Domino tattoo meaning and symbolism

The meaning of a tattoo is often intertwined with the story behind the life of its owner. The reason why it was placed on the skin in the first place is usually one that we can guess about, but sometimes it can be difficult to know for sure. This article will hopefully help paint a clearer picture of domino tattoos and their symbolism.

black and white Domino tattoos
black and white Domino tattoos @the.eviest

Typical symbols in the domino tattoos are these patterns, which are arranged in a very specific way to make up the traditional domino tile. Even if some people go for more elaborate designs with flowers, glasses, dice, sixes, sevens and stars (this is the game after all), the most common design still remains these dots.

These tattoos are often in black ink but can be done in any color combination that pleases you. Black is not mandatory though, as some people like to go for gray or brown tones instead.

Mexican culture and domino tattoos

The game of dominoes is deeply ingrained in the Mexican culture as a tool for intellectual stimulation and as an escape from daily life. It is often played by friends or family gathered for a game of cards or a night of drinking.

Mexico has been home to possibly one of the world’s oldest games – dominoes – since at least 500 BC, making it one of the most enduringly traditional games in existence today. Just as Mexico has produced many great things, it also gifted the world with one of its most popular games. It has consistently remained a part of Mexican culture for almost as long as it’s been around.

The history of dominoes is open to debate; but most agree that there was a game called “mwahka” amongst the Aztecs, Mayan and Olmec Indians. This earlier game predates any other domino-type game played today. When the Spanish conquered ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations in 1502, they brought their own playing pieces with them which over time became more popular than the existing game, eventually replacing what is commonly referred to now as “Double-six” dominoes.

domino on red circle tattoo
domino on red circle tattoo @shmadytats

But, what sparked this tattoo trend ?

The inspiration behind these tattoos came from the game of dominoes that was played by the prisoners in Mexican jails during the late 19th century. They would use small tiles to mark how many days they had been in prison. Over time this concept evolved into a sign of protection for the inmates and a symbol of strength and solidarity against the jail system.

These tattoos were especially popular in Mexico’s most dangerous prisons such as Lecumberri, although they gradually became more acceptable among the general population. Many prisoners would get these tattoos done by the only person who was allowed to come in contact with prisoners, the prison barber.

It didn’t take long for people to realize that these tattoos were extremely popular among certain social groups so they began selling them in markets and fairs all around Mexico City. During the 1940’s these tattoos became even more common than before due to their association with Mexican wrestlers and boxers.

The first domino tattoos were made with black ink and had a very specific design, but as time passed people began to personalize them more and make them unique.

minimalist domino tattoo arm

Domino tattoos that are common on the arms, hands and feet of many Mexicans are meant to ward off the “mala suerte” (bad luck) brought by the Devil through any type of communication.

In the Mexican culture, the domino tattoo has a very specific meaning. It means that someone is part of a gang and has been in jail at some point during his or her life.It usually means the person wearing it has committed an illegal act, ranging from shoplifting to violent crimes like murder or manslaughter.

It can also symbolize that person being a heroin addict but this is rarely done as it would be too obvious that they have taken drugs at some point.

This is one of the main reasons why domino tattoos are now frowned upon in Mexico as they are only associated with crime.

The symbolism behind the domino tattoos might not be obvious to everyone but it is something that is very well known in Mexican society.

Tattoos are an individual expression of personality. They are something to aspire for long-term as they help maintain a connection between people who otherwise may not be interrelated in day-to-day life. ~ Ryan Star Tattoos & Body Piercing

butterfly on dominos arm tattoo
butterfly on dominos arm tattoo @ wambam_tattoo

What does the butterfly on dominos tattoo mean?

For many, it symbolises the butterfly effect . It symbolises how one small change in a person’s life can lead to tremendous implications. For example, the butterfly effect states that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could cause an entirely different hurricane somewhere else on Earth.

This tattoo on your arm means something similar. It signifies everything you do has consequences and will have an outcome somewhere in this world. The tattoo also represents how your whole life has been run off what came before it and what might come after it.

The dominos are metaphorical of time – it will just go around, starting from birth and going to death, experiencing each moment all over again as it passes by in this cyclical pattern. This is what the butterfly tattoo on your arm means.

This is a very deep tattoo indeed and it can be taken in many ways. This is a very powerful tattoo that also symbolizes how one small change can lead to a big difference.

realistic domino tattoo
realistic domino tattoo @chris.hds

Domino tattoos nowadays

People still get these tattoos but now mainly for fashion reasons rather than anything else. Over time they have lost their negative association and can now simply symbolize someone’s support for their favorite team, singer or soccer player.

The tattoos are usually made using small tiles rather than actual dominoes. These tiles are painted with personal designs so that each person ends up getting a unique tattoo.

Many women choose to get domino tattoos on their wrists or ankles, but this is not a restriction since they can be done anywhere else too. More often than not they are made after someone has gotten married. This is said to tie the knot, but sometimes people even get them before their wedding day.

In the past they were used as a sign of mourning for someone’s deceased daughter or sister. These tattoos were usually made using black ink and not just a simple pattern like today. Nowadays they are usually made in homage to someone rather than as a sign of mourning.

domino arm tattoo
domino arm tattoo @jk.tats

Fun fact : More than 30 percent of american adults have at least one tattoo, and it’s no wonder why: a new study found that tattoos can have positive health benefits!