Phoenix Tattoo Design

If there was one majestic bird that captivated thousands of audience members of the Harry Potter books and movies; it was that of Professor Dumbledore's magnificent pet - the Phoenix. This bird, which is represented in many different cultures, can also be found in abundance of the backs of tattoo aficionados. Why on the back, I am not too sure, but it seems like the proper place for such an exuberant, mythical creature!

Phoenix Tattoo DesignPhoenix Tattoo Design

The phoenix of Egyptian mythology speaks of an ancient bird that cry was so soulful and beautiful that it could captivate humans in a purely magical way. The creature is said to have lived in the desert for 500 years before it would consume itself in a blaze of fire. Then, from its own ashes, it would be reborn to live another 500 years! As it flew through the skies above, it could leave a trail of fire, thus alerting all to its presence.

Phoenix Tattoo DesignPhoenix Tattoo Design

The phoenix of Chinese origin was composed much like other Chinese creatures - out of parts of other (more widely known and recognized) animals. It was said to have the head of a pheasant, a comb on top of its head (the red, floppy part of a rooster), the beak of a bird (specifically a swallow), the neck of a tortoise, and flame-like appendages (those appendages were similar to that of a common bird). It was an imaginary animal considered a bird of good luck and longevity. (Really, is there anything Chinese that is not considered THAT?!) The phoenix of China was meant to have several different colors of feathers. They were red, yellow, black, blue, and white. All colors contained the hidden virtues. Red stands for a long life and good luck; yellow is for protection against evil; black is for self-cultivation; blue is for knowledge; white is for peace and purity.

Phoenix Tattoo DesignPhoenix Tattoo Design

Many people tend to do what I feel I have done, as far as the Chinese culture is concerned. Lost in our own mutt-like heritages, we grasp for the beauty and intense values that revolve around both the language and the life that is its ancient culture. In the unending search to belong to something greater (that is, if religion is not much of an option that you are interested in), the Chinese proverbs and drops of wisdom that encompass many of the mythical creatures (phoenix, dragons, etc.) is truly appealing when trying to fill that void. Sorry about that - I seemed to have dropped into an abyss of deep thoughts!

Phoenix Tattoo DesignPhoenix Tattoo Design

For whatever the rhyme or reason that lurks behind this beast, the phoenix has become a symbol that many have decided truly "speaks" for them. The wiles of a tattoo tend to surface, and, lo and behold, a phoenix spreads its painted wings on the backs of others, for all to see. It makes me wonder if all of the virtues that the colors hold to, can somehow seep into me . . . perhaps a new tattoo in my future? Let me consult my fortune cookie.


Article By: Michael Mantis