Lion Tattoo Meanings
One of the more common tattoos done by artists, lion tattoos have strong meanings like ferocity and protection.
Their tattoo meanings span across cultures— from Buddhism to Christianity, people have been getting lion tattoos for thousands of years.
Even celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Cara Delavigne, and Ed Sheeran have joined in on the trend.
So would you get one?
Let’s find out by exploring the tattoo meanings behind lion tattoos and what they mean to the people who wear them.
- Protection: Especially when talking about the lioness, the lion is a protector of its pride. The lion in Buddhism symbolized the battle between good and evil as well as the balance between them.
- Courage: A lion can be meaningful to someone who feels like they don’t have a voice. The lion stands up for himself and defines what is means to be courageous. If you have a lion tattoo, you will not back down from danger.
- Royalty: The lion is the king of his domain. He is nature’s symbol of regal power. If you want to emphasize this, a mountain lion tattoo asserts being one with nature while ruling the land.
- Ferocity: Have you overcome something in your life that many others couldn’t face? Hone in on your dominance and fierceness with a lion tattoo that demands strength.
Lion Tattoo Meanings Vary Across Cultures
Chinese Lion Tattoo Meaning
Chinese lion tattoos, also called Foo Dogs, have long manes that appear to be blowing in the wind along with massive fangs.
They are intimidating creatures!
The Chinese use guardian lion statues in front of public buildings including temples, supermarkets, and restaurants to provide mythic protection.
They even have a Buddhist meaning: Han Chinese Buddhists believed lions are protectors of Dharma, meaning cosmic law and order.
What Does An Aztec Lion Tattoo Mean?
An Aztec style tattoo is an example of a type of tribal tattoo with distinct flavor and style.
The lion faces are often symmetrical with thick manes filled in with long flowing tribal tattoo patterns.
The lion is not a traditional Aztec tattoo, however, if there were lions in Mesoamerica, the tattoo would have likely symbolized the strength of a warrior.
Japanese Lion Tattoo Meaning
A Shi Shi lion is a Japanese lion symbolizing protection.
Japanese tattoos and Chinese lion tattoos have a similar meanings, both rooted in Buddhism.
Japanese lion tattoos often come with peony flower tattoos and the Japanese pattern called Shippo, meaning never-ending peace and harmony.
Lion Tattoo Meaning In Christianity
Who better for the lion to symbolize than Christ himself?
The tattoo meaning of the lion is a powerful religious symbol for Christians all over the world.
It symbolizes Jesus’ sacrifice and courage.
But before Jesus— the lion was the symbol of Judah, the ancient Israelite tribe.
The Symbolism Of Different Lion Tattoo Design
Female Lion Tattoo Meaning
What about the Lioness?
Let’s not forget the female representation of a lion, who’s tattoo meaning is bravery and independence.
Just as a mother lioness protects her cubs, the tattoo of one brings with it the power of motherly courage.
What Does A Roaring Lion Tattoo Mean?
When you see a roaring lion tattoo, you know this is a person not to mess with.
This tattoo meaning is ferocity, and that you will not back down in the face of danger.
Tribal Lion Tattoo Meaning
Tribal lion tattoos are most often just the lion’s head, roaring or standing guard, and usually in black ink.
This tattoo is the epitome of lion symbolism.
The tattoo meaning of this style is courage to face another day after experiencing trauma or the loss of a loved one.
What Does A Mountain Lion Tattoo Mean?
The tattoo meaning of mountain lions is one entangled with the lion’s relationship with nature.
The mountain lion is a balance between peace and power.
However, the mountain lion is also the ruler of its region.
As the most powerful predator, the mountain lion symbolized royalty, as he is the king of the mountains.
Mandala Lion Tattoo Meaning
For those who want to explore an even deeper meaning into the lion, the mandala lion is the way to go.
The tattoo meaning of the mandala lion is the fight of good against evil, but most importantly the balance of the two on Earth.
So, Why Get A Lion Tattoo?
If you’ve been through something difficult in life, and want to show that you are better because of it, you may consider a lion tattoo.
It doesn’t matter that so many celebrities have one— if you feel in your heart that the lion encapsulates the meaning you’re trying to get across, then pick the lion tattoo style that most describes that meaning.
The tattoo meaning of the lion is powerful— so choose wisely.