The Chrysanthemum Tattoo: Meaning, Symbolism & Designs
Anyone with a green thumb knows that Chrysanthemums are unpretentious and hardy flowering plants that can be grown almost anywhere. However, their interest extends beyond their ornamental value in the garden, because these flowers are loaded with deep and complex symbolism. In the current article, we examine the chrysanthemum tattoo and its multiple meanings, some more curious and attractive than others…
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What Is the Meaning of the Chrysanthemum Tattoo?
In a lot of European countries, chrysanthemums have the capacity to provoke somewhat funereal associations. These are typical species for the end of October and the beginning of November which have earned themselves the alias “the flower of All Saints’ Day” and which are quite often planted in cemeteries. However, this plant does not have the same connotation everywhere and this is even more true when talking about the chrysanthemum tattoo…
Chrysanthemums in Europe and America
In some European countries, the meaning of chrysanthemum is “sympathy”, “love” (red chrysanthemum), and “appreciation” (yellow chrysanthemum). A white chrysanthemum can be a representation of loyalty. In America, it is a flower symbolizing respect and honor, and it is frequently made into bouquets and wreaths that are offered to demonstrate these feelings.
Chrysanthemums in the Asian Tradition
Regardless, it cannot be denied that the most positive and richest symbolism of this flower comes from Asia. There, the chrysanthemum evokes the sun, the joy of life, longevity, rebirth and even immortality. It is no coincidence that it is the emblem of the Emperor of Japan!
Chrysanthemum in Japanese Tattoos
The chrysanthemum tattoo has a special place in irezumi – the traditional Japanese tattoo art of covering of a fairly large area of the body. According to Eddy Toshi Wertheim, a specialist in Japanese culture @tattoolife.com, the much-loved chrysanthemums are multipurpose and “they can serve as a background or focal point of the artwork, but their symbolic meaning is often overlooked “.
What Are the Origins of This Symbol?
According to legend, when a certain member of the royal family was going into retirement, he ordered a blacksmith to make him a sword decorated with chrysanthemums, as symbols of beauty. The imperial family was so delighted with the result that they immediately adopted the design as their coat of arms and still use it to this day.
Additionally, aristocratic healers prepared chrysanthemum concoctions to ensure the longevity of their masters. The lower classes took up the practice too and all people started growing chrysanthemums which soon became typical motifs for decorating kimonos, traditional vessels and Japanese ukiyo-e printing. But what about the Japanese chrysanthemum tattoo?
The Japanese Chrysanthemum Tattoo
The Japanese chrysanthemum tattoo has always been used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits, especially by people who work dangerous professions. Nowadays, it also encompasses the already mentioned themes of beauty, royalty and longevity. These are timeless symbols whose importance and meaning deepen with age.
Combining different types of flowers with their particular meanings
A chrysanthemum and snake tattoo on the shoulder for daring girls
Colorful chrysanthemum tattoos are very eye-catching
Full sleeve with chrysanthemum and ginkgo biloba leaves on a black background