What's the Deal With Elephant Tattoos?

The meaning and where to place them.

Fortune Johnny/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Elephants never forget, and their old age gifts them with admirable wisdom. Humans can learn so much about life, solitude and love when studying how this ancient mammal carries their weight no matter how heavy, with such remarkable grace and beauty.

A universal symbol of strength, loyalty, divinity and good luck, an elephant makes an unforgettable tattoo design when carefully planned and properly placed on your body's temple.

The Allure of Elephants

Are you considering a small symbolic tattoo perfect for the inner wrist? Or perhaps a large design that will fill an area such as your back or legs with grace? An elephant makes a fine choice for many reasons.

Not only does an elephant represent memory, empathy and compassion, there is a strong connection of the species to Buddhism, as it is said that the Buddha selected the rare white elephant for one of his incarnations. The white elephant symbolizes both wisdom and fertility, making it a beautiful choice for a maternal tattoo. If you are curious and want to try the white tattoo trend, why not opt for a white elephant? Granted white tattoos may fade over time, so this may be a wise choice if you don't want visible commitment.

For lovers seeking a couple tattoo design who would rather forgo name or wedding ring designs in fear of bad luck or jinxing their union, the stately elephant symbolizes both fidelity and loyalty- two key elements in any successful union.

In addition, elephants have long been representative of the Republican political party. In 1874, cartoonist Thomas Nast sketched the elephant for a cartoon featured in Harper's Weekly alongside the Democratic Donkey.

If you want to honor your political views with an animal rather than a flag or memorial tattoo, you may opt for the mighty elephant instead.

Elephant Tattoo Design Ideas

There are many ways to design an elephant for a tattoo. Some are very elaborate and detailed and others are simple, suggesting just the silhouette of the magnificent creature. If you have a playful persona, you may even consider using a finger for the trunk and the side of your hand for the body of your elephant tattoo.

First and foremost, the more detailed your elephant, the larger its size should be. For small or discreet locations, it would be best to opt for just an outlined elephant body. If you want something more elaborate, consider adding henna inspired artwork alongside your elephant for pretty detailing and fancy scrolling.

Another consideration is how many elephants will you wear? Elephants travel holding onto one another's trunks. What a sweet and symbolic way to honor family and loved ones. If you have three children, perhaps you can link them together in a charming family tattoo design? An elephant pack tattoo can also symbolize friendship and loyalty.

Placement Concerns and Suggestions

While many people opt for clever placements for an elephant tattoo, always consider the long-term outcome before jumping on a trend.

While elephant hand and finger trunk tattoos are becoming much more popular, they might limit employment opportunities, and the finished work has its own set of challenges, including potential fading. Placing an elephant trunk on your fingers may not be the best idea later.

For the untamed and a little wild, it bears little explanation why an elephant can also make a suitable choice for a penis tattoo. Just give it a thought and the design really does make perfect sense.

For most anyone else, the elephant makes a beautiful statement on the forearm, shoulder blades, on the trunk of your leg, and even the chest. Try to place the design where the trunk will follow the natural curves of your body and you'll have an elephant tattoo design that's harmonic with your own shape; the perfect union between man and beast.

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