Japanese sleeve tattoo. Black and grey Chrysanthemum and octopus full sleeve. In progress.
Octopus Japanese Sleeve Tattoo.
The octopus is an increasingly popular tattoo design in general and japanese sleeve tattoo design. As a creature of the deep, the octopus is often associated with mystery, the secrets of the ocean, and individual depth. The octopus also has a prominent place in several cultures, and has been a symbolic animal for hundreds of years.
Many of the symbolic qualities associated with the octopus derive from its physical features and special abilities. For instance, when an octopus is trapped by a foe or predator, it can disengage one of its tentacles in order to escape. After a period of time, this tentacle will grow back, making the octopus a symbol of regeneration. In addition, this physical characteristic also represents the qualities of versatility and resourcefulness, which are both employed in the octopus’s escape. Another unique physical attribute of the octopus is its ability to change colors according to its environment, a skill the octopus uses both to hide from predators and to hunt its prey. This ability to physically change colors can thus be used to signify the human characteristics of adaptability and ingenuity. (Source)
Kiku. Chrysanthemum Japanese Sleeve Tattoo.
From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Soon after its introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. “Kiku” is the Japanese name for chrysanthemum and every year there is a National Chrysanthemum Day which is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.
Since the flower blooms in the fall, the chrysanthemum signifies joy and beauty despite the oncoming winter. Although beautiful, chrysanthemums hold various meanings across different time periods and cultures, both positive and negative.
- Victorians used chrysanthemums to show friendship and well-wishing.
- Buddhists use the chrysanthemum as offerings due to their powerful Yang energy.
- In China, the chrysanthemum is traditionally offered to the elderly as they symbolize long life as well as good luck in the home.
- In Australia, chrysanthemums are the official flower for Mother’s Day due to their nickname “mums.”
- In Belgium and Austria, the chrysanthemum is used almost exclusively as a memorial flower to honor loved ones and is the flower of choice for placing on graves.
KIKU Cultural Significance
Since the chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China, the flower still holds deep cultural significance to this day, especially in art. The chrysanthemum is one of the Four Gentleman, which include the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo. These are the four main plants depicted in traditional Chinese watercolor paintings, and are derived from Confucianism.
In Japan, the official seal for the Imperial family is a chrysanthemum with 16 petals and is used for official government documents. In the military, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is the most prestigious honor that can be awarded by the Emperor. (Source)
Japanese sleeve tattoo in progress. Black and grey full sleeve. Chrysanthemum and octopus full sleeve. Done at Tattoo Culture, Brooklyn, NYC.