Dragons have been featured in worldwide symbolism for thousands of years, so it’s only natural that they would find their way into popular tattoo art. And despite their rich and complex allure, some of the best tattoo renditions are the simplest.
The medieval European dragon provided the classic fire-breathing archetype we uphold today in our storytelling, with the depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon arguably the most recognizable tableau.
Believed to be the representation of sin and ferocity, the European dragon was a guardian of both treasure and wickedness.
Asian belief held a different opinion of the dragon, which was seen as a magical entity heralding good fortune, fertility, and wisdom. Similarly, the ancient Indian dragons were underworld inhabitants held in reverence to the god Garuda and believed to contain life-giving properties.
Powerful and yet wingless, Japanese dragons embodied the element of water, and were seen as harbingers of abundance and prosperity. Able to control the floods and tides, the Japanese dragon was seen as a vessel through which to connect to the forces of nature and sway them in one’s favor. The Chinese dragon, however, is the most striking of them all, a symbol of power, heroism, long life, and amble riches. Chinese belief holds the dragon as the ultimate sign of new beginnings and enlightenment, and its likeness factors into all aspects of daily life and ritual.
Even North America carries a version of the dragon, frequently depicted in Native American, Mayan, and Aztec art as a benevolent entity sent to devour evil and reinstate positive creation on Earth.
With such a wealth of history and meaning behind it, it may seem counterproductive to depict the dragon in a simplistic fashion. However, this style holds true to the dragon’s original ideology. Inked as an outline or shaded with only a few colors, with a singular flame or pearl in its beak, the dragon is a powerful totem that needs no further embellishing. Just as the greatest riches of the world can be found by way of the simplest route, the man who adorns his flesh with a similar dragon tattoo style takes the path of least resistance and wants for nothing because of it.
1. Forearm Simple Dragon Tattoos
2. Arm Simple Dragon Tattoos
3. Wrist Simple Dragon Tattoos
4. Chest Simple Dragon Tattoos
5. Back Simple Dragon Tattoos
6. Neck Simple Dragon Tattoos
7. Side Simple Dragon Tattoos
8. Calf Simple Dragon Tattoos
9. Leg Simple Dragon Tattoos
10. Thigh Simple Dragon Tattoos
11. Shoulder Simple Dragon Tattoos
12. Hand Simple Dragon Tattoos
13. Finger Simple Dragon Tattoos
14. Traditional Simple Dragon Tattoos
15. 3D Simple Dragon Tattoos