Bloody Rose Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Bloody Rose Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

When it comes to an image of drama and romance, a bleeding rose is an excellent example. The bleeding rose represents romance with a bittersweet twist, and has since the ancient Greek times.

Bloody Rose tattoos are less common than the traditional flower, but they have a symbolism and a meaning all their own. Contrary to what you might think, this image actually has historical symbolism as well as more modern representations.

This article explores the history and symbolism of the Bloody Rose Tattoo.


What is the History of Bloody Rose Tattoos?

Bloody roses as images are a relatively recent addition to tattoos.

They became more popular during the era of the World Wars, when soldiers and sailors wore them to represent a love they were uncertain they would return to.

Bloody roses are also referenced in ancient mythology.

Bloody Roses in Mythology:

In mythology, Aphrodite’s lover Adonis was wounded. Roses grew in the place where he fell.

Some versions of the myth say that Adonis’s blood covered the roses, giving them a blood-red color and the first bloody rose imagery.

Other versions say that Aphrodite pricked her foot as she ran toward her fallen lover, and her blood stained the white roses red. The first red roses were said to be stained that color because the blood of the goddess was falling on them.


What is the Symbolism Behind Bloody Rose Tattoos?

The most common symbolism behind bloody roses is an eternal love, one that will never die.

Bloody roses, particularly images with stems and thorns, may symbolize a love that leads to heartbreak, or a love that wounds.

With bloody black roses, it may symbolize mourning for a lost love, or someone beloved who has passed away.

Bloody roses of another color may also represent a different kind of love that leads to grief.


What Meanings Can Bloody Rose Tattoos Have?

The meanings behind bloody roses usually pertain to some form of loss or sorrow.

A bloody black rose may represent a loved one who has passed away, with the rose symbolizing death and mourning and the droplets of blood symbolizing the pain of loss.

A bloody yellow rose may represent a close friend who has been lost, or a friendship with a painful ending.

A bloody white rose may represent a first love that ended badly, or the loss of a child or a younger family member.

A bloody red rose often represents a romance that is mourned or a love that will always be cherished.

A bloody blue rose represents a fantasy that can be painful in the fascination it holds for the person.

A bloody purple rose might represent a love of luxury that has, or had, negative consequences.

A bloody pink rose may represent a lost source of admiration, like a family member. In recent times, pink roses are sometimes used to symbolize cancer survivors, so a bloody pink rose might represent someone lost to cancer.

In most cases, the meaning is attached to a specific person.

It may also occasionally represent an extreme level of passion and inspiration on the level of an obsession.

– Artistic passions or inspirations that are extreme to the point of being overwhelming or painful.

– A memory of an event or a person that was personally damaging but evoked passionate feelings.

Meaning of Bloody Roses With Other Images:

Other images paired with bloody roses can give the image a more subtle meaning, or tie it to a specific person.

A bloody rose with a skull might represent a love lost to death, or the death of a close and passionate relationship.

A bloody rose with a knife might represent a violently passionate relationship, leaning more toward representation of a relationship that left wounds on the heart.

A bloody rose with an animal may represent a relationship with a specific person, represented by that animal.


Where Are Bloody Rose Tattoos Usually Placed?

The forearms are a common location for bloody rose tattoos, but far from the only choice.

The second most popular choice of location seems to be the front of the shoulder or on the abdomen.

Abdominal bloody rose tattoos are sometimes across the lower abdomen, sometimes across the rib cage.

A less common choice for bloody rose tattoos is the center of the back, between the shoulders. These tattoos are often roses with stems.

Blooms by themselves have also been placed on the back of the hand, the top of the foot, or on the calves, though this is a less common location for these tattoos.

In rare cases, this tattoo has been placed on the side of the neck, or on the thigh, but these locations are not often chosen.


Styles and Characteristics of Bloody Rose Tattoos:

Bloody Rose Tattoos can be drawn a number of different ways, but there are some common elements.

– They are usually red or black. On very rare occasions, they can be white, yellow or blue.

– Bloody roses are usually shown in full bloom, rather than with rosebuds.

– The most common representations are of single roses, rather than multiple blooms or bouquets

– Bloody roses are often depicted with other images, such as skulls, knives, spiderwebs, or thorns.

     – These are the most common additional images, but other images can be paired with a bloody rose, such as wolves or whimsical images.

– Bloody roses can be done in a realistic style, or an illustrated style.

– Blood depicted on bloody roses can also be done in a more illustrated or more realistic depiction.

– Some bloody rose tattoos are done in a very dark watercolor style.

– Has sometimes been done as a chain of flowers.


Bloody roses are often a representation of love lost and passion that has been harmful as well as beautiful. As a memorial to loss or  reminder of passion that withstands the test of time, a bloody rose is a striking image to remind you of deep emotional connections.

Leave a Reply