The Crown of Thorns is a very old symbol and even before it had religious connotations, the symbology of thorns themselves as the guardian of the rose had been well-established.
In today’s article we’re going to take a look at 32 impressive Crown of Thorns designs in order to help inspire you for making your own.
Whether it’s for faith or for its nature symbolism, there’s a little bit of something for everyone here and we hope that you will enjoy this body art gallery which we are sharing today.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Crown of Thorns and the many interpretations in the world of body art!
1. Crown of Thorns Bicep Tattoo
This Crown of Thorns bicep tattoo is a great piece of body art and it also hides well, as some people get thorn tattoos to show that they are ‘tough’ while others who share your faith are going to recognize it easily.
It’s also something that you can hide as you like or display proudly – which is very important sometimes in this day and age.
2. Crown of Thorns Underneath Crown
A large tattoo like this makes a great statement of faith. Depending on where you place it, you can have the option to cover it at work if your workplace is a little conservative but in your free time you can show the world your own personal dedication to what you believe.
The roses along with the actual crown are beautifully rendered along with the statement ‘Child of the One True King’.
It’s a moving statement and this Crown of Thorns underneath a crown is a beautiful piece of body art.
3. Crown of Thorns Tattoo Around The Wrist
This Crown of Thorns tattoo around the wrist works beautifully, especially with the sleeve elements above it incorporated into the design.
The detail of the work contrasts nicely with the tribal elements above, so that both the realistic and the stylistic meet in the middle to make something greater than the sum of its part.
It’s an excellent design choice and definitely some good-looking body art.
4. Crown of Thorns and Rose Tattoo
With the grim thorns and the beautiful roses, this Crown of Thorns and rose tattoo seems to show that there is both a harsh reality and a beauty in the trials of faith.
There are many ways to profess your love for the spiritual and some focus too much on harsh aspects, but faith can be a beautiful thing that helps us to endure.
This tattoo says it perfectly with a simple, yet detailed design of well-chosen parts.
5. Crown of Thorns and Wing Tattoo
Faith elevates us, even at our lowest, and this Crown of Thorns and wing tattoo expressed this point beautifully.
Not only is the design skillfully chosen and rendered, but it also fits perfectly to the arm of the wearer.
This is a great example of what a good tattoo artist can do. Each design is uniquely tailored to the owner to fit them perfectly.
6. Small Crown of Thorns Tattoo
A tattoo doesn’t have to be huge to be powerful. This small Crown of Thorns tattoo marks the wearer as one who understands the importance of faith and while the tattoo itself is small, the symbol of the Crown of Thorns is enormous and profound.
You can express your faith in many ways but body art reflects the commitment of the faithful.
It’s eternally on your skin, just as faith is to be eternal in your heart.
7. Heart with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo
Speaking of having faith in your heart, this heart with a Crown of Thorns tattoo states boldly to anyone who looks upon it exactly what the wearer believes and will defend.
We say defend, because the fierce style in this image seems to reflect a personality who will fight for their faith until the very end. It’s a powerful piece of body art, indeed!
8. Simple Crown of Thorns Tattoo
Sometimes we want to express our faith in subtle ways. This simple Crown of Thorns tattoo allows you to do exactly that.
The faithful will recognize it, while those who do not believe will simply think that you are wearing thorns.
Despite the modern times, many who believe are still persecuted, at the workplace and others, and a tattoo like this spreads the word to those in the know that the wearer is someone who believes.
9. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Head
A head tattoo is probably the boldest tattoo that you can get. This is a location selected because the wearer has something to say and they are not afraid who will hear.
With this Crown of Thorns tattoo on the head, the wearer is telling the world that they believe and that they intend to spread the word.
It’s a bold choice and tells you everything that you need to know about the wearer.
10. Traditional Crown of Thorns Tattoo
This traditional Crown of Thorns tattoo is a lovely piece of body art that looks like it came straight out of an old church.
The detail, style, and symbolism are quite striking, and then you factor in the color and the entire piece is nothing short of stunning.
Someone put a lot of thought into this and no matter what you believe in life, you can’t look at it without thinking ‘wow!’.
11. Tribal Crown of Thorns Tattoo
Tribal style fits with any imagery that you like, but it works especially well with this tattoo.
This Tribal Crown of Thorns tattoo is a minimalist expression that carries a powerful message to others of faith. It’s subtle, but powerful, and a great choice to express yourself with less chances of being judged for it.
12. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Forearm
Here we have an interesting choice that must have quite the story to it.
Instead of Christ, we have a female wearing the Crown of Thorns, perhaps to express the persecution they have received in life and the pain that they bore bravely from it.
Whatever the reasons, this Crown of Thorns tattoo on the forearm is brilliantly and beautifully done.
13. Crown of Thorns Sleeve Tattoo
This Crown of Thorns sleeve tattoo is fantastic! Take a look at the detail and the grim beauty of the scene depicted.
The shading is absolutely exquisite. A sleeve tattoo is a huge commitment but it’s easy to understand why people get them.
This sort of body art on a grand scale like this can be mind-blowing if done right, and this one definitely was!
14. Lion with Crown of Thorns Tattoo
Here we have a lion with a Greek motif and the Crown of Thorns incorporated into the imagery.
Body art is deeply personal and you’ve got a lot of symbols here. A Lion is representative of strength, while the Crown of Thorns represents ultimate suffering.
It’s an interesting configuration and we’d love to know the story behind it.
15. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Ankle
An ankle tattoo is a great choice when you work somewhere conservative or if you simply just feel like adding something beautiful to compliment your ankle.
This Crown of Thorns tattoo on the ankle could be representative of faith or it could simply be indicative of the fierce spirit of the wearer.
Tattoos work together with our personalities and help to express ourselves with more than words – it’s part of the addictive charm of body art.
16. Crown of Thorns Armband Tattoo Design
This Crown of Thorns armband tattoo design definitely looks sharp, if you’ll excuse the pun.
With the crow below, perhaps it symbolizes that Heaven is above all things – who is to say?
Interpretation is an interesting thing and it could simply be two separate tattoos. Whatever the case, they are both well-done and a pleasure to behold.
17. Crown of Thorns and Flowers Tattoo
A Crown of Thorns with flowers often symbolizes the beauty of faith and the trials that go along with it.
This particular Crown of Thorns and Flowers tattoo is a beautiful expression of sentiment and it doesn’t even take up much space.
Even so, the detail is perfect, and someone will be enjoying their design choice for the rest of the life.
18. Cross with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo Design
The crucifixion doesn’t have to be ‘gory’ to get the message across.
In this cross with a Crown of Thorns tattoo design we see the cross itself, the Crown, and the simple draping of modest cloth upon it says all that you need to know.
It’s a clever design choice and the shading and incorporation into the whole piece is brilliantly done.
19. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Shoulder
Here we have another clever choice in this Crown of Thorns on the shoulder tattoo.
Depicted is the famous Crown of Thorns, while a ‘JC’ for Jesus Christ is depicted with an ‘NA’, which we are assuming is the initials of the wearer.
Much like a young couple carves their initials in a tree, this person is expressing their love and adoration. Someone put a lot of thought into this one!
20. Jesus Christ Face with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo
The detail on this Jesus Christ face with a Crown of Thorns tattoo is breathtaking.
You can see color and perfect shading, the hairs are clear, the lips and the hue of the skin, and look at those eyes! Getting a detailed work like this takes time, but a tattoo like this one shows you just how powerful body art can be.
If you can imagine it and you are willing to invest the time, you can truly carry a work of art on the canvas of your skin until the end of time!
21. Crown of Thorns Bracelet Tattoo
This Crown of Thorns bracelet tattoo can have a few meanings. While it might be a profession of faith, you should also consider the location.
Thorns wrapped around the wrist can be a significant statement about the pain the wearer has suffered. This is because the wrist is also associated with death.
Whatever the meaning for the wearer of this body art, it’s beautifully done!
22. Nail Cross with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo
The nails arranged in a cross shape take a familiar symbol and give it a clever twist.
This nail cross with a Crown of Thorns tattoo is well thought out and tastefully done and while you can tell by the redness that it’s new, it’s certainly a beautiful choice that it’s owner will be able to enjoy for the rest of their days.
23. Crown of Thorns Plant Tattoo
This Crown of Thorns plant tattoo adds a touch of color to great effect, giving it the appearance of either being organic or tipped with blood.
What we choose for our tattoos says a lot about our personalities and an artistic choice like this certainly reflects well on the mind that selected it. The color is subtle but it really adds a lot to the whole.
24. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Finger
Finger tattoos are a brave statement that says ‘I don’t follow your rules’, as it shows whatever message they have chosen unapologetically to the world.
One of the coolest things about body art is being able to make a unique statement as quietly or as loud as you like and this Crown of Thorns tattoo on the finger accomplishes that in spades.
25. Crown of Thorns Back Tattoo
What a beautiful piece of symbolism and knotwork! This Crown of Thorns back tattoo is artfully done, with a beautiful symmetry and shading that does just fine without color – sometimes you simply don’t need it!
Something to think on when you are selecting your own design.
26. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on Elbow
This Crown of Thorns with a spiderweb in between it is quite interesting. Perhaps it means that this person has suffered and hung up their crown long enough for spiders to nest there.
It certainly looks fierce, and we love the shading incorporated into this. You can tell when a tattoo took awhile to ink and you can also tell when it’s worth it!
27. Wooden Cross with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo
This wooden cross with a Crown of Thorns tattoo is another example of a tasteful crucifixion. It gets the point across without the need to shock, as this is imagery that is known well across the world.
Placed above the heart, it is a clear statement of what the owner believes and the detail on it also reflects their dedication to their message.
28. Realistic Crown of Thorns Tattoo
You have to admire detailed body art and this Realistic Crown of Thorns tattoo is beautifully done. We particularly like the sunburst around the crucifixion scene.
It’s quite powerful, while above the face of Christ reflects the suffering that led to the glory. All in all, it’s a stunning religious piece that someone put a lot of work and love into.
29. Crown of Thorns Neck Tattoo
A tattoo on the neck is the mark of a rebellious soul who does what they will without apology.
In this Crown of Thorns neck tattoo, we see a well-wrought Crown of Thorns with an eye in the center, perhaps to say that ‘Heaven is watching!’. It’s a powerful piece and a bold choice.
30. Skull with a Crown of Thorns Tattoo
This is another stunning bit of art! Here we see a woman with face-paint upon her, as if to go to war, and above a skull with a Crown of Thorns.
The details on everything are great. The face is almost photorealistic, the skull is suitably grim – there’s definitely a lot going on here and this is sure to draw a lot of speculation and conversation.
31. Post Malone Crown of Thorns Tattoo
This Post Malone Crown of Thorns tattoo is a little hard to see in the pic, but if you look closely, you’ll see that crown on the forehead.
Facial tattoos are not for the faint of heart, but they are quite the powerful statement for those who dare to wear them. This Crown of Thorns is certainly no exception!
32. Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the Ring Finger
What better statement of faith than to be wed to it? This Crown of Thorns Tattoo on the ring finger is a very clear statement, yet takes up only the tiniest amount of space.
It just goes to show that when it comes to symbolism, a small rock thrown from the top of the mountain can create a mighty rockslide!
History of the Crown of Thorns
The crown of thorns comes from the New Testament of the Christian bible, making it an especially important symbol to Christians.
It is associated with the Passion of Christ, which includes events within the final period of Jesus’ life, including his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
Jesus claimed to be the son of God and the King of the Jews, a statement that had been labeled as blasphemous and led to his conviction.
Prior to his crucifixion, the Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on his head. In mockery, the soldiers bowed before him, saying “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Though the Romans saw the crown as something to be ridiculed, both his followers and Christians today see it as a symbol of sacrifice, the forgiveness of sins, and the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Meanings of the Crown of Thorns Tattoo
Crown of thorns tattoos are generally best suited for Christians wanting to express their religious devotion. However, thorns are also sometimes viewed as a symbol of suffering by non-Christians as well.
Tattoos are personal and the crown of thorns may have many associations depending on the intent of the owner of the tattoo, but oftentimes are representative of one or more of a few major themes.
The most common of these symbols include sacrifice, repentance and forgiveness for one’s sins, the promise of everlasting life, and suffering.
Because Jesus wore a crown of thorns on his head during the crucifixion, it is associated with sacrifice. According to Christian tradition, Jesus gave his life willingly.
This sacrifice was required of him by God to repair the relationship between humankind and God. Reparation of this relationship granted humanity the ability to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
This ultimate sacrifice was made out of love, thus the selflessness of the act of sacrifice may be symbolized through a crown of thorns tattoo.
Individuals who deeply value selfless acts may find this tattoo design fitting.
Repentance for Sins
While Jesus’ sacrifice provided humankind with the opportunity to be absolved of their sins, salvation was not possible until these sins were forgiven.
Though the crown of thorns tattoo is not directly associated with sins and repentance, it is sometimes seen as a symbol of human suffering, and the human condition.
Christians believe that human beings are inherently sinful. Though living sin-free is not possible, by repenting for one’s sins, one may be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus is believed to have died on the cross for man’s sins, thus the crown of thorns may symbolize the desire to avoid sin, as well as to repent for one’s sins.
Following the crucifixion, the body of Christ was placed in a tomb for burial. On the third day after his death, he was resurrected by God and ascended to Heaven.
This resurrection represented the salvation of humankind.
By repairing humanity’s relationship with God and restoring the Kingdom of God, human beings were forgiven for their sins and granted access to eternal life.
A crown of thorns tattoo may therefore symbolize the Christian belief in Heaven and an afterlife.
The promise of salvation after this life is integral to Christian identity. For non-Christians, a tattoo symbolizing salvation may represent the promise of rebirth.
In addition to being mocked for wearing a crown of thorns, Jesus is often depicted with blood running down the sides of his face.
Not only was the crown intended to mock Jesus’ title of King of the Jews, but it was also intended to inflict pain where the thorns dug into the scalp.
Though dark, suffering is an integral and unavoidable part of life. Those wishing to express this element of the human condition may opt for this tattoo.
Crown of Thorns Designs
There are no limits on the design options for a crown of thorns tattoo – you are only constrained by your imagination!
Whether you want something traditional or plan to put your own spin on the design, these four popular crown of thorns tattoo designs can help get your creative juices flowing.
Band of thorns
This popular style consists of a band, or ring of thorns traditionally placed around the bicep, forearm, or wrist.
This design can be quite minimalist and is perfect for those who prefer tattoos without any color.
It is also an excellent design to represent the Christian faith, without being as showy as a crucifix.
Cross and a crown of thorns
To represent the crucifixion more holistically, one of the more popular designs is composed of both a cross and a crown of thorns.
The crown may hang off the top of the cross, or be wrapped around the intersection of the two beams of the cross.
This tattoo design looks great almost anywhere on the body, making it a great option for those who have limited placement choices available to them.
Jesus and a crown of thorns
Those wishing to represent their devotion to Christianity may wish to get a tattoo of Jesus Christ with the crown of thorns upon his head.
Some choose to make the face of Jesus the focus. A good tattoo artist can capture the sorrow in his eyes and add details of blood drawn by the crown.
Alternatively, an image of Jesus on the cross, with the crown of thorns upon his head, is another popular option.
Sacred heart and thorns
For something a little more modern and understated, a crown of thorns around the Sacred Heart is a great design choice for this type of tattoo.
In Christianity, the Sacred Heart is representative of Christ’s love for humankind. Adding the crown to the heart emphasizes how Christ’s love translated into sacrifice.
This design looks best with color, making it a fantastic choice for those who aren’t a fan of plain black tattoos.
The Bottom Line
Whether you consider yourself a devout Christian or simply looking for a tattoo with a powerful meaning, the crown of thorns tattoo is an incredibly meaningful option, symbolizing selfless love through sacrifice, the forgiveness of sins, and the chance at everlasting life.
What does the Crown of Thorns represent?
The Crown of Thorns was originally placed on the head of Christ as a form of mockery and has come to represent the suffering associated with the crucifixion.
This is an old symbol, however, and some people choose it for their body art simply to represent trials, tribulations, and their own suffering.
It doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not with a symbol this old – it’s all about context.
So, whatever you place with it and where you decide to put it are going to ultimately determine its meaning.