo Designs
Meaning of The Eye of Horus (Egyptian eye tattoo)
The mysterious eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol used for protection against evil spirits, good health, healing and royal power. In the ancient Egypt the sailors would often paint the Eye on the bow of their boats for protection. For the safety in afterlife, Pharaohs used the symbol on the jewelry before burying the dead bodies and also marked the tombs with it.
According to the myth, Set (bother of Osiris) gouged Horus’s left eye out during a battle for Osiris’s throne. With the help of Thoth, Horus was able to regain the eye and offered it to his dead father Osiris with the hope that it would restore his life and that’s why the Eye of Horus symbolizes sacrifice, healing, restoration and protection.
The eye of Horus is very iconic and can be seen in modern pop culture in instances such as Katy Perry’s music videos, modern tattoos and celebrity necklaces.
The eye of Horus tattoo symbolizes protection, safety and security.
The Eye of Horus Tattoo Designs
Meaning of Sphinx tattoos
The Great Sphinx of Giza is the largest monolithic statue in the world. It is commonly believed that The Sphinx had been built by the ancient Egyptians of the old kingdom during the reign of Pharaoh Khafra well over 4000 years ago. The Sphinx is a mythological creature that featured in Greek, Egyptian and Persian legend. The Egyptian Sphinx had the head of a human and the body of a lion.
The Sphinx was considered as a Guardian of the temples and that is why the Egyptians built statues of Sphinx to guard the important places like tombs and temples.
Sphinx tattoos symbolizes protection.
Sphinx Tattoo Designs
Hieroglyphics is one of the world’s oldest writing systems. In Hieroglyphics pictures are used instead of letters. Till today People still find them aesthetically pleasing and intriguing. They carry such a mystery that even a simple name would make an interesting tattoo.
How do you read Hieroglyphics?
When you use pictures in your hieroglyphics tattoos, you can write them from left to right, right to left or vertically. Just make sure they’re facing the proper direction if you want them read right to left.
- Images that face the left mean the word or phrase should be read from left to right.
- Images that face right signal to read from right to left.
There is no particular meaning of Hieroglyphics tattoos. They are as same as any other letter tattoos.
Hieroglyphics Tattoo Designs
Meaning of Pyramid tattoos
Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Pyramids are actually massive tombs. The Pharaohs believed that the death is an extension to a journey towards eternal life and to become alive again in the after-world the spirit needs to find and recognize its body. Because of that belief the Pharaohs built the Pyramids to preserve and protect their deceased bodies. So, the pyramids were seen as a symbol of strength and protection and also the stairway to heaven.
It is a marvel of human engineering but considering the time that these Pyramids were built, many people these days believe that the Pharaohs used Alien technology or used Alien’s help to build the pyramids. That is why many Pyramid tattoos are incorporated with Aliens and UFOs.
Even though the Pyramid tattoos are not considered very popular but they are very interesting. People incorporate other Egyptian symbols with the image of pyramids and create unique pyramid tattoos.
Pyramid Tattoo Designs
Egyptian God and Goddess Tattoos
The meaning of Egyptian God and Goddess tattoos lies in their stories and their powers. Most followed Egyptian god and goddess tattoos are below:
According to the Egyptian mythology, Osiris is the god of resurrection, underworld and judge of the dead. Osiris was the first son of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. The name ‘Osiris’ came from the latinized form of the Egyptian word ‘Usir’ which means Powerful or Mighty. Osiris was worshiped as the god of fertility, sprouting and vegetation.
In the ancient Egypt people believed when someone dies, they are brought in front of Osiris for judgment. So many people get Osiris tattoo to show him respect as the god of afterlife.
Egyptian God Osiris Tattoo Designs
Isis was the goddess of fertility, motherhood and Magic. Isis was a protective goddess. She used powerful magic spells to help the people in need. Isis was the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. Since each pharaoh was considered as the living Horus, she was regarded as the mother and protector of the Pharaohs. She is depicted with winged arms and bowing under the moons. Some believed she was also the goddess of health, marriage and wisdom.
Egyptian Goddess Isis Tattoo Designs
Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis. According to the Egyptian mythology Horus is the god of Sky and War. He was often depicted as a falcon, most likely a Lanner falcon or Peregrine falcon or as a man with a falcon head. He is known as the protector of the Rulers of Egypt.
Egyptian God Horus Tattoo Designs
Anubis is perhaps one of the most recognizable gods in the Egyptian temples and called the god of embalming and mummification. The first ever mentions of Anubis were found in the ancient texts as well as in some ancient tombs of the old kingdom where he was seen as the Guardian and protector of the dead. He is commonly depicted with a Jackal’s head and a man’s body. When Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, Anubis embalmed Osiris and mummified his corpse. This preservation later passed on to the people of ancient Egypt. People believed if the corpse wasn’t mummified properly then Anubis would come dig up the corpse and eat it. In the underworld he is also the keeper of the scale. He guides the dead through the underworld to the Hall of truth for judgment where he weighs the heart of the dead against the Maat (truth, often represent as an ostrich feather) to decide the final destiny of the soul.
Egyptian God Anubis Tattoo Designs
There are many Gods and Goddesses in Egyptian mythology whose depiction has changed over time and Bastet is a great example of this. She is often thought of today as the cat goddess. Her original name was Bass. The earliest depictions of Bastet did not show her as half cat half woman but rather a woman with the head of a lion. Bastet was the daughter of Ra. Over the years Bastet’s physical appearance changed to a domestic cat and she became the goddess of the home, fertility, childbirths and cats. With cats being considered as protectors of the home in Egyptian mythology, images of Bastet can be found scattered throughout the house believed to ward away the evil spirits and diseases particularly those that would affect women and children. That is why Bastet is called the goddess of protection. Bastet tattoos are very popular among the women.
Egyptian Goddess Bastet Tattoo Designs
Egyptian King and Queen Tattoos
Tutankhamun or King Tut in modern times is the most famous of the Pharaohs. He became king at age 9 and died at age of 19. His body was found buried in the Valley of the kings. Tutankhamun mask tattoo is probably one of the most popular and only Pharaoh tattoos. Tattoos of king Tutankhamun represents power and leadership.
Egyptian King Tutankhamun Tattoo Designs
Nefertiti is one of the most fascinating Egyptian rulers in history. She was a queen but also a priestess. Nefertiti is best known for her famine beauty and power. Queen Nefertiti incorporates feminine power and progress.
Egyptian Queen Nefertiti Tattoo Designs
Cleopatra the seventh queen of the ancient Egypt is one of the most famous and perhaps the most powerful female ruler in the history. She always claimed that she was the goddess Isis herself. Cleopatra’s beauty has been admired and very debatable but her beauty wasn’t her only defining feature. She was fluent in native Greek, Egyptian and as many as seven other languages. She also possessed the knowledge of mathematics, physics and philosophy.
Egyptian Queen Cleopatra Tattoo Designs
Egyptian Animal Tattoos
Egyptian cat tattoo
Cats were given extreme importance in ancient Egypt and were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians. They used to believe that the cats were sacred animals with magical powers and keeping a cat in the house would bring good luck and protect the house. Most Egyptian cat tattoo is very popular among women as Egyptian cat tattoos symbolize fertility and motherhood.
Egyptian Cat Tattoo Designs
Egyptian snake tattoo (Uraeus the Cobra)
The Uraeus, upright form of an Egyptian cobra used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in ancient Egypt. The Uraeus is a symbol for the goddess Wadjet. She was one of the earliest deities and often depicted as a cobra. Pharaohs used to wear Uraeus as body ornament that symbolized the absolute authority and power of the gods and the pharaohs. In ancient Egypt people believed Uraeus gave magical powers and ensure protection to the wearer.
Egyptian Snake Tattoo Designs
Egyptian scarab beetle tattoo
Scarab beetle is one of the most important symbols in the ancient Egyptian culture. Scarab was linked to an Egyptian god called Khepri the morning sun, a manifestation of the sun god Ra. Khepri was depicted as a man with the head of a scarab beetle.
Scarab beetle tattoo represents the sun, recreation of life/resurrection and transformation.
It is always awesome to read some ancient history especially like this one which includes believes and faith. I have always been fond of the Egyptian tattoos since first they look really good but mostly I knew that they had a story behind them, so reading this has proven my instincts. Thank you and now I should plan to have an Egyptian tattoo.