Lion and Lamb tattoos represent a duality between strength and gentleness, and they bear additional significance for Christians who worship Jesus Christ as both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God.
This article will describe the recent popularity, symbolism and meaning, location, and styles of Lion and Lamb tattoo designs.
What is the History of Lion and Lamb Tattoos?
Lion and Lamb tattoos seem to have become more popular in the last few years, perhaps because more and more Christians, who are the likeliest group to want this specific combination of images, are becoming more accepting of and even enthusiastic toward tattoos. This is especially true for tattoos with Christian symbols.
What Do Lion and Lamb Tattoos Symbolize?
Inspiration from the Animal Kingdom
Each animal in the Lion and Lamb tattoo image represents a seemingly opposite end of the spectrum. Lambs are often regarded as symbols of innocence and a sense of purity as white as their adorable wool. Lions, meanwhile, represent raw strength, animalistic power, and kingship.
Someone may choose a Lion tattoo to symbolize one or more of the following:
- Bravery (think of the symbol of House Gryffindor in the Harry Potter series)
- Strength (adult male lions can measure over six feet long and weigh over 400 pounds)
- Nobility (the movie isn’t called The Lion King for no reason!)
A person may want to get a Lamb tattoo to symbolize one or more of the following:
- Innocence (lambs are as cute as any baby animal)
- Meekness (lambs may be seen as relatively quiet and non-rebellious)
- Purity (white-coated lambs may appear shiny)
Apart from these general cultural connotations, each animal also has a significant role in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In the Old Testament book of Hosea, for instance, God is described as roaring with the same power and force as a lion.
In addition, the prophet Daniel was famous for surviving being thrown into a den full of lions by the King of Babylon. While Daniel was spared thanks to God’s intervention, the schemers who had plotted against him were killed almost instantly when the king punished them with the lion’s den.
Lambs are equally important in the Bible. As described in the Old Testament book of Exodus, God ordered a lamb to be sacrificed for Passover every year, and lambs were also offered up for regular sacrifices at the Tabernacle and later the Temple.
Later, in the New Testament, John the Baptist describes Jesus of Nazareth as the “Lamb of God,” connecting Jesus Christ with the Passover sacrifice. Jesus and His apostles later describe Christians themselves as sheep and lambs, such as when Jesus tells Peter to feed His lambs as a leader of the Christian Church. In fact, “pastor” is another word for “shepherd.”
The dual images of the Lion and the Lamb are brought together in the final book of the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ is described as both the Lion from the tribe of Judah and a Lamb looking as if it had been slain. In Jesus, the kingship of the Lion and the innocent sacrifice of the Lamb are brought together.
What Do Lion and Lamb Tattoos Mean?
People may get Lion and Lamb tattoos for a variety of reasons. They may appreciate the duality between strength and innocence, or between masculine energy and peacefulness. They may want to display these two different yet somewhat complementary members of the animal kingdom in an interesting way.
Or they may be a Christian who wishes to reflect faith in Jesus Christ as the slain Lamb who rose up as a Lion. In such cases, the Lion and Lamb tattoo may include an additional detail to reflect the wearer’s Christian faith, such as a cross or even a reference to a Bible verse.
This YouTube Short shows an expressive Lion and Lamb tattoo that, according to the description, celebrates the wearer beating drug addiction.
Where Do Lion and Lamb Tattoos Usually Go?
Because depicting two animals in great detail requires a decent amount of space for any tattoo artist, Lion and Lamb tattoos can be expected to go on a larger body part, such as an arm, shoulder, leg, chest, or back.
If the tattoo is located on an arm, it will typically be on the upper part, such as the bicep area, while a leg tattoo will likely take up an entire thigh or calf. The advantage of a chest or back tattoo for this design is that each of the two animals can be represented in a symmetrical fashion on the two pecs or shoulders of the wearer.
It is rare to see a Lion and Lamb tattoo on a wearer’s face, hand, or feet, which makes sense due to how little real estate each of these areas offer for such a complex design.
Characteristics and Styles of Lion and Lamb Tattoos
Lion and Lamb tattoos are often done in a portrait style in order to depict the full range of impressive details in each animal. It is not unusual to see tattoos where the animals appear to be looking outward or even directly at a viewer.
Tattoo artists may illustrate Lion and Lamb tattoos with vibrant, realistic colors, or they may use brighter, more evocative colors if the wearer desires a more stylistic representation.
Most often, the Lion is situated above the Lamb in a tattoo design, as if the Lion were hovering over the Lamb in a protective manner. The Lamb is often depicted as resting comfortably under the watchful eye of the Lion.
It is less common, but certainly not unheard of, for a Lion and Lamb tattoo to feature a straight-on portrait split down the middle, with each half being represented by one of the animals. For instance, the Lion may represent the left half of the face, while the Lamb represents the right half. In this case, the two halves may be united by sharing a crown atop their heads.
Lion and Lamb tattoos have increased in popularity, perhaps because Christians are generally becoming more pro-tattoo. Some wearers may wish to express power mixed with innocence, while others may desire to represent two aspects of their religious faith. Lion and Lamb tattoos are usually located on any large area of the body and can be done in either a more stylistic or realistic fashion.