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Tattoo designs - B >> Bears and Bulls

Bear & Bull Tattoo Meanings - The bull and the bear, two of the most powerful animal symbols we have, are used to describe trends in the stock market. The market is 'bullish' when prices of equities charge upward over an extended period of time - and 'bear-ish' when prices are in continual decline. Short-lived upward or downward swings are referred to as 'corrections' in the market. The duration of the trend is key.

Over time, individuals who make their livelihood in the stock or financial markets have often been described by their colleagues and peers, as "bulls", or "bears", or "bullish" or "bearish", generally descriptions used to describe someone as a market optimist or a market pessimist.

Bear and Bull outside Frankfurt Stock ExchangeBull outside New York Stock Exchange

There is no precise measuring rod to define a bear market, but it is generally accepted that a decline of 20% or more in stock prices in the overall market for a two-month period indicates a bear market. The hyper-alert investor who predicts a continuing decline in market values and then 'sells short', only to find the trend reverse itself, is said to have fallen into the 'bear trap'. He is forced to buy back quickly at the higher price in order to avoid further losses. Typical features of a bear market are high unemployment and a severe lack of confidence on the part of investors, leading, in the worst case scenarios, to a 'recession', or is an absolute worst case scenario, a 'depression'.

Likewise, 'bull' suggests an upward swing that gains roughly 20% over a period of months, sometimes years. The longest bull market in financial history started in the early 1990s. In the latter half of the decade record gains were made until they peaked in 2000.

'Bull' and 'bear' - how did they become associated with the stock market and Wall Street?

Bear and bull images

Sports that involve 'animal baiting' have shown the bull and the bear to display opposite behaviors. The bull charges readily, lifting its horns upwards upon impact, while the bear is cautious, often balking. The English, however, have some more folksy explanations - in 1709, a nobleman bought a bear without first examining the goods, and the deal went south. 'Selling a bear' came to mean negotiating a price for something that doesn't exist. In the same era, a popular comic play contained the line, "Instead of changing honest staple for Gold or Silver, you deal in Bulls and Bears." Yet another historical reference comes from the practice of selling bear skins before the bear was actually caught.

The wisest investor of all remembers that the bull and the bear aren't the only animals loose on Wall Street - the most notorious of all is the 'pig'. Millions of them have been sent to the slaughtering house in the latter half of 2008. As the saying goes, "Bulls make money, and bears make money, but pigs get slaughtered." Many people who have lost money in the financial markets, whether it was a bull market or a bear market, will certainly identify with the feeling of having been mauled by a large, powerful animal - and either bitten or gored!

As a tattoo design, the depiction of a bear and a bull together symbolizes an individual who makes their living by taking calculated risks and relying on their knowledge, cunning and guile to outsmart and outwit their competition, namely their fellow investors. It is no accident that the trading floor of many stock or commodity exchanges is known as "the pit", where bears and bulls do battle in not so mock combat for profits and losses. Winners and losers are counted by the amount of money they have in their pockets at the end of the day.

Bears and Bulls Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!Designs of Bulls paired with Bears have been featured on expensive cuff-links, buttons for jackets, silk ties, suspenders, or "braces" as an the English Gentleman prefers to call them, and in innumerable books-ends, boardroom table sculptures, and sculptures on Wall Street. And of course, the editorial cartoon has been a natural home for the bull and bear for over a century! But for the young, hip trader, surfing the tsunami waves of the world's financial markets, a tattoo of the bull and the bear locked in mortal combat is the ultimate symbol of cool. Money? That's just the way they keep score!

Get inspired by some really amazing images and photos in our Bears and Bulls Inspiration Gallery

See also: Bull Tattoos, Bear Tattoos, Animal Tattoos Index

Tattoo designs - B >> Bears and Bulls

Tattoo Symbol Index - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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