Tigers are seen as a symbol of power, speed, passion, and ferocity in many cultures, predominantly Asian. Explore more tiger tattoo ideas with our blog.

Tiger Tattoo Ideas and Design Meanings

Tigers are seen as a symbol of power, speed, passion, and ferocity in many cultures, predominantly Asian. It’s believed that the current tigers are all offspring of Asian tigers. For this reason, people belonging to any culture, religion, or profession love to have this ferocious animal tattooed on their bodies.

The tiger has become one of the trendiest, coolest, and most powerful tattoo ideas worldwide. While some people love the tiger’s majesty and beauty, others see them as the representation of cruelty and fear.

Regardless of how you see the animal, tiger tattoo ideas have blown up the internet. So, if you want to get a tiger tattoo, you first need to understand its meaning in different cultures. Moreover, finding the proper placement is important too!

So, let’s find answers to all these questions to help you get the best tiger tattoo of your life.

The Meanings of Tiger Tattoos in Different Cultures

Asian countries, like India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and South Korea, even have tigers as their national animal. These majestic animals are also a part of their rich history, and you’ll find them in folklore, flags, art, war uniforms, jackets, arms, literally everywhere.

Of course, tiger tattoo ideas are a great way to honor the rich Asian heritage. However, tigers also have different breeds. For example, Bengal Tiger, Siberian Tiger, Malayan Tiger, etc.

China also has deep cultural roots associated with tigers. In fact, the tiger is included in the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals. The Chinese believe that whoever is born the same year as the tiger will be self-confident, courageous, and a leader. Not only that, but they also think that the tiger has a “wang” on its forehead, a Chinese character that means “King.”

In many cultures, Tigers are also considered spirit animals, representing bravery, willpower, and strength. The Koreans believe that they are our guardians that ward off evil spirits and bring luck. This is why they have tiger pictures and statues in their homes.

Tigers in Chinese Culture

Tiger is an ancient Chinese symbol of dignity, bravery, sternness, and ferocity. Chinese call them “Yin” energy. They are also an emblem of protection, which is why you’ll mostly find the people having tiger-printed clothing items or images in their homes. Yes, to keep evil forces away and bring good luck.

Chinese folklore and legends call tigers the King of all animals instead of lions or eagles. Thus, tigers are the signs of generosity, royalty, and unpredictability.

Some parts of China also consider the animal the “God of Wealth,” as the Tsai Shen Yeh (the Chinese God of Wealth) is portrayed sitting on the tiger. This represents the supremacy of tigers over other animals.

Chinese mythology also sees tigers as the “Protector of the Dead.” People get them engraved on their loved one’s graves as eternal protection and peace for the dead. In addition, five tigers control the cosmic forces and avoid chaos in the universe.
These five tigers include:

  • White Tiger: Controls the Fall season and governs the Metal elements.
  • Black Tiger: Rules the Winter season and governs the Water elements.
  • Blue Tiger: Regulates the Spring season and governs the Earth elements.
  • Red Tiger: Rules the Summer season and governs the Fire elements.
  • Yellow Tiger: The ultimate ruler of the above four tigers symbolizes the Sun.

Tigers in Indian Culture

Tigers are the center of attention in Indian mythology. Many legends have tigers as the main character who fights the evil forces, causes rain in droughts, heals the injured ones, blesses the childless couples with babies, and protects people from evil.

The tiger is considered a spiritual, powerful, and godly creature to this day. “Vaghadeva,” the name of the tiger god, is seen as the protector of the forests. Buddhists see tigers as the symbol of anger.

Indians primarily idolize Bengal Tigers and associate them with Holy deities, including Durga and Shiva. A tribe, Warli, worships “Warghia,” who is the lord of the tigers. Meanwhile, in South India, “Ayyappan” is the god related to the cat, and the goddess “Durga” is portrayed sitting on a tiger in a battle.

Tigers in Japanese Culture

Japan has never been a home to the tigers. Yet, the Japanese culture symbolizes the animal as bravery, strength, and long life in the folklores, historical pictures, and ancient stories brought over by soldiers and monks.

The majestic and royal image of tigers from Chinese culture transferred into Japanese culture too. People started to use tigers for the protection and safety of their children. That’s when the expression TORA NO KO (a tiger club) came into being, representing any valuable possession.

Japanese also consider tigers as warriors against bad luck, demons, and illnesses. So you’ll find many ancient prints with a tiger named Oni, alongside the demon queller, Shoki.

Irezumi is the traditional Japanese tattoo that accessorizes a tiger with cherry blossoms, leaves, and similar images from the tales. People get Irezumi done on their bodies to have an aspiration to achieve life’s purpose.

If you’re looking for your own custom tiger tattoo, our team of designers is ready to help bring your tattoo ideas to life.

Best Placement for a Tiger Tattoo

Whether you choose your arm, back, or leg for the tiger tattoo, the majestic beast will look good anyway. So people who want to highlight their cruel, powerful, yet ferocious side to the world get their bodies inked with a tiger tattoo.

If you’re worried about which body part hurts the most and how you can choose the best location for your tiger tattoo, here are the preferred placement ideas.


An ankle tattoo is the best location for a minimal tiger tattoo. If you don’t want to make your tattoo too noticeable, an ankle tiger tattoo is an ideal way to go. A simple tiger design on the ankle looks dainty and flattering.

However, ankle tattoos can be pretty painful as you have thin skin and less muscle mass in this body part. Also, you’re getting it needled near the bone. Regardless, the pain will most likely go away within a few days, and you can enjoy your simple yet cute tiger tattoo.


The back tattoo is the best placement for larger tiger tattoo ideas. Your tattoo artist gets a wide canvas for the tiger design, so they can be as detailed and creative as you want them to be. Along with a tiger, you can also add other images to cover your entire back or leave some spaces unattended.

Since you have thick skin and more muscle fat on your back, you’ll feel relatively lower pain with a back tattoo. However, you may feel increased discomfort if the needle moves toward your spine and hips.

The good thing about back tattoos is that the ball always stays in your court – you can either show off your tattoo or keep it hidden according to your mood. So, if your tattoo is personal, a back tattoo is the best placement.


A calf tattoo defines your muscles and is a versatile location. You can either cover up your entire body part with the tiger’s face or get a small tiger inked; it depends on your preference.

The pain level is also relatively low on calves as you have thick skin and more muscles there. So, if you don’t want a large tiger tattoo on your back or arm, a calf is an ideal option to get detailed artwork.


People often get chest tattoos to keep them close to their hearts. Thus, if you have a memory attached to a tiger, the chest is the preferred location to keep it alive and close to your heart.

The chest has thin skin, high sensitivity, and is closer to the bones. So, you’ll feel a considerable amount of pain during the tattooing procedure. But, if you have a high tolerance level, you shouldn’t be scared of getting a chest tattoo done.

A tiger on the chest highlights your muscles and gives you a bold, sturdy look.


Foot tattoos are another alternative for people who want a tattoo that can be easily covered up and revealed whenever they want. This is why many people go for a tiger foot tattoo.

You have thin skin on your foot, so a tattoo is definitely going to hurt. In addition, you may also struggle in the healing face. You can’t wear footwear for many days to prevent irritation. Foot tattoos are also believed to fade quicker since they are constantly in contact with your socks and shoes.


A forearm tattoo comes with almost no risks. It is an easy cover-up, noticeable, and equally attractive. You also have more muscle mass here, so the pain intensity is low. If you have large tiger tattoo ideas in your mind, the forearm is the best location to turn them into a reality.

A tiger on your arm looks beautiful yet charming, reminding you about your strength, confidence, and worth in your low days.


A hand tattoo is for someone who is not afraid to show off their tattoos. You can’t really hide your hand from someone, and people would start knowing you from your ferocious hand tattoo. It becomes your statement!

But unfortunately, your hands have thin skin, bones, and nerve endings, so the process will be pretty painful. Moreover, since it’s the most exposed part of your body, the tattoo also fades faster.


If you’re as brave as a tiger and have the highest level of pain tolerance, the knee can be an excellent tattoo spot for you. Unfortunately, this location is considered one of the most painful areas to get inked due to the proximity to bone and thin skin. Almost every area around your knee is prone to pain, but the kneecap leaves all of them behind.

However, a tiger knee tattoo enhances your entire look. It looks strikingly gorgeous, and you can easily show it off or cover it up. Plus, it also looks rebellious no matter what design you choose.

If you’re looking for your own custom tiger tattoo, our team of designers is ready to help bring your tattoo ideas to life.

Popular Tiger Tattoo Ideas

Once you’ve chosen the most suitable location for your tiger tattoo ideas, the next step is to just get it done! Of course, you already have lots of ideas in your mind, but how will it look at your preferred location? What are the other cool options you have?

Here is a list of some famous and coolest tiger tattoo ideas:

Tiger Cub Tattoo

The best part is that you have various options for tiger tattoos. From an old majestic tiger to a cute little cub, you can simply choose the one that depicts your personality.

A baby tiger cub looks innocent and loving and symbolizes your strength and growth. But the options are not limited here. You can also get an angry, roaring tiger cub tattooed on your body. It will tell the world that although you look small, you’re not weak.

Moreover, if you’ve just become a parent, you can dedicate the tiger cub tattoo to your little one. Not only that, but you can also get a parent-son tiger tattoo to pay honor to your bond with your kid.

A tiger cub tattoo will remind you how you will keep your child safe, happy, and free from all evil.

Traditional American Tiger Tattoo

The traditional American tattoo technique is a little different. It has thick lines, bold colors, and slight shading, creating an attractive statement design. Mostly, you’ll see an American tiger tattoo in red, yellow, green, and blue. These bold yet funky colors make the tiger look ferocious and rebellious at the same time.

Since you’ll be having lots of colors on your body, you can also add other images, like cherry blossoms, trees, or cool themes, with the tiger tattoo. American tattoos are suitable for people who prefer noticeable tattoos, so go for it if you’ve got the same taste.

Chinese Tiger Tattoo

The tiger in Chinese culture is no less than a god. So, if you want a Chinese tiger tattoo, you’ll most probably get one in bold, distinctive colors like the traditional American tattoo. But there is an exception.

The American tiger tattoo has a more realistic touch, while the Chinese tiger looks cartoonish. You can add flowers, dragons, leaves, or other mythical creatures to make the tattoo more attractive.

Japanese Tiger Tattoo

Tiger tattoos in Japan have bold, heavy black borders with bright colors in the middle. Usually, the tiger is not alone. Instead, it is paired with other imagery, like smoke clouds, darkness, stones, flowers, or sea waves.

If you want a tattoo with precise detailing that attracts every eye, you can get a Japanese tiger tattoo on your most noticeable area. These could be your forearm, bicep, or hand. On the other hand, the chest and back are the best locations if you want to cover them up.

Cute Tiger Tattoo

If fierceness, boldness, and fear are not your thing, you can go for cute tiger tattoo ideas. The appealing aspect of tiger tattoos is that you don’t always have to show off aggression with your tattoo. Instead, you can be cute and sweet with a cute tiny tiger tattoo.

A cute tiger cub tattoo brings happiness and joy to everyone that looks at it. You can go for a realistic cub or a cartoonish one; you’ll feel wholesomeness anyway.

You can also pay tribute to your beautiful childhood by adding some personal imagery with the tiger. It could be your favorite tale, stars, hearts, or clouds. You can go for a detailed tiger cub or a simple sketch tattoo; it depends on your choice.

Roaring Tiger Tattoo

Cuteness is not everyone’s cup of tea, right? If you have powerful, aggressive, and fearful tiger tattoo ideas, don’t feel shy about getting them tattooed on your body. That’s what tigers are all about, right?

A roaring tiger tattoo with an opened mouth and prominent jaws and teeth warns whoever tries to mess with you. Tiger intimidates everyone, so the way you get it inked down on your body makes all the difference.

A roaring tattoo has several meanings. So, it depends on how you portray your roaring tiger tattoo. You can also add statement pieces to this tattoo to make it look more intimidating and daring. These roaring tiger tattoos are very popular with men.

Half-Head Tiger Tattoo

A tiger looks good whether you choose the entire face or half. However, if you want to do something unique, a half-head tiger tattoo makes an exciting design. Tigers are generally associated with strength, freedom, and majestic vibes, but a half–head tiger will bring a mysterious and more intimidating touch to the tattoo.

You can get this tattoo on your joints to make the tattoo look complete yet half-done. Alternatively, you can also add another animal’s or a human’s face on the other side and create a beautiful combination.

Tiger and Snake Tattoo

Looking for something extravagant? The tiger and snake tattoo makes an appealing, symbolic, and fearful artwork. You can combine both dangerous animals in different ways. For example, the snake can wrap itself around the tiger, or both look like they are fighting each other.

The tiger and snake tattoo represents control over your feelings and emotions. In addition, it could also depict protection against evil thoughts and forces. Many people also see this tattoo as a representation of good and evil.

Snakes are considered a symbol of danger, and the tiger is the embodiment of protection and courage. Both make an eye-catching tattoo!

Tiger and Dagger Tattoo

The tiger itself is a majestic, determined, and independent animal with an image of a predator. Tigers are the perfect portrayal of freedom; they do whatever they want and whenever they feel like it.

One of the best ways to make this tattoo more intimidating is by adding a dagger to the tiger. This combination represents danger, betrayal, and pain. Dagger shows danger or someone’s ill intentions towards you, while the tiger with an open roaring mouth warns your predator.

You can make the tiger as if it is being stabbed by a dagger. This will show how even your closest ones can disappoint you. This design will remind you to protect your heart and trust very few people in your life.

Tiger and Clock Tattoo

Clocks remind us of the running time and how we are moving towards death with every second. Generally, clock tattoos are associated with life and death. But many people tend to get their life’s favorite time or hour tattooed on their body.

On the other hand, tigers are considered the symbol of passion, determination, focus, and power. They remind us that we are in control of our destiny, so we should make the most out of the time we have left.

A clock and a tiger fit so well together. The combination tells you that you’re limited on time, so focus on things that matter to you. You have the strength and will, so act before the time runs out!

Tiger Eyes Tattoo

Tigers are known to translate a sense of fear in their prey just by their eyes. While many people feel afraid of a tiger’s eyes, they look charmingly beautiful in pictures and tattoos. A tiger eye tattoo is sure to instill fear in other people, which is why people go for it.

The mesmerizing eyes of a tiger can also have another meaning. For some people, the beautiful green or blue eyes of the tiger takes them on a spiritual journey where they feel safe and protected.

Like other tiger tattoo ideas, this design is also open to several interpretations. But either way, tiger eyes look intimidating, mesmerizing, and lively.

Whether you’re a tattoo freak or getting your body inked for the first time, a tiger tattoo is an excellent way to enhance your appearance. Tiger tattoos symbolize strength, fear, power, royalty, generosity, protection, and other things in different cultures.

When turning your dream tiger tattoo ideas into a reality, you need to consider a few things, such as the pain level, perfect location, and the ideal design. Your chest, calf, and arms have relatively low pain levels since these areas have thick skin and more muscles.

So, once you have chosen the right location for your tattoo, the next and final step is to get it inked.

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