Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Flower tattoos seem to be a blossoming art style that brings meaning and specificity to every tattoo that they intend to enhance. They can be the centerpiece or just an accessory creating a beautiful timeless tattoo. Meaning behind flowers used in tattoo art is just as vast and wide as there are flowers in the world. That being said, there are many meanings that differentiate from culture to culture; this can be very overwhelming. So, for those of you who don’t happen to be into botany or an avid horticulturist, over the next couple weeks I will go over a brief description of the most commonly used flowers in tattoo art. Today I will begin with three of our most badass heavy hitters in the world of flower tattoos.
The Rose tattoo is most commonly seen as a staple in traditional American tattoo culture. At the surface, the meaning can be generally attributed to beauty, and love, as associated with the flower itself. But, there is a deeper meaning that symbolize balance, hope, and, new beginnings. Having a stem with or without thorns can delineate contrasting symbols of loss and defense. The colors of the rose also hold context that convey symbolic meaning as well; white – purity and mysticism, red – love but also sacrifice or memorial, yellow – friendship, joy, and protection, pink – innocence and healing, blue- the impossible and unattainable, black- farewell or a symbol of death. This flower is less common in traditional Eastern tattoo art, but maintains a long history in Old School Traditional art and having longevity within the more modern tattoo art evolution in America.
The Orchid is one that remains timeless throughout many broad cultures portraying varying different meanings. Orchid- from Greek ‘orchis’ meaning testicle; this flower is a natural symbol of procreation and sexuality. Because of its rarity and expense, the orchid it a symbol of luxury, beauty, and social wealth. There are over 25,000 different kinds of orchids to choose from, which can make the option of an orchid both easy and hard at the same time. Throughout China, the orchid carries meanings of fertility, prosperity, and refinement. Whereas in Japanese and ancient Aztec culture, the symbols of orchids portray bravery, power, and strength. This versatile flower also has meanings by where it is located in the world and grows most naturally. The orchid, like the rose and the lotus, is primarily gender neutral and can be enjoyed by both sexes.
The beautiful and very delicate Cherry Blossom is seen often in Japanese tattoo art. This blossom is commonly seen with petals falling and being carried by the wind. In Japanese culture, the cherry blossom holds a very specific meaning that is, “mono no aware”, meaning an empathy or sensitivity towards things. In life, the cherry blossom is very delicate and short lived. It is said that their beauty fades rapidly, because the blossoms fall from the trees with just the slightest of wind. In the Japanese tradition, this is seen as a metaphor for life imitating the fleeting existence of mortality. In the Chinese culture, the cherry blossom is a symbol of power and strength. The cherry blossom tends to be a more feminine tattoo choice conveying strength of femininity to the wearer who bears the blossom.
Tune in next week and we will go over some more of the most commonly tattooed flowers.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet” -Shakespeare-