Tattoo designs take flight in 2013
# 2. Phoenix Tattoos
The phoenix is another tattoo design that illustrates the enduring popularity of Japanese tattooing traditions. But the phoenix is also a design with a rich mythological history in both Eastern and western cultures. Tales of the phoenix appear in ancient Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Far Eastern mythology. In both Greek and Egyptian tales, the phoenix represented the sun, dying in flames at the end of the day and rising each morning.
According to Chinese mythology, the phoenix is the symbol of grace and virtue and is second only in importance to the Dragon. It represents the union of yin and yang, and was a gentle creature associated with the Empress, who alone could wear its symbol. The feathers of the Chinese phoenix were black, white, red, green and yellow – the five primary colours. In Japan, the phoenix is found carved into sword hilts, and the image of the bird seen as embroidery on kimonos. Along with the sun, the phoenix is one of the emblems of the Japanese Empire. In Japanese tattooing the phoenix is often twinned with the the dragon, symbolizing yin and yang, the harmonious combining of the best of the feminine and masculine virtues.
Duty, goodness, kindness and reliability are some of the lesser known aspects of the phoenix. The flame images represent purification and transformation through fire and adversity.
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