Tattoo Designs & Symbols

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Tattoo designs - L >> Leopard

Leopard Tattoos - The leopard 'kanji' and the leopard image are tattoo designs that makes a strong masculine statement, one that symbolizes strength, speed, courage and endurance.

One of the earliest traces (6,000 B.C.) of leopard worship was discovered in southern Turkey, where an ancient shrine portrayed a fertility goddess riding on the back of a leopard. In ancient Tibet, weaponry was designed with leopard spots and represented female wisdom. Legend tells of the Tibetan poet-saint Milarepa changing into the beautiful snow leopard in front of a great cave. In Ancient Rome, the leopard was feared by gladiators and the enemies of Rome, who were thrown into the amphitheatres to do battle with the leopard.

Leopard tattoo designsThe strength and power of the African leopard represents the masculine qualities of the hunter. It also symbolizes social order and stability. Wearing the leopard skin was traditionally reserved for royalty and symbolized power and wealth. In some regions, the leopard was a powerful totem animal, most infamously with a cult that believed that by eating the flesh and blood of their victims they could be transformed into leopards. These 'leopard men' terrorized villages with ritual killings using a metal-pronged weapon that simulated the leopard's slashing, gashing and mauling.

The leopard was first thought to be the offspring of the lion and the panther, and not a separate species. Wherever it has appeared on the earth, its power, strength and grace has been viewed with fear and wonder. From the earliest civilizations, the leopard has appeared in legends and myths as a creature representing either evil or the sacred.

In parts of Africa, the bond between leopard and human was portrayed in secret ceremonies that involved drinking the animal's blood -- after which the animal was released back into the wild. This may still be practiced today. (We'd welcome any first-hand accounts.)

Leopard Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!Today, the leopard remains a prized target for hunters. Its beautiful coat is still in demand for ceremonial robes, fashion coats, fetishes and healing rituals. Powerful, graceful, nocturnal and elusive, the leopard is a master of stealth and survival. The leopard is renowned for its strength and after making a kill, will haul its prey, often weighing as much as itself, high into a tree, where the big cat then lodges its victim in the crook of a branch so that it may feast at its leisure.

Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Leopard Inspiration Gallery

See also: Animal Tattoo Index

Leopard Tattoo design ideas at Tattoo Johnny

Leopards as tattoo designs and symbols

Tattoo designs - L >> Leopards

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