Koi Full sleeve tattoo.
Koi Full sleeve tattoo, black and grey Japanese sleeve showcasing Koi fishes and chrysanthemum flowers.
Koi Meaning in Japanese Art.
A sleeve tattoo (or tattoo sleeve) is a large tattoo, or a collection of smaller tattoos, that has a unified theme, that covers most or all of a person’s arm, usually from shoulder to wrist.
There is a difference between an arm covered in tattoos and a sleeve tattoo. A sleeve tattoo has a unified theme, whereas an arm covered in tattoos may have many tattoos of different styles that does not have an overall unity.
The term “sleeve” is a reference to the tattoo’s size similarity in coverage to a long shirt sleeve on an article of clothing. In this manner, the term is also used as a verb; for example, “getting sleeved” means to have one’s entire arm tattooed. The term is also sometimes used in reference to a large leg tattoo that covers a person’s leg in a similar manner…(Wikipedia)
Probably surprising to many westerners is the very large amount of ancient myths that surround these beautiful fish in the orient, and their elevated status there. The koi is more than just a colourful and collectible fish, it is also one of the most popular and beautiful story, myth, tale and tattoo themes, a beauty which belies its symbolic meaning. Although Chinese in origin, the koi is now widely celebrated in Japan, particularly for its masculine qualities. It is said to climb waterfalls bravely, and, if caught it will lie upon the cutting board awaiting the knife without a quiver, not unlike the warrior facing the sword.
Eventually, the stoic fish came to be associated with so many masculine and positive qualities that it was appropriated for the annual “Boys day festival” in Japan where even today colourful, streaming koi flags are traditionally displayed for each son in the family. In tattoo imagery, especially in combination with flowing water, it symbolizes much the same courage, control, and the ability to achieve goals with an understanding of life’s trials”.
Koi Full sleeve tattoo by George Bardadim, Tattoo Artist, based in NYC. Resident artist at Tattoo Culture, Brooklyn.