Japanese Samurai Portrait Tattoos: An Artistic Statement

Japanese Samurai Portrait Tattoos: An Artistic Statement

Some people who have always wanted a tattoo, just like the look of it. They like the fact it makes them look different from the average person walking around. It may not mean much to them, as getting a tattoo to them, may be purely for aesthetic reasons. For some people, however, tattoos are a thing of art. Body art has exploded among the Millennial generation. Many more people are now getting unique tattoos that have a personal meaning to them. There are some places around the world that have inspired tattoo artists and enthusiasts alike. One of the best tattoo styles to take inspiration from, are those that have inking, in their culture. The Japanese samurais of past centuries tattooed themselves for many reasons. Those reasons have drifted down into the present day, and many people align themselves with them.

Image by – Utagawa Yoshiiku

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Samurai swordsman used tattoos as a means of declaring allegiance to their feudal masters. Their masters paid them a wage, gave them a room to stay in, and after long years of service, gave them land and property. The relationship between soldier and commander was much closer than other cultures of the same time period. Respect, honor, and loyalty were the key aspects of a samurai’s life. However, the tattoos they gave each other, weren’t lines or shapes, but rather, portraits of scenes and important figures in their lifestyle. Honorable samurais who died in battle, masters who were kind to their subjects, and maidens who blessed them before battle, were the most popular styles of the day.

Photo source – Felix_Broennimann

When bringing it to life

Japanese portrait art’s main colors are green, red, black and blue. You can bring your own inks to the tattoo artist you’ve chosen, so you can get the most authentic look possible. The best tattoo inks are hard to come by, so choosing the highest quality kinds will take a little research. Safe tattoo ink must also be FDA approved for safety and be low in toxicity. The best ingredient will either be arsenic or lead, but they should feature in the ink, in moderate quantities. The brighter, the better, because as the body art ages, the sun will gradually fade the ink away; therefore get it as bright as you can so it lasts a long time.

The style

Whichever style you’re looking for, the Japanese portrait art tattoo culture is not for the faint hearted. The portrait tattoos are artistic endeavors, and they require a lengthy process to be completed. The design must be exquisite, but also practical. This won’t be just any body art you’re getting, the Japanese take their tattoo history very seriously. Out of respect, you should carefully plan the type of style you’re going to have. Study various periods of the culture, such as the Feudal Edo Period. Portraits always have a figure in the frame, so you must choose an entity or a person that once lived as the main character of your tattoo. They can be aggressive, loving, powerful, wealthy or giving a symbolic gesture.

A portrait will most likely go on your back, legs or ribs, because this kind of art style, needs more room than just symbols and decal-like designs. It carries with it, a long and powerful history, so it’s wise to learn up on this style before you delve into it. The portrait you choose should have some personal meaning to you, so it’s a symbolic gesture as well as a personal statement.

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