Tribal Lion Tattoo

30+ Tribal Lion Tattoo Designs & Meanings

Tribal Lion Tattoos

Lion tattoos in all sizes and styles have gained popularity thanks to their bold fierceness and strong meanings.

Tribal tattoos have also been trending, with their modern designs dating back thousands of years, providing a traditional feel with a new twist.

Combining these two elements into a tribal lion tattoo creates a dramatic look with even deeper meanings – or simply, a cool, striking design for anyone that likes lions and tribal pieces.

Tribal Lion Tattoo Meanings

In ancient times, tribal lions might signify loyalty, courage, a family crest, or honor.

The ancient Chinese believed that lions were guardians and protectors, attracting luck and warding off evil.

In Greek mythology, Aesop used the lion to encourage morality and create better societies.

Nowadays, they have an almost infinite range of representations, including:

  • Courage
  • Power
  • Protection
  • Royalty
  • Strength
  • Dominance
  • Fierceness
  • Confidence
  • Peace
  • Wisdom
  • Leadership
  • Grace
  • Zodiac sign Leo

With a long list of interpretations, people often choose lions for multiple reasons, such as seeking value, worthiness, and respect with a reminder to be strong and courageous.

It may also represent one’s drive and determination to continue fighting and that they won’t be stopped until they succeed.

Ultimately symbolizing courage, triumph, and being a fighter, many get tribal lions to mark their battles with troubled relationships, loss of loved ones, or chronic illnesses, for instance.

Or, for any Disney lovers out there, a tribal tattoo of Mufasa, Simba, or even Scar can represent good and evil, inner wisdom, or a sense of justice.

Main Themes

In addition to the main meanings behind tribal lions, there are often supplementary traits entwined in these tattoos.

For anyone with tribal heritage, encompassing their culture’s traditional style will add another level of meaning to the piece by paying homage to their familial roots.

A tribal style of lion tattoo shows the importance of the lion throughout human history, to our ancestors and to us in modern times with spiritual traditions.

Classic tribal tattoo styles feature curved lines to accentuate the life and movement of your lion, while African tribal art incorporates geometric shapes with bold black ink for a more abstract, stand-out effect.

Traditionally, tribal lion tattoos feature the head of the lion with the mane easily stylized with tribal patterns.

Nevertheless, the beauty of tattoo design is the flexibility to have it look however you please – whether you want it more traditional with all-black ink, or to add splashes of color, the opportunities with tribal lion tattoos are endless.

  • Tribal Lion Head Tattoos

It is rare to see a full-body lion tattoo; you are much more likely to spot the more common lion head tattoo.

A tribal lion head symbols pride and unrelenting power while also exuding peacefulness and wisdom.

You may also find lion head tattoos mid-roar, enhancing the strength and fierceness associated with their image.

Bringing out the intimidating side and heart of the lion, you cannot miss the ferocity and pride associated with roaring lion tattoos.

Tribal Lion Head Tattoo
Tribal Lion Head Tattoo
  • Tribal Lion & Tribal Wolf Tattoos

Adding an extra element of danger, a tribal wolf tattoo also represents dominance, confidence, fearlessness, and inner strength.

Although both animals focus on their strength and power, wolves also symbolize spiritual guidance and are often regarded as “survivors” – speaking to anyone overcoming a challenge.

Wolves can also be seen as free spirits bringing out ties with nature and down-to-earth qualities in addition to being loyal protectors of their packs.

  • Tribal Lion Tattoos with Crown

The crown added to a tribal lion symbolizes royalty and nobility; a nod to lions being the king of the jungle.

Most often found on men, the lion with a crown represents the protector of the family; a strong, independent leader in control.

Alternatively, the Bible refers to Jesus as being both a lion and a king, so a tribal lion with a crown could pay tribute to this Christian meaning.

Tribal Lion Tattoo with Crown
  • Tribal Lioness Tattoos

A tribal lioness tattoo draws out the family side of the animal, inspiring feelings of loyalty, perseverance, and protection of the family.

A tribute to female empowerment, a lioness is not only maternal, but a powerful predator; a huntress that provides for its family.

A symbol of appreciation for strong females, acknowledging everything they do for their family, men and women alike will get these tattoos as tributes to their loved ones, whether it be their mother, wife, daughter, or sister.

Tribal Lioness Tattoo

Tribal Lion Tattoo Placement

Depending on your personal preferences and ideas, tribal lion tattoo placement is flexible and can be put just about anywhere.

However, it is important to consider size when choosing a place to put a tribal lion tattoo.

Although they can range from tiny to massive, they are more commonly large in order to appreciate the details.

However, tiny tribal lions are equally fierce and can pack a powerful meaning too.

  • Tribal Lion Forearm Tattoos

Typically aligned to the wearer’s dominant side of the body, forearm tribal lion tattoos are one of the most popular placements for men – mainly because they are highly visible and easily seen without the aid of a mirror.

One of the less painful places, forearms are ideal for a first inking that can be effortlessly covered with a sweater or long-sleeved shirt.

Tribal Lion Forearm Tattoo
  • Tribal Lion Chest Tattoos

Suitable for small and large pieces alike, this location provides the perfect spot for a grand design.

A chest piece not only bestows the perfect canvas but also provides a dual meaning: connecting your heart with the heart of the lion.

Placed directly over the heart on the left side of the chest, a tribal lion tattoo here represents courage, bravery, passion, and a deep, personal connection.

Tribal Lion Chest Tattoo
Tribal Lion Chest Tattoo
Tribal Lion Chest Tattoo
  • Tribal Lion Tattoos on Shoulder

Another popular place for men, a lion on the shoulder demonstrates a strong support system while also displaying masculinity.

Another opportunity for subtle symbolism is to have the feline’s face pointing inward, toward the heart.

For both men and women alike, a tribal lion tattoo on the shoulder is ideal placement; the tattoo and the body part are symbols of strength.

Tribal Lion Tattoo on Shoulder
Tribal Lion Tattoo on Shoulder

Tribal Lion Tattoo Designs

Looking for some inspiration or having trouble choosing your design and placement?

Take a look at a range of tribal lion tattoo designs here.

Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo
Tribal Lion Tattoo


Versatile for any gender, tribal lion tattoos fit nearly anywhere and offer a mixture of art and history – humans have been admiring the animals and gaining inspiration from them for millennia.

No matter where you place your tattoo, a tribal lion will make a powerful statement, portraying your fierceness, courage, and strength.

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