The Ancient Egyptians are a race both feared and revered at the same time. What really happens all those years ago? Who built the pyramids? Why were cats such elevated beings in society? And what do all the hieroglyphics mean? For anyone enamored with Egyptian culture, an Egyptian tattoo is a must – and we’ve found some of the best.
Egyptian tattoos are beautiful representations of power and prestige. They speak to days of old when pharaohs ruled the land and gods and goddesses were put on high pedestals. It was a different age but the markings have followed people through the generations. Egyptian tattoos are still popular among many people. This type of genre in tattoo is fascinating because it mixes the ancient day with adventure and mystery that many of us don’t know or understand. It’s become more and more popular in this day and age. As you’ll discover, there are so many different symbols and imagery associated with this genre. It’s bold and adventuresome and commands respect. The ancient Egyptians put a lot of time and equity in their gods and many of the tattoos you’ll see today are of these ancient gods.
Where do you place this kind of body work?
The most popular placement is on the shoulder, chest and back. This is due in part that a lot of the images are quite large and the vast expanse of the entire canvas is needed. You will see from time to time the smaller images and they are often discreetly and uniquely placed on shoulders, feet, wrists and necks. This is often the female version of an Egyptian tattoo. This genre is easy to place behind the ear, on the neck, feet and hands because of the hieroglyphs. It gives off mysterious allure and is ideal for a starter tattoo.
1. This is unique coloring and excellent line work. The artist really went into detail with the overall look of this piece. The eyes are haunting and the snake is foreboding.
2. These colors are so eye catching and vibrant. The beetle is extending upwards toward the sun god, Ra. This particular god held a lot of importance and significance to the ancient Egyptians.
3. Beautiful art of a past Pharaoh. The Pharaoh was the ruler of ancient Egypt and is perhaps most known for being stubborn and unwilling to let the Israelites go which led to one Pharaoh in particular’s demise.
4. These images are so vivid. They both represent gods of the past and you can see the different animal imagery on both arms. Do you see the crosses below?
5. Portraits are very difficult to do well. One misstep and the entire face is off kilter. This artist did a fantastic job capturing the alluring eyes of this female. Notice the snake that is wrapped around her head and extends under her. It’s not colored in and there is only line drawing for it which sets it apart and gives significance to its part in the piece. The other colors chosen really make the art pop and appear life like.
6. We particularly like this one because of the attention to detail. It’s alarming in an unoffensive way and it’s confusing because there is an animal head on top of a human body. What do you think it means? It’s probably meant to replicate Anubis. He was a god with the head of a jackal. It represents the underworld because he was thought to decide whether or not people were good enough for it. It also has been equated with the role of responsibility. Someone with this tattoo is probably highlighting that they have great responsibility.
7. Here’s another excellent image of this same god. He holds and heir of authority and was thought to have quite a bit of power which is why the Egyptians revered him so much.
8. The cat symbolizes fertility and motherhood. The feline was also honored because it caught mice and snakes in the villages which protected the people from harm. The extending feathers here took an inordinate amount of time and look fabulous.
9. This picture of hieroglyphics looks stone like and ancient.
10. Such vibrant colors and line work in this piece. The looks so attentive and in charge in this image.
12. This is so realistic and almost has a 3D effect to it. The moon represents magic and eternity while the Anabis also can be related to the dark underworld. The two probably go hand in hand in this piece of art. Anytime there is black shading like there is, it’s a sure sign that it was painful and took a while to complete. Kudos to this guy.
13. Beautiful design and overall layout with this piece of art. The flowers lacking color signifies something in particular though it may be lost to everyone but the artist himself.
14. This tattoo is full of symbolism. The sun means it’s protecting whatever its rays touch. The eye signifies strength and power. If you have a one dollar bill from the United States with you, take it out and take a look at it. It’s the same eye. The pyramids also signify power and authority.
15. Interesting choice in not using any color here but it looks great. It really brings out the eyes in this image and the line detail is excellent. From the hat to the high cheek bones, every detail is on point.
16. The cross and the eye of the sun god are very simply yet strikingly done in this piece.
17. “Walk like an Egyptian…” Anybody know the rest of the words to that song? This guy seems to have the walk down pretty good.
18. This piece looks a bit faded probably because it’s on his hand and exposed to the elements. Initially it was pretty intricate but it could stand to be touched up. That’s part of the deal with hand tattoos, they just have a tendency to need retouching. Definitely something to take into consideration when deciding on the placement of your next job.
19. These are really cool splashes of blue. They make the whole piece pop. The face of this pharaoh is eyeless which hints to it being a mummy perhaps.
20. Here’s another example of the artist making the piece look ancient. It’s very well done. The hat this person has on was very fashionable back in the day.
21. The bold coloring really makes this Anubis look menacing. The sun looks like it’s shooting solar rays out in daggers.
22. Very cool piece with excellent line work and attention to detail. This took extensive effort by the artists and probably took a while to complete.
23. The use of purple and yellow here really ties the whole piece together. It causes the central focus to zero in on the eye. The triangle looks to be a pyramid while the eye is inside of it yet the eye appears to be the focal point of the whole piece. It gives a domineering feel to the art. What are your thoughts?
24. Wow, the artist did an excellent job with depth here. It looks like we are staring into an actual eye. It’s still red around the edges which signifies it hasn’t been on that person’s arm for very long. It looks like it’s healing quite nicely.
25. Unique placement and the shading is very good. There’s quite a bit of imagery and meaning here. Based on what each means, can you decipher what the artist was trying to convey? It looks like power and dominance are key components here. The usage of the black ink really intensifies the overall look of the piece.
26. The green almost reminds of a leprechaun. Anybody else see that eye on the pyramid? He’s got the Egyptian cross in his hand and the staff in his other. He looks rather authoritative here. It’s a bold tattoo because it’s quite drastic and overbearing on the sleeve of his arm.
27. This detail is legit. It took a long time to do and was probably pretty painful when it hit his ribs. The artist did a great job of capturing the essence of this image. The shading and contrast is particularly well done on the wings above the snake and the eagle. It has a 3 dimensional look to it.
28. This is an Anubis in the midst of hieroglyphics. This is something you might see on the inside walls of the pyramids. It looks fairly rudimentary but it actually probably took the artist quite a while to do each line with the various art.
29. Ok for starters this guy looks pretty cool in his hat and the lighting here is awesome. The back of his piece is a little blurred because of the dark coloring used for the wing span. If you look closely, you can see quite a bit of detail went into this art.
30. This chest piece is pretty interesting because it seems to have a few different genres going on here. If you take a look at his arm, you’ll notice the Medusa looking figure which doesn’t seem to tie together the art as a whole. The line work is excellent but there doesn’t seem to be a rhythm here. What do you think? The skull face pharaoh obviously has some significance but the stars used aren’t from Egyptians times at all. The eye and the pyramid tie together so perhaps he’s going for an ominous, foreboding look.
31. The detail here in on point. Nicely done! The neck is a great location for a female with long hair because they can easily hide it if they need to although do to the size of the tattoo, it may not be as easily hidden as others.
32. This is a small, inexpensive and elegant piece. It probably wasn’t very painful and is a great starter tattoo. It was probably the shop minimum and wouldn’t take very long to complete and the healing process would be fairly quick.
33. The black here would have been painful because the artist would have had to go pretty deep. It’s a very dramatic image that has excellent detail. It would have been a lengthy time to complete because of the degree of detail in the art here. It’s a very upfront and in your face piece. The boldness of it will definitely have onlookers asking questions and wanting to know more about it.
34. We love when two pieces come together to make a whole! The colors are pretty deep and the shading really offsets the images. This is very well done. This art is telling a story that is known to the canvas and the artist.
35. The red in the eye really makes it come alive. Tender placement choice but excellent overall piece. It’s quite large so it wouldn’t be easily hidden but it does look quite nice here.
36. This is a brand spankin’ new image and it looks so good. They may or may not fill it in with color but honestly with the red behind the beetle, it looks finished. The line work is really great and the aesthetic is awesome.
37. Another excellent example of a simple piece that would be awesome as a starter. It’s simple and wouldn’t take too long to complete. It might cost the shop minimum and probably wouldn’t hurt too bad.
38. The vibrant colors really make the image eye catching and endearing. There’s quite a bit of detail on here and it all came together beautifully. This would have been a process and probably meant a lot of sitting for the canvas but in the end, it was most definitely worth it.
39. This emanates power and dominance. The colors chosen here really provoke one to wonder what he’s conveying. It’s looks fearsome and threatening. Once again, this is a really bold look for the upper arm. It commands attention and is quite dominant. It tells a story and it is very eye catching.
40. Great job at trying for a 3D type image. It has a lot of different scenes and seems to be hinting at some sort of journey. The top of his shoulder has the Sphinx and then a person on a camel below. As you follow down the arm, you’ll notice more imagery that eventually ends with a woman. It’s a tale of a journey but we’re not quite sure what he’s trying to express, but regardless, we really love the different pieces. Perhaps he’s not telling a story at all. Does anyone have any input?
41. Maybe the guy was going for fierce protector. We think he nailed it! There is great imagery all throughout this work.
42. This is a great representation of hieroglyphics. It’s clean and though it’s not symmetrical, it does have a rhythm and flow to it.
43. We really like this one because it’s so shiny. It looks like you could literally peel it off her skin. Gorgeous work. It’s so eye catching and engaging. It looks as if it’s floating off her arm.
44. The cat here looks so mischievous. They were held in such high esteem in the ancient days. The details and line work really make the cat appear life like.
45. Cleopatra and Anubis are pretty busy in these images. What do you think? They seem to be in their own worlds yet seem like they are planning something together.
46. This is beautiful. It may signify the setting sun of a particular season for this person. The scarab beetle was known to have relevance to the sun in ancient days.
What do Egyptian tattoos mean mean?
Each image means something different and each is steeped in rich history. The following are a compilation of a variety of popular images. Which one sticks out the most to you?
Anubis was the god who watched over the tombs and has the head of a jackal. He was known as a protector and watcher of the night. He was revered and honored. He is one of the most popular if not the most popular of symbols to get inked of this particular genre.
Cat was also known as Mau and they were greatly favored because they kept rodents and snakes away from villages. They were held in very high esteem and were catered to by all the people.
Hieroglyphics was the way the ancient Egyptians communicated. It was one of the first languages and is not in words but rather symbols.
Cartouche it’s part of hieroglyphics and signifies that the person writing is referring to a royal.
Lotus was a plant and it meant sun and creation because every day it would rise up and then go back underwater every night. The Egyptians were fascinated with the sun and everything that was associated with the solar rays was held in reverence.
Eye of Horus was also known as the eye of Ra who was Egypt’s most powerful god. It signified protection, wellness and overall power. You will see this image quite a bit as well.
Egyptian gods were heavily revered and honored. It was of great importance to serve and worship their gods.
Scarab Beetle held a lot of influence over ancient Egyptians for a variety of things. They signified when a young man was coming of age and also were revered in relation to the sun. It was thought they had power with the setting sun. They were also placed on mummies to help them when they faced judgment.
Pyramids are perhaps one of the most recognized images of Egypt. They are the tombs where the royals were buried and led into the after life. They are also part of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” They have stood the test of time and stand tall in Egypt to this day.
Sphinx had a head of a human and the body of a lion and was said to represent treachery. It wasn’t known to show mercy and was quite a scary mythological creature.
Cross was known as the ankh. It was the key to life and it also represented the Nile. The Nile was highly honored because without it, the Egyptians could not survive.
Phoenix is a bird that means to be reborn.
Is there a back story to hieroglyphics?
Hieroglyphics is the first communication humans ever had. It dates back to ancient days when dinosaurs walked the earth. Just kidding, we don’t know for sure, but we do know it was a super long time ago. It was the way Egyptians communicated with each other and it’s all over the walls of the pyramids. Has anyone been to Egypt to visit them? We’ve heard they’re rad.
What are common colors?
The general coloring is more earth tones in nature. Typical colors are gold, copper, reds, blues and blacks.
Do male or females normally get this tattoo?
Both male and females get Egyptian tattoos because they are both masculine and feminine. The gods and goddesses of old both hold meaning to people as well as just look like awesome images. People of both sex have been intrigued with them for decades and as you can tell from the pictures below, artists are pretty great at capturing on the canvas–your body!
There is so much meaning hidden within each of these images. The ancient Egyptians had a plethora of gods and goddesses that they worshipped. The images of these days are still carried out to this day in the tattoos of some people. Although each tattoo holds special significance to that particular person, it’s important to also know what the image represents historically. Which one would you choose?
When deciding which Egyptian tattoo is right for you, be sure to find out what your image means. If it’s something you like and think it represents who you are, then definitely get it. Even if the image doesn’t represent you, you can still get it, but just know ahead of time that people might misinterpret the meaning when they initially see it. Tattoos allow us to express ourselves on our bodies in a way that other art cannot. Have fun exploring all the different options and images available. Creating the perfect image for yourself is a unique and creative journey. Ask your friends and family for ideas as well as your artist. Or surprise everyone and reveal it once it’s finished. The possibilities are endless!
Take inventory of what you’d need to get together before going to the tattoo parlor. Double check that work is cool with new body art and make sure you have a budget set aside to fund this newest piece of work. Start dreaming and tell us all about your new art.