A vibrant and many-layered flower of many hues, the dahlia has been popular in flower arrangements and imagery for centuries. If you’re looking for an elegant, intricate tattoo full of meaning, this flower could be the perfect choice.
The Dahlia features a beautiful many-layered flower that varies from the size of one’s hand, a bloom the size of a human being. As a tattoo it can be depicted in a number of vibrant colors, with a rich history and symbolism to match.
This article looks at the history of the dahlia as both a bloom and a tattoo, and the potential meanings and symbolism behind them.
What is the History of Dahlia Tattoos?
The Dahlia is a flower with a long history. The use of it in imagery has been found in the Victorian Era as part of the language of flowers.
The earliest recorded use of it, however, is actually in Central America, where the flower grows native. Civilizations as early as the Aztecs prized the Dahlia for its beauty.
Aztecs were recorded to use Dahlia imagery in religious ceremonies, and the flower itself in everything from decorations to a food source.
When the first Dahlia tattoo was used is unclear, but it is a well-known and longstanding favorite among lovers of floral tattoos, much like flowers such as lilies and roses.
History of the Dahlia Flower:
The flower was originally discovered in Central America, described by the Spanish in their conquest and colonization of the continent. The first records are from around 1525, and were the only officially recorded descriptions of this flower until around 1787.
In 1787, French explorers were said to have discovered the brightly colored plant and its uses as a dye.
In 1789, Spanish florists in the Royal Gardens of Madrid brought over specimens to cultivate, marking their successful transfer to Europe, where they became popular.
The name of the flower is accredited to Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist around the same time, who may have had a hand in transporting the flowers over to Spain.
In the Victorian Era, these flowers were used to symbolize personal thoughts and feelings on several levels.
Today, the flower is the national flower of Mexico, and a popular bloom in tattoo imagery.
What Do Dahlia Symbolize?
The Dahlia is thought to represent an internal strength of spirit or character – or strength in adversity.
They may also symbolize individuality, as no two Dahlia flowers are the same.
Dahlias are also considered symbols of change, either impending or desired.
Victorian Era flower language also used Dahlias to symbolize grace and dignity, particularly in troubled times.
In some cases, it is also reputed to represent a deep, long-lasting commitment to a person or ideal.
Other cultural meanings over the years have included:
– Unity and Diversity
Meanings Behind Different Color Dahlias:
- Red: Represents power and strength
- Pink: Grace and Kindness
- White: Purity and New Beginnings – Also Determination and Focus
- Black: Sorrow, Loss or Sadness – It may also be a warning or reminder of betrayal.
- Blue: Positive Changes, New Beginnings and a Fresh Start
What Do Dahlia Tattoos Mean?
Dahlia tattoos are listed as the birth flowers of August and November, depending on culture, and a tattoo may be a simple representation of a birthday or significant event in either of these months.
Dahlia tattoos in general are thought to represent a strength of character, or a desire to be a force for change in the world.
A Black Dahlia Tattoo – which is usually a deep burgundy in color – may serve as a memorial of loss, or a reminder of some sort of trauma the person is trying to or has overcome.
The vibrant hues of most dahlia tattoos most often symbolize a sense of individuality, adventure and spiritual strength.
Blue Dahlias are commonly a symbol of a new beginning the person wishes to celebrate.
Red or multi-hued dahlias are common, and often represent courage and inner strength.
Done in vibrant hues, they may symbolize a person who represents these characteristics, but they are also often worn as a reminder of a person’s own inner strength. This quality makes them a popular choice for those who are struggling with personal challenges.
Where Do Dahlia Tattoos Usually Go?
The Dahlia is a highly diverse flower in appearance, and its placement as a tattoo is almost as diverse.
One of the most common placement choices is the upper arm and shoulder. Large blooms can cover the entire shoulder and arm, like a sleeve.
Multiple blooms can also be done in a sleeve-like style, with a dynamic range of colors contrasting with each other.
Miniature or medium-sized blooms can be found placed on the forearms, either by themselves or as part of more extensive imagery.
Another popular choice is the back of the neck and shoulders. These are often large, vibrant, single blooms.
Most Dahlia tattoos are placed on the upper body.
Though these are the most common locations, dahlia tattoos have sometimes also been placed on thighs, calves or the ribcage.
Style and Characteristics of Dahlia Tattoos:
– Dahlia tattoos are often done in a realistic or illustrated design, to display the intricate layering of the flower petals.
– They are also most often depicted as flowers in full bloom.
– In terms of color, Dahlia tattoos are most often done in one of two ways:
- Vibrant jewel tones, warm colors or very deep purples .
- Black and white sketch-style, with intricate petal designs
– Stylistically dahlias lend themselves to other artistic styles, such as impressionist or abstract. They are sometimes done in a mandala-like style.
– It’s not uncommon for these blooms to be arranged in tattoos with other flowers, or with geometric designs that highlight the unique formations of the flower.
Whatever style you prefer, the Dahlia is a vibrant symbol of aspects of a person’s inner landscape and character. If you’re looking for a way to represent your inner values and attributes on your skin, the Dahlia is a wonderful and stunning choice.