Encompassing a wide audience and a variety of meanings, Chinese writing tattoos are more popular than ever before. As some of the most exotic and mysterious tattoos, their meanings are hidden from those passing by (unless they can read Chinese) within artful strokes appearing as eye-appealing and artistic forms. Most commonly tattooed using black ink, Chinese writing tattoos make bold statements and are mainly chosen in the West to express personal traits (zodiac sign, religious beliefs, etc.), admirable qualities (brave, dreamer, etc.), an interest in martial arts or an appreciation for the artistic nature of the written language more often than as a symbol of having Chinese heritage.
Characters Used for Chinese Writing Tattoos
When choosing among the abundant selections of Chinese writing tattoos available in tattoo studios and on the internet, one must choose which style of Chinese writing to use.
Kanji - Most widely used for tattoos done in the West. The simplified form of traditional Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system. Each character has its own meaning and can represent an entire concept or idea.
Hanzi - Consists of approximately 47,000 intricate symbols of which only 3,000 to 4,000 are actually needed for basic literacy. Even very knowledgeable individuals only use 4,000 – 5,000 of these symbols. Each character corresponds to a single syllable. The traditional Chinese characters used in several official written languages including Hong Kong, Taiwan and many Chinese communities located outside of China.
Simplified Chinese- Hanzi with less strokes and simpler forms. Incorporated by China in an attempt to increase literacy. Used in China’s mainland, Malaysia and Singapore.
Most Popular Chinese Writing Tattoos
There are many popular Chinese symbols that are chosen to become tattoos. Whether on a man or woman, arm or leg, several Chinese writing tattoos are always among the most requested: love, faith, hope, strength, peace, courage, luck, dragon, happiness, friendship and angel. Popular combinations of tattoos pair these Chinese symbols with tigers, cherry blossoms, dragons and water.
Celebrities with Chinese Writing Tattoos
Celebrities are among those who have been drawn to the exotic and mysterious nature of Chinese writing tattoos. Here is a list of a few famous people and their chosen Chinese symbols:
MARY J BLIGE / Singer: Chinese writing tattoo meaning “strength” on right hand
CHER / Singer: Chinese writing tattoo meaning “strength” on right shoulder
ALLEN IVERSON / Professional Basketball Player: Chinese writing tattoo meaning “respect” on arm
LITA / Wrestler: Chinese writing tattoos at top of back
JULIA ROBERTS / Actress: Chinese writing tattoo with a read heart inside symbolizing “strength of heart” on back of left shoulder
BRITNEY SPEARS / Singer: Chinese writing tattoo meaning “mystery” on abdomen
KIEFER SUTHERLAND / Actor: Chinese writing tattoo meaning “undying love”
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