Chinese lion tattoos bear heavy significance in Chinese culture. They have a distinct appearance that does not exactly correlate with the kings of the jungle that we know. Chinese culture isn’t the only culture to employ the lion as a national symbol, however. Many other countries revere the lion for its majestic qualities.
In most cultures, Lions symbolize:
- Strength over mind and body
One notion that is true of Chinese lion tattoos is that they, along with the other Asian lion tattoos are very different from other depictions of lions. Because the Chinese lion was created by artists using only stories and folk lore, the Asian lion resembles a dog. For this, they are often called Foo Dogs in western culture.
The Chinese, however, refer to their lions as shi. These lions are guardians. So, Statues and pictures are placed in front of shrines, temples, castles, homes, and door knockers. In Chinese legend, the lions are incredibly strong. They even say that mothers throw their cubs of the cliff so that only the strongest survive.
The Japanese lion tattoo is quite similar to the Chinese version. This similarity is a result of the spread of culture from china. For example, Japanese lions also signify guardianship and are placed in entry ways of buildings. Their lion dogs, however, are referred to as komainu. An open mouthed and a closed mouth lion are often juxtaposed to represent what in western culture is known as the alpha and omega: the beginning and the end. This duality is supposed to represent eternity.
European cultures, in contrast, use the lion as a symbol for nationalism more than spiritual protection. Scottish lion tattoos, English lion tattoos,Czech lion tattoos, and Dutch lion tattoos are all coat of arms that represent each country. The “lion rampant of Scotland,” as the Scottish lion is called, is red and shown on a yellow background. The lion symbolizes a tie to earlier ancestry for this country and on the second national flag.
The English lion, however, represents the popular mind. The lion is a symbol of the voice of the people. The English lion is elongated and drawn with blue tongues and claws. The lion in this culture is a beloved symbol with a unique meaning.
Celtic lion tattoos are quite atypical. They can either be pictures of the lion drawn in the signature Celtic style, or mythical griffins. Griffins are half- bird-half-lion creatures in Celtic mythology. They represent guardianship and protection, nobility, vigilance, and virtue. Misuse of this symbol is said to evoke the bad qualities of the griffin.
Polynesian lion tattoos can resemble the Celtic style of tattoo. They are bold, black abstractions of the lion that can convey its qualities.
The interesting fact about all of these different cultures is that none of them are the native home of any type of lion. The Asiatic lion lives in India, and all other species reside in jungles or the vast African plains. Still, these cultures somehow learned of the lion and admired their majesty. Perhaps the lions were introduced into Europe through Roman gladiators.
It is easy to see why the lion is the king of the jungle. Their brute strength and beautiful manes make them make them appear regal. From the Asian dog-like depictions to the elongated figures of England, the lion is a potent symbol of guardianship. Perhaps a Chinese lion tattoo is the right way for you to express your heritage or ask for protection and courage.
It is more or less like the king of the world! Lions hold significance globally