Monkey King tattoos are inspired by the classic Chinese character, Su Wokung or the Monkey King. The character is from the 16th century book Journey to the West, and in the book the central character (Sun Wukong) is a monkey who gains supernatural powers through Taoist practices, and the magical stone he was born from.
He uses these powers to become a warrior who fights against demons in India as he and his companion Xuanzang the monk try to retrieve Buddhist sutras.
The character is so legendary that its become an important part of Asian tattooing.
Monkey King tattoos are usually filled with multiple bright colors, especially lots of greens, reds, yellows and purples, and often represent Wukong’s power to control the wind and water and cast spells. The Monkey King himself is always featured on these types of tattoos, and their might even be some with monk Xuanzang or a demon or two.
They’re common choices for Japanese and Chinese tattoos and can usually be found on biceps, as full arm sleeves or on the backs of many men.