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Panther Tattoos

Panther tattoos are truly powerful body art selections. As one of the most popular animal-based tattoo designs (particularly on flash sheets hanging in tattoo parlors), panther tattoos symbolize strength, power, leadership and beauty, and usually indicate a strong personality. These fierce felines have muscular bodies that easily lend themselves to being placed along the natural curves of human muscles; therefore, panther tattoos are generally seen crawling up arms, backs, torsos and legs. Although these tattoos are generally popular among men, the number of women requesting them as symbols of confidence and beauty, or symbols suggesting personalities with “wild sides,” is on the rise.

Panther tattoos often evoke a feeling of danger and passion. They portray that the wearer is a strong and independent individual who is not afraid to express their opinions and will stand firm to fight for their rights and beliefs.

General Information About Panthers


The term panther means “large cat” and is commonly refers to the cougar found in North America and the jaguar in Latin America. Hence, “panther” refers to any large cat of the Genus Panthera family including leopards, jaguars, pumas, lions and tigers. “Black panther” is the term used for any of these large cats baring black coats—a melanistic (dark skin and hair) color variant caused by gene mutation. Although black panthers may appear solid black in color, the natural markings or fur patterns of certain species of cats can still be seen in direct sunlight. This unique gene mutation is hereditary although it is not passed from one generation directly to the next. Therefore, two normal colored cats may rear one or more black cubs in their litter or two black panther parents may produce a litter of all normal colored cubs.

Symbolism of Panther Tattoos
Panther tattoo symbolism is largely based on the panther’s characteristics. The panther roams the forest as he pleases and there is nothing that can stop him. He is at the top of the food chain and does not have to worry about playing by the rest of the jungle’s rules. These characteristics make the panther tattoo a great symbol for freedom.

For many women who choose panther tattoos, the panther is symbolic of feminine power and protection. These designs can be representative of a mother’s gentle and loving nature with her children, while also being protective and ferocious when it comes to protecting them.

Some of the symbolism of panther tattoos stems from the way the panther moves—quickly while being agile. Some people believe that the movement of the panther represents the speed in which things can change. A panther tattoo can be a subtle reminder of how quickly life can speed by or be torn apart in seconds and that we must not take it for granted.

Due to the aggression of this large cat, a panther tattoo can also symbolize freedom from oppression. Black panther tattoos are commonly associated with martial arts such as Kung Fu, conveying an image of being stealth and cunning.

In Central and South America, the panther is associated with the sun. It is symbolic of power, guardianship, courage and valor while, in the spiritual or superstitious world, panthers are thought to have breath so sweet that other animals and humans can smell it from far away. The attraction of this sugary breath makes panthers a representation for the breath of life.

Black Panther Tattoos As Cover-ups

The amount of solid black ink required for black panther tattoos makes them great selections as cover-up designs for existing tattoos, particularly older tattoos that already have a fair amount of black ink in them or those covering large areas. Simple panther heads can cover unwanted round tattoos while panthers crawling upwards can seamlessly cover vertical tattoos (crosses for example). Likewise, prowling panthers can easily transform unwanted horizontal tattoos or tattoo groupings into new and bolder works of art!

Panther Tattoos Featuring Water

Many times panther tattoos will feature waterfalls, waves or other forms of water. One interpretation of this combination suggests a balance of peace and calmness (represented by the water) with power and ferociousness (represented by the panther) for a yin-yang effect. Black panther tattoos featuring waterfalls accented with bamboo plants are simply portraits of the cat in its most common natural habitat—the dense tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. However, a tattoo with a panther head half submerged in water or one that is bursting out of the water could suggest the bearer himself is hungry and on the prowl for something in life as panthers regularly hunt their prey in water and use it as a source from which to sneak upon their prey before devouring them.

Tribal Black Panther Tattoos

Tattoos combining tribal designs and black panthers make bold statements while creating eye-appealing body art. The fluid lines of the panther work well with the curves and points in most tribal patterns. Adding tribal elements to panther tattoos adds interest and a graphical element to the overall design making it more artistic and grounding the panther. Although the majority of tribal designs are inked using black pigment, choosing red, blue, orange or purple hues for the tribal element can instantly add a splash of color for a brighter or more personalized tribal panther tattoo.

Colorful Black Panther Tattoos

Adding colorful tribal art to a panther design isn't the only option for those seeking black panther tattoos with splashes of color. Black panther tattoos are quite popular in Asian themed designs and are usually featured in large tattoos with alongside other design elements such as brightly colored plants or animals. Many panther tattoos include bright red blood dripping from the panther’s mouth or claws while others adorn them with colorful eyes (red to represent anger or possibly violet or blue for a softer, more relaxed panther). Many tattoos feature black panthers fighting with green or red dragons, or entwined in the coils of colorful serpents. Softer designs place multicolored wings on the panthers’ backs or may place them among flowers. Whatever one desires, there are countless colorful panther tattoo design options available to choose from.

Black Panther Tattoos Symbolizing the Black Panther Party

In the 1960’s, an African-American organization called the Black Panther Party was formed to promote civil rights and self-defense. They used a black panther logo design, presented as if running to slash at and bite the observer, as a representation of their political position and beliefs. Originating in Oakland, the party spread throughout other cities in the United States engaging in protests against banned guns and calling for African-American men to be exempt from military service. They also started a number of community programs to reduce poverty and improve health among black communities needing aid. It was the group’s confrontations with law enforcement and their militaristic tactics that ultimately led to a decline in membership and eventually to the organization’s collapse in the early 1970’s. Although the group maintained their position as representing black nationality rather than racism, black panther tattoos could easily be chosen to represent either of these views. Today, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP)—whose influences stem from the original Black Panther Party, the Black Panther Militia and the Nation of Islam— represent themselves with a logo featuring a red circle, the continent of Africa filled in green, and a leaping black panther in its center.

Panther Tattoos as Sports Team Logos
A number of sports teams ranging from hockey to football use stylized images of panthers to represent their team. Panther logos tend to look best when presented accurately without secondary additions, like flames. They are meant to be simple and stand alone and generally feature the black panther.

Celebrities with Panther Tattoos

As tattoos increase in popularity, so do the number of movie stars, models and musicians who choose to adorn their bodies with them. Here is a short list of star personalities who have helped to give panther tattoos a place among the famous:

ROBERT DENIRO / Actor: Panther tattoo on shoulder





RICHARD GRIECO / Actor: Black panther tattoo on shoulder





GERI HALLIWELL / Singer: Black panther tattoo on lower back





JEFF HARDY / Wrestler: Panther tattoo on right forearm




MATT LEBLANC / Actor: Panther tattoo on buttock





JUSTIN MELVEY / Actor: Black panther tattoo on back of left shoulder

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