When you think of Egypt perhaps the first thing that comes to mind for most are the pyramids or even the Great Sphinx. However, it extends far beyond the monuments, ancient Egypt is the said to be the framework for civilization.
If there’s one thing the Egyptians mastered aside from moving massive stones that still dumbfound us, it’s organization.
From religion to writing, government and more, the historical significance continues to be studied today. However, when it comes to symbolism and meanings, they are virtually quite endless.
For starters there’s the gods like Isis, who’s renowned for magical seductive and also the daughter or Ra. If you’re not familiar with Ra, it is the god of the sun and associated warm weather. Next, there is Osiris, the first Pharaoh, who’s queen is of course, Isis.
Gods and goddesses aside, many tattoos tend to feature royal headpieces and spiritual symbols.
For instance, the Egyptians believed deeply in life after death, with the ankh representing eternal life and safe passage. Even the dung beetle, called the scarab served as a unique symbol of rebirth. As an insect of impulsiveness, it makes sense when you consider it would appear when the time was deemed right.
There’s also the Ba, a decorated bird that represents relentless perseverance and personality. After flying away during the daytime to work, it seemingly always would return come nightfall. Ancient Egyptians had attributed it to the protection of a youthful appearance after death.
Yet two of the most popular designs you’ll see today often include the Eye of Horus and the Sphinx. The Eye of Horus was more than just the “all-seeing eye”, it was a symbol for protection, good health and royal power. It stems from Horus, the ancient Egyptian sky god, otherwise described as the falcon. Now, for the Sphinx, the meaning isn’t quite as clear. It’s been said to be a guardian to the buried king who rested in the nearby pyramid.
There’s also the mummy, pyramid and pharaoh, each of which you’ll discover in top 60 best Egyptian tattoos for men. From stone monuments to ancient symbols that bewilder, these tattoo designs and ideas are sure to leave you inspired.
Egyptian Tattoo Ideas
This is a nicely articulated Egyptian style chest tattoo that features the Pyramids of Giza above, while below is a picture of Ma’at. Ma’at is the Goddess of truth, justice, and the cosmic order. The feather in her headdress is an ostrich feather. The shading in this piece is quite gaudy but does a good job of linking the imagery together.
Wow. This is a wicked Egyptian tattoo that is etched with Polynesian tribal techniques. The degree of detail in the shading of this piece is astounding – there would have to have been at least five sessions to make up the time taken to ink the sleeve. In Ancient Egypt the Scarab was key part of funerary rites and symbolized the circle of life, and immortality.
Anubis, Jackal headed God responsible for dressing the dead, and former lord of the Egyptian Underworld who was replaced by Osiris. This new wave style tattoo features an epic array of ink colors to project the fantastical in both the God and his surrounds. The representative color reflection in Anubis’ burnished armor adds to the prestige of the artwork, showing off the skills of the artist.
This blackwork tattoo of the boy King Tutankhamun effectively uses degrees of shadow to replicate the features of his funeral mask. The artist works well within the limited space to mesh the new work with the subject’s previous tattoos.
A nice cartoonish style Egyptian tattoo featuring popular symbols the ankh, Egyptian Triangle, and Eye of Horus. The key to the quality of this piece is well-executed black linework supported by gray shading. The ankh was the Egyptian hieroglyph representing life, or more accurately, “the Breath of Life.” The triangle was used in surveying and is believed to be the origin of the Pythagorean triangle. The eye of Horus, which remains popular in Egypt today, symbolizes rebirth, regeneration and protection.
This the tattoo version of the guy from the History Channel that thinks every keystone event was caused by aliens. It’s an epic piece of abstract new wave style. The balance of color, shade, and line work for such a small tattoo is packed in with expert skill.
The artist deftly shades and emphasizes the key elements of teeth, beard, and snake then contrasts it with precise black and gray shading of the headdress lightened by clever use of negative space throughout to avoid making the artwork overwrought and too dark.
Nice inside forearm tattoo. This traditional Egyptian sarcophagus is well drawn by the artist, utilizing clear, crisp line work and an understated color pattern to make the coffin’s beautiful cover. Broadening the image with numerous simple hieroglyphs is a nice added touch.
This incomplete pharaoh piece is rounding into a nice Egyptian tattoo. The shading is simple, opting to use a solid gray ink in addition to regular blackwork shading techniques when filling out the image.
Ancient Egypt meets Slayer in this killer mummy tattoo. It’s a heavy tattoo, thick of line and black of shading, but there are elements of white highlight helping to keep it from becoming a blobby mess. And rendering the artwork ineffective.
Here is another King Tutt chest piece. The funky head band is known as a Uraeus. In this version the serpent is representative of Wadjet, one of the protective Goddesses of Lower Egypt.
Focus on the crook and flail in this excellent Pharaoh tattoo. Notice how by adding white ink to the slightly deeper, crisper black of the line work this makes them pop in comparison to the rest of the image. It’s a cool technique the artist has used to make a bit of visual trickery in the art. The crook and flail are emblematic of pharaonic authority first linked to the God Osiris.
This bad ass black and gray tattoo is chock full of cool references to Ancient Egypt. There’s Nefertiti, the wife of rebel King Akhenaten who was described as the most beautiful woman in the world, the gods Horus (falcon) and Set (beast), who battled against each other for 80 years. There’s also an Eye of Horus, the scarab, and the Pyramids of Giza. Not bad content for a half sleeve tattoo.
This is a nice King Tutt. Super imposing a stylized Eye of Horus in place of the pharaohs eye is a nice touch that makes it standout in comparison to other similar works, as does the flawless line/shadow work in the headdress.
Are you ready to rumble? This is either Horus versus Set on tattooed flesh, or a battle of the band’s poster. The artist has skilfully applied shading effects to make the pending battle look like the cracking of a stone tablet.
The simple highlights used by incorporating white ink into the line work prevents this Egyptian tattoo from being too dark and overdone.
This is a clever half sleeve add-on. The Eye of Horus in this piece has been depicted to look like the falcon’s eye (Horus had the head of a falcon) and is drawn with exquisite skill. There are similar columns to those on the Colonnade of Amenhotep III at Luxor Temple. All of this has been added to build and enhance the original tattoo, which is Queen Cleopatra wearing an elegantly decorated crown.
One of the few scarab tattoos to sport a version of the little beetle carrying its own dung. Part of the circle of life, and all that. The darkness of the ink in this piece is alleviated a little by using white ink in outlines. It’s nicely detailed throughout.
What a cool lower arm sleeve. This art features the Sphinx, the mythical creature protecting the Pharaohs tomb at the Great Pyramids of Giza. The tattoo is positioned in an interesting fashion horizontally along the subject’s arm, but there’s exceptional negative space and shadow work combining to strengthen the image. Just for reference, the Pyramid with the ice cream cone on top is the Pyramid of Khafre. Khafre is also believed to have built the Sphinx after his pyramid in the 4th Dynasty. In this tattoo the Sphinx has a nose, however the original lost his in around 1000AD.
This new wave Egyptian tattoo cleanly separates the abstract from realism in stunning fashion. The beautiful constellations, bright purple and fiery orange color are fantastic, but are somehow upstaged by the clarity of detail found in the brickwork of the Sphinx and three Pyramids. This is an epic tattoo!
This sleeve is beautifully balanced in the fine facial features. It’s well complemented by crisp black and gray shading. It’s an expensive piece of artwork, but by the looks of things it’s a lot cheaper than the watch the subject is wearing on his wrist.
Elements of this piece are excellent however the overall space and line work give the Pharoah a bit too much of a moon face. If the jaw line was just a little bit longer the image would make for a better overall tattoo. The serpent of the Uraeus and the braid work of the pharaoh’s beard are both well inked.
This is a bad ass mummy you’d be extremely unlikely to replicate for your office Halloween party. Despite being very dark, the linework and shading is clear, concise, and flawlessly executed. The clarity of the torn material is realistic enough that you’d scratch and sniff it to check how nasty it was. This is an expert piece of tattoo art.
This is a rare dotwork style tattoo depicting an Egyptian pharaoh, and creates shading colors much different to those found on more traditional works of gray and black. In this piece, the Uraeus features a vulture symbolizes Nekhbet, an ancient protective goddess representative of Upper Egypt.
This is likely a tattoo of Set (or Seth). Set was a major Egyptian God who symbolized chaos and battle. He can sometimes be mistaken for Anubis (and may be here!), the funerary god with the head of a jackal. Nobody has been quite able to figure out exactly the type of beast that represents Set, settling to describe it as a ‘beast’ of a composite nature.
If they used this version of the mummy in those Brendan Fraser films from the early 2000s, more teenaged kids would have developed terrible sleep disorders. There’s excellent shade technique deployed right through this Egyptian tattoo, especially in the jaundiced eyes of the mummy and by the jewelled necklace it wears.
This is a beautifully realized 3D variation on the Eye of Horus. It’s drawn with great skill, however the part that draws you in most is the deep detailed darkness of her eyeball. There’s just a small amount of gray ink and white flecked through to make it look amazing inside that sphere.
Having seen the golden facemask of Tutankhamun up close and in person (humblebrag) this is the black and white photo version. This tattoo does a truly outstanding job of making it seem that the tattoo is, in fact, burnished gold. It’s tremendously executed..
This eye looks like it has been plucked from some person’s socket, photographed, then put back in. The artist has done a remarkable job putting this into a hand tattoo, it’s sharp, clear, and has the realistic wetness of a real orb. It’s almost like it’s been stuck over the top of the bordering pyramid, which to be honest seems underwhelming when compared to the eye.