Body art requires a tremendous commitment, especially since these designs last for life. As such, it is wise to pick imagery that carries lasting significance; thus, religious tattoos are often the best way to go!
Religious body art may very well be the next big thing. Some belief systems even look at the process of receiving tattoos as a sacred ritual.
While Christianity is the most popular source of imagery for Americans, there are plenty of other faiths being expressed as well. In fact, Buddha is always a top request at parlors in 2016.
By incorporating spiritual icons, devout believers are finally getting to experience a thrill that was formerly relegated to the counterculture. As such, a whole subset of individuals who were initially deprived of tattoos for reasons of worship are finally undertaking the practice in stride.
Hinduism is also a huge source of religious imagery, especially since they literally have thousands of deities to re-imagine on flesh. For starters, check out Ganesha, Brahma, Krishna and Shiva.
Regardless of your own background, you are bound to find a religious tattoo that suits your walk in life. To make this process easier, we’ve already compiled some of the finest options below.
1. Full & Partial Religious Tattoo Sleeves
Whether it’s full or partial, arm or leg, few things make a statement like a sleeve tattoo. Religious tattoo sleeves are exceptionally beautiful. They allow you to include – within reason – a huge variety of elements, from people to objects and everything in between. Sleeves also give you creative license to tell a story with your ink, weaving together the infernal and the heavenly, the mortal and the Divine.
If you’re considering a religious sleeve tattoo, be aware that sleeves of any kind require careful planning and working closely with your tattoo artist. They will be able to blend your vision into a design that looks as great on your arm as it does in your mind, free of distortion or odd proportions. Ask to see sleeves they’ve done in the past to ensure your styles match.
2. Religious Tattoos on the Chest
Close to your heart and pride of place in many tattoo collections, religious tattoos on the chest are truly powerful. Equally beautiful and meaningful in simple linework or fully shaded, expert photo-realism, these heartfelt pieces of art show what guides your life. The chest is a wonderful place for portraits of all kinds, including religious, because of the relatively large swath of smoothly curved skin. They’re equally ideal for large scenes involving several images or people.
Religion is a private thing for many people, which makes chest tattoos a subtle option. You can choose to go shirtless whenever possible to show off your design. In most work and social settings, however, your artwork will remain covered, a personal tribute between you and your Higher Power. This makes chest tattoos particularly intimate in a religious sense.
On the flip side, if the idea of “covering up” your religion makes you uneasy, remember that chest tattoos are easily expanded into shoulder tattoos, torso pieces and sleeves, leaving you plenty of future opportunity to broadcast your beliefs loud and clear!
3. Religious Tattoos on the Forearm
One of the most visible places for a tattoo, religious tattoos on the forearm are for strong, solid believers who won’t mind the occasional question or comment. Forearms offer a unique canvas: smooth, long and narrow.
For some designs, this can prove challenging. Other religious images, however, such as the Last Supper of Jesus with his Disciples, couldn’t be more ideal for forearm tattoos! If you have wider forearms, a vertical portrait is another gorgeous option.
Longer pieces of Scripture, verses from the Tripitaka, Koran, Torah and other holy books, prayers and mantras are also right at home on the forearm. Keep the linework and lettering crisp and easily readable throughout the piece. If you’re unsure whether a particular image or religious text will fit on your forearm, schedule a consult with a trust tattoo artist and get their opinion.
4. Religious Tattoos Featuring the Bible & Quotes
Quotes are powerful in all areas, but particularly religion. Many of us can still recite the first prayer we learned as a child. Perhaps there’s a quote from Church or Temple service which resonates with you, or a line from a holy book which moves you whenever you read it. Words are inexpressibly linked to religion, which makes them an ideal subject for religious tattoos.
Remember that in the world of ink in general – an in religious ink in particular – the opinions of others simply do not matter. A child’s prayer may seem out of place on a muscle-bound guy in his thirties, but who cares? If that prayer represents your first inkling of a Higher Power, it deserves a spot on your body. The same applies to verses from holy texts which are unfamiliar to most people. Forget popular opinion – if it speaks to you, it’s the right text to honor on your flesh.
For Christians, there is no greater tome on earth than the Holy Bible. It is the foundation of their faith and contains the words of their Savior, along with many other pearls from prophets, future saints and Disciples. What better book to ink on your body?
Depictions of the Bible vary widely, from single verses to entire pieces of Scripture. The book itself is also a common tattoo subject, rendered in simple linework, detailed blackwork or the stunning old/new blend of neo-classical design.
5. Large & Highly Visible Religious Tattoos
Given how much religion guides our daily lives, it’s little wonder that many take the “go big or go home” mentality when it comes to religious tattoos. This approach is eye-popping, makes a huge statement and gives your artist all the room they need to create something that will always remind you of your faith. When considering head, neck and hand tattoos, remember to take your current and future jobs into account. Many more employers are considering tattoos acceptable, but unfortunately, many are still stuck in a backward mindset.
Enjoy these examples of religious tattoos but looking for more inspiration? Check out the links below for more awesome galleries:
- Top 101 Christian Tattoo Ideas
- Small Religious Tattoo Designs
- Jesus Back Tattoo Ideas
- Top 51 Jesus 3D Tattoo Ideas