The lion is one of the most popular animals for people to get tattooed on their bodies, and they have been for centuries. The ordinary symbolism and meaning of the lion is royalty and self confidence. It once was, and still is in some cultures, viewed as a creature of aristocracy and law. In the past, the people of Asia got tattooed with lion images as a way to show that they are full of energy and very powerful. Today, lion tattoos signify the same things, plus courage, savage protectiveness, glory, victory, strength, vitality, spirit and overall masculinity. Although there are some women who choose this tattoo design, the lion is predominantly a male figure. However, some women do like getting tattoos of lion cartoon characters. When the Lion King came out, there was a burst in popularity of the lions depicted in the movie being tattooed on women.
The Meanings of Lion Tattoos
Aside from the basic verbal symbolism of the lion, there are some deeper meanings connected to them as well. Lion tattoos have been placed on men throughout history. Those in Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East have put great emphasis on the lion tattoo for many centuries. Lions have always been known as the king of the jungle and this status portrays great power. I think this has always been the big draw about the lion tattoo. If you think about it, the lion can also be a symbol of a religious nature. King of the Jungle – King of Kings. You get the point! But what other meanings does this regal beast hold?
Next to the lion, the sun has also been viewed as a strong thing throughout history. For this reason, many people opt to get a lion tattoo combined with the sun. For example, a tribal sun with the face of a lion in the center. The lion is also representative of the Leo on the zodiac. So, anyone with this birth sign may choose a lion as their tattoo. Some people choose the lion as a way to display their strength (both inner and outer) , authority and power. Lions are marked as being courageous and this is a trait that many people wish to connect themselves with. Looking at things from the point of view of the Egyptians, you can see that they used lions to symbolize both strength and balance. Egyptian lion tattoos were often of two lions back to back. This showed balance. All of the meanings ascribed above are things that most men would not mind showing through their body art.
As for women and lions, except for the cute little Simba tattoos that were once fairly popular, some opt for a tat of the lioness. For those who do not know much about lions, here is a quick lesson. Lions live in a pack called a pride. In each pride there is one dominant male. He just kind of chills out all day while the lionesses (usually there are several in one pride) bear the children, “raise” the children and go hunting. In nature, the male lion has it pretty easy. So, getting a tattoo of a female lion is symbolic of all women do as mothers, wives and providers for their family. There are also many women who choose to get lion cubs tattooed on their body to symbolize their own children and the fact that they would fight fiercely to protect their “cubs”.
Placement of Lion/Lioness Body Art
Much like with tiger (or any other large cat) tattoos, many men opt to place them on the back in a large design. The arms and calves are also popular options for this particular design. For women, it is the shoulder blade or the small of the back for the lioness, and the ankle, wrist, foot, calf, shoulder, neck or hip for smaller tats or designs of cartoon lions. (FYI, aside for the Lion King characters, Tiger from Winnie the Pooh and Tony the Tiger are also popular options for women.) When it comes to large designs, the middle back is the area that will allow for a more elaborate design that will look absolutely amazing!
How your lion tattoo is formed is something else to be considered. There are several positions in which you can place your lion tattoo:
- Just the head
- Laying down in a lounging position
- Crouched in an attack position
- Standing up on two legs (popular for tribal design)
There are so many possibilities!
Lion Tattoos and Coloration
When getting a tattoo of the actual animal and not a cartoon character, the most popular colors are the ones we see in nature. However, some people choose to add splashes of color to match their own personality. Aside from the natural look, getting a lion tattoo in a tribal design is most popular. Tribal art brings out the beast in such a design and can add even more meaning to the tattoo then by simply using the image from nature.
Lion Ink the Skin of the Rich and Famous
While many celebrities have tattoos (some have several), I was only able to find a few with the mark of the lion, and here they are:
- LeBron James has a lion head tattooed on his right arm. After all, his shooting arm is pretty fierce!
- Solo artist Robbie Williams has a lion tattoo, along with others such as music notes, swallows, hearts and various numbers that must symbolize something to him!
- Christina Ricci has a beautiful tattoo on her right shoulder blade of the outline of a lion’s head. The facial features are simplistic, but that just adds to its beauty,
- Shemar Moore sports a lion on his right arm.
- Mena Suvari has a lion tattooed on the back of her neck along with the words “Word Sound” placed under the image.
- Sanjay Dutt got a lion inked on his arm.
So, if you are considering getting a lion tattoo, remember that you will definitely be in good company! Choose wisely and make sure that the lion is something that is in your heart before you put it on your skin!
More Lion Tattoos