God's favorite flower the lotus has earned such a reputation by appearing front and centre in religious myths around the world. Considered to be perfection in form, the lotus has been associated with many creation myths. With its radiating petals, the lotus connotes the "divine vulva" that gave birth to the gods and goddesses of ancient religions. These deities are often depicted in the company of this pristine flower. It became a sacred symbol for all that is beautiful on earth, and a reflection of divinity, purity and eternity.
As popular as the rose is in the West, so is the lotus in the East. Of all the tattoo flower motifs in the world, the lotus and the rose are the two most powerful. It is not surprising then, that both the lotus and rose are two of the world's most popular tattoo designs.
In India, the "thousand-petaled lotus" (padma) was visualized as the mouth or doorway of the universe, so it's not surprising that it was thought of as the idealized vulva through which all life was delivered. And no surprise that all the primary deities in the Hindu pantheon are depicted with the lotus. Some sit at its centre, some stand or recline, and they're usually shown holding another lotus. Lord Vishnu, one of the three gods of the Hindu triad (trimurti), is described as having the lotus springing from his navel, from which Brahma was born. Lord Krishna was called the "lotus-eyed one", a reference to his divine beauty.
The perfection of the lotus bloom has inspired humans to the highest aspirations. Seeing the lotus blossom "floating" on the water, its petals opening to the sun - this has long been the perfect analogy of the human soul opening to the light of the divine. That is springs from the mud seems like a miracle, all the more so because its petals appear free of any dirt or slime.
The Lotus (and water lilies) are often depicted in traditional Japanese woodblock prints, a motif that has heavily influenced traditional Japanese tattoo artists.
Some art historians theorize that every decorative device - from Persian rug designs to Islamic architecture - can be traced to the lotus, more particularly the lily of the Nile. With its associations of regeneration and immortality, combined with the design's mobility as a carpet motif, the lotus impressed itself upon every country in the Orient.
Below you will find a gallery of inspirational images that will help you in your quest of creating the perfect Lotus tattoo.
Do you need inspirational images for flowers other than the Lotus? Check out the flower inspirational gallery.