Mirrors are the universal symbol of introspection. They give us the plain, simple truth about ourselves, and that concept of self-reflection is often symbolized via a tattoo.
Mirror tattoos represent someone’s commitment to being reflective of their thoughts and actions, as well as a dedicated sense of self-love. A broken mirror, on the other hand, symbolizes a person’s desire to remember a moment of intense tragedy or sorrow in their lives.
Mirrors have been fascinating humans for thousands of years, so it’s no wonder that we want to put these windows to the soul on our skin to reflect our thoughts and beliefs. The rest of this article will discuss the history, meanings, and designs of mirror tattoos.
What Is the History of Mirror Tattoos?
Both mirrors and tattoos have been around for thousands of years, but it’s only within the last century or so that mirrors have become a popular object for people to tattoo on their skin. Mirrors have always had a significance in human culture representing everything from wisdom to truth.
The simple concept of being able to see yourself creates an impression of duality—that a second person lies within.
As such, many of these tattoos are designed to reflect a moment frozen in time, an essential truth that reflects the person’s beliefs, or an unseen force that creates a threshold between the conscious and the subconscious.
What Do Mirror Tattoos Symbolize?
Mirrors can mean a lot of things to different people and can have both positive and negative connotations. For example, to some, they are seen as a means of self-discovery and empowerment, while to others, they are reflective of lust and vanity. As such, the context of the tattoo significantly informs its meaning.
Without a reflection, it often symbolizes some sort of introspection, indicating that the person has realized truths about themselves.
Mirrors with reflections or text typically represent timelessness, the desire to keep a moment alive and frozen in time for ever.
The face of a loved one may be reflected to represent that they are on the other side looking back on the land of the living. Similarly, text represents that the truths within are part of the person’s internal beliefs and influence how they view life.
Lastly, broken glass often represents a personal tragedy or significant event that has left the person scarred or hurt. Rather than internalizing that pain, the person chooses to create a physical reminder of that hardship to demonstrate their resilience, capacity for change, and to prompt an opportunity to share their life story with others when asked.
What Do Mirror Tattoos Mean?
Mirror tattoos can appear in a variety of forms.
Oftentimes, people with these tattoos are expressing that they put a lot of thought and effort into their appearance. They are full of creativity, thoughtfulness, and self-appreciation.
It also represents how they see themselves—their internal beauty—showing that they are comfortable in their own skin.
Mirrors with an eye looking back through the mirror has a significantly different meaning. It symbolizes that someone is watching over you from the other side, offering protection and guidance. The eye is usually meant to be the eye of God watching over mankind and reflects the spiritual beliefs of the individual.
Often, the wearer is spiritual and meditative, mindful of those around them and desirous to grow closer to God.
Mirrors can also represent thankfulness to another person who has helped guide them through hardships in their life throughout the years.
It indicates that the wearer has learned essential truths about themselves thanks to the inspiration of the person depicted in the tattoo. These people are memorialized in the mirror to represent their elevated status in the wearer’s subconscious.
Sometimes, mirrors are used as a reflection of a dreamscape reality, an impression of what the person seeks to become.
Characteristics and Styles of Mirror Tattoos
Styles can vary significantly, ranging from ornate furniture piece mirrors to a simple handheld mirror with no reflection. Oftentimes, the complexity and size of the tattoo is determined by where on the body it’s being put.
The thigh and back, for example, are good places to put a larger tattoo with significantly more details. Mirrors are usually drawn with ornate details to draw the viewer’s eyes and emphasize the details.
Figures are often drawn with an introspective expression on their face to represent how the wearer is internalizing their feelings or thoughts. Text can be written inside or outside depending on whether the text is supposed to describe the scene portrayed in the mirror or whether the text itself is what wearer is reflecting on.
Ornate details on the mirror itself can add significance to the tattoo as well. An aquatic themed mirror tattoo, for example, may have shells and coral as part of the decoration for the mirror.
A tattoo with leaves on it symbolizes rebirth, change and growth throughout one’s life.
Adding a mirror indicates that the person is going through a time of change in their life that they are accepting gracefully and with great self-reflection.
Where Do Mirror Tattoos Usually Go?
Mirror tattoos are usually reserved for areas of the body with more surface area since the mirror has to be rounded or rectangular to fit properly. As such, you won’t usually find mirror tattoos on the hand, wrist, or ankle. Rather, they work very well on the upper arm, forearm, across the shoulder blades, or on the thigh.
Mirrors are the window to the soul, and a quick glance in the mirror can tell you a lot about yourself. Naturally, mirror tattoos convey similar meaning, with people choosing to wear them to indicate truth about themselves, gratitude towards another person who has contributed to their lives, or as a way of reflecting on a moment in time that is significant to them.
They are a reflection of our nature, and many wearers are proud to display themselves through tattoo art.