Yin Yang Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Yin Yang Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Yin Yang is a very recognizable symbol all over the world. It can be seen on clothing, jewelry and even tattoos. It means that opposites can be complementary and even dependent on each other.

When it comes to tattoos not only are many of them chosen for aesthetic reasons but there is normally a deeper meaning behind a lot of people’s tattoos. Choosing to permanently mark something on your body can be a big deal for some people and so they want it to hold personal significance or represent something important to them.

Common themes are animals, flowers and Chinese symbols (in the Western world) but one symbol that seems to have transcended this East-West divide is the Yin Yang symbol. This symbol can be seen in just about any part of society on items of clothing, posters and even tattooed on people’s skin.

Well, what is the Yin Yang symbol? What does it mean? And what is the history behind it? To find out more about Yin Yang tattoos keep reading!


What is the History of Yin Yang Tattoos?

The Yin Yang symbol itself far predates modern tattooing history and actually dates back as far as the third century BC and comes from the Ancient Chinese philosophy known as Taoism. It is also commonly referred to as the “taijitu” symbol.

The symbol does not hold any particular place in traditional tattooing, nor is it a part of a popular trend in the world of tattooing. However, for some who felt particularly drawn to this symbol and the meaning behind it the fact that it is still fairly uncommon, but still universally recognized, can be a big plus.

The Yin Yang symbol forms a very important part of the Taoism philosophy which concerns everything in the universe and how it is also connected, even that which seems to be diametrically opposed. 


What Do Yin Yang Tattoos Symbolize?

Although the symbol is very striking, given the contrast of the white against the black not only in the larger portions of the symbol but also the smaller dots within those sections, its meaning may not be immediately obvious. Many people simply interpret the symbol as a pretty image to enjoy.

However, there is a very deep meaning behind the juxtaposition of the light and the dark in the symbol.

They symbolize that duality forms one whole – that two opposites come together to create one large whole, despite their opposition to each other. 

It symbolizes that things that seem to contrast each other are necessary to the other and that everything needs its counterpart. For example, in order for there to be light you need the dark, good needs the bad, old needs the young etc. Of course, these are but a few examples and you can add your own meanings to the symbol as you wish.

However, it should be noted that neither the light nor the dark is greater than the other. They are equal and both necessary.


What Do Yin Yang Tattoos Mean?

When it comes to the meaning behind this type of tattoo there can be a wide number of different meanings as the two opposites can come to mean anything personal to the bearer of the tattoo. 

One meaning behind the tattoo can be a representation of love. For example, some couples choose to get one half of the symbol each so that when they are together their combined tattoos form a whole. This works especially well when the tattoo is placed on the wrist.

If you are missing balance in your life then a Yin Yang tattoo is a great way to remind yourself that you need to work hard but also play hard (or rest….) You cannot have one without the other and you need to find a way to have a balance between everything in your life. This can apply to a multitude of different aspects of your life.


If you have a job that involves the life cycle, either working with animals or people, then this can be another meaning behind the tattoo. It is a reminder that there cannot be new life without the loss of another.

Another meaning behind this tattoo is a general sense of calmness, order and harmony within the universe. If you find that you are easily overwhelmed this tattoo can be a great way to remind yourself that there may be something greater than you and that everything works as it does for a reason.


Where Do Yin Yang Tattoos Usually Go?

One of the most overwhelmingly popular places for a Yin yang tattoo is the forearm. This very prominent place is not actually the most obvious placement for such as round tattoo as it does not follow the lines of your arm and would appear to be better suited to rounded areas such as your chest or shoulder.

However, the importance behind the tattoo means that people need a daily reminder of the meaning behind the tattoo and by choosing to place it on your forearm you can easily glance at the tattoo and remind yourself of the reason why this tattoo was the perfect choice for you.


Characteristics and Styles of Yin Yang Tattoos

Obviously, the traditional style of this tattoo is black and white, with the two contrasting each other well, making this a very bold tattoo. However, if you are choosing to get this as a couple’s tattoo then you could consider adding each other’s favorite color into the symbol as an extra reminder of the special meaning behind it. 

You can also add any extra details into the two halves of the symbol that have a special meaning to you. For example, a sun and a moon, the sea and the sky or even a delicate pattern to add a little bit of femininity to the tattoo. 

Using koi fish is another fantastic way to make this tattoo unique and they work incredibly well with both the culture associated with this symbol and the shape.

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