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Chinese Character Tattoos - How To Get The Perfect Design

Mar 12, 2008
The popularity of Chinese tattoos has soared in recent years. Whether you're a professional sportsperson or a local cab driver, the lure of these deeply mysterious patterns has attracted millions of people all over the globe.

And it's not hard to understand why these Chinese calligraphy tattoo designs have become so popular. These ancient designs provide a beautiful way to express an unlimited number of subtle thoughts and messages. Everyone can appreciate the artistry of these designs even if they don't understand the subtle meanings behind them.

But beyond the beauty and deeper meaning of Chinese tattoos, they provide an excellent icebreaker when meeting people. While tattoos are normally a talking point, Chinese tattoos create even more intrigue. If you get a butterfly tattoo, people will ask why you got it and what it means to you. But with a Chinese tattoo you get the opportunity to translate the meaning of the characters and explain what the design means to you.

Unfortunately, for every perfect Chinese tattoo there are ten major mistakes. Every day hundreds of people leave tattoo studios blissfully unaware that their new tattoo doesn't say what they think it does, or that the characters are actually Japanese. Some people end up with a meaningless tattoo, others are not so lucky. They think that it says their boyfriend's name and later discover that it says "supermarket"...or worse.

So to help you avoid these lasting mistakes, here's how to get the perfect Chinese tattoo design.

Do your research. Consult two or three native Chinese speakers about your design. Tell them the message that you want your design to convey and ask them for suggestions. Different people will suggest different character combinations to achieve the meaning that you want.

The most popular designs are those that express general ideas and thoughts such as love, happiness etc. Any of these concepts are a good choice because they contain deeper, more subtle meanings and you're less likely to grow tired of timeless concepts such as peace and honor.

However it's a widespread myth that Chinese characters convey abstract concepts. Despite what you may imagine, written Chinese is primarily a phonetic script that is meant to represent spoken Chinese. So it's important to bear in mind that your chosen characters should be translated properly and sound right in Chinese.

For example, if you wanted a Chinese tattoo design that represented "Peace, Love and Happiness", you would have to translate this English idiom into Chinese. And while the meaning will be clear to Chinese people, the three characters used wouldn't actually sound right to Chinese speakers. So it's important to find the correct Chinese characters to;

1) Represent the meaning that you want,
2) Be understood by Chinese people, and
3) Sound right when pronounced in Chinese.

And to achieve that, it's absolutely vital to consult a few native Chinese speakers before you put a needle anywhere near your skin.

Once you've got the characters that you want and all the different meanings and connotations have been checked, get one of the native speakers to sketch out the characters and take them to your tattoo artist. They should have experience of applying Chinese character tattoos and be able to offer you a choice of fonts, ranging from classic calligraphy to a more contemporary style.

After that, you can relax knowing that you'll have a beautiful Chinese tattoo design that's full of mystery and deep personal meaning for the rest of your life.
About the Author
Super Tattoo Designs is run by Gustavo Gomez. For information about a wide range of tattoo designs, including chinese character tattoos, please visit www.SuperTattooDesigns.com
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