Tattoo designs can be constructed to symbolize a variety of ideas and concepts. The waterfall tattoo, with its long history of use as a design motif and its multiple possible meanings, is no different. Here we’ll look at the waterfall tattoo and its symbolic significance, as well as some examples of waterfall tattoos on men and women. We’ll conclude by considering where you may want your own waterfalls inked.
The waterfall has been used as a theme for tattoos for ages, but became really popular during the 1980’s when body art began to explode into the mainstream (although the first modern-day wrist tattoo dates back to around 1901). Waterfalls have been used as a design element on traditional American pieces, Celtic tattoos , and new-school tattoos .
Waterfall Tattoo History
The waterfall has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest known artificial waterfalls were created around 2000 BCE by the Ancient Egyptians . Waterfalls have had significance in many cultures throughout history.
The idea of going over waterfalls is symbolic of transition from one stage to the next – be it physical, mental or spiritual – and can signify a rebirth or shedding of false notions.
Waterfalls are often seen as places with religious importance, such as those surrounding Mount Fuji in Japan’s Shinto religion; those at the Godavari River , where pilgrims come to bathe; and the numerous waterfalls in Yosemite National Park , where Native American tribes came to perform rituals.
Waterfall tattoos are popular for many reasons, but the symbolism is undoubtedly an important factor. If you’re considering getting a waterfall tattoo, there are several things to remember when selecting your design and placement.
Waterfall tattoos Symbolism & Meaning
Now that you’ve got some ideas about where certain designs look best and just what types of waterfall tattoos people tend to go for, let’s talk symbolism .
Waterfalls are associated with beauty, life and nature. This is why you’ll find so many of these tattoos in the natural world (on animals, trees , etc.) as it’s symbolic of growth .
A waterfall also represents the passing from one stage of life to another. This is why they’re often seen alongside dragons or other creatures that are representative of this concept.
Waterfalls can also symbolize freedom, as they flow from one place to the next unhindered. I always think about this when I’m standing outside next to a waterfall because it’s such a free feeling. The rushing water makes me feel relieved and relaxed…almost like crying!
In terms of color symbolism,
blue is associated with loyalty ,
green with regeneration
purple with balance .
Therefore, if you’re considering a tattoo that features these colors – but aren’t sure which specific design to go for- keep in mind the symbolism behind each corresponding shade.
The significance of waterfalls will vary based on where you get your tattoo done. This is why it’s so important to talk to your artist about what they believe makes sense given both your location and design.
Waterfall Tattoos: Love & Loss
It’s also important to remember that, like most tattoos, waterfall tattoos are symbols . The meaning you give your tattoo will vary depending on what it means to YOU . These pieces are often associated with spiritual experiences because getting one is supposed to be an uplifting experience. Whether or not you’re going through a difficult time, getting a waterfall tattoo is supposed to symbolically re-energize your spirit.
The most common example of this is with love and loss . If you’ve lost someone close to you , chances are they will be on your mind for the rest of your life. It’s hard not think about those who have passed as they were such an important part of our lives. Tattoos make it possible to keep them “close” in a sense by honoring their memory! In fact, studies have shown that tattoos actually reduce feelings of pain which is why so many people use them as coping mechanisms.
The best waterfall tattoos I’ve come across convey how infinite beauty is – even when we experience darkness or seem to be spiraling out of control. I think this symbolism is particularly important for those who are struggling with depression or another mental illness because it reminds them that things WILL get better.
Where To Put Your Waterfall Tattoo
Finding the right spot on your body for this unique piece can be tricky. The sheer number of options available can make decision-making overwhelming, so knowing what types of designs look best in certain areas will help narrow down your choices. Here are some places that look great with waterfall tattoos:
Outer Forearm – Adding a bit of flair to your standard wrist tattoo, the outer forearm is another popular choice. These tattoos tend to be bold and bright, which makes them an excellent choice for those who want their waterfalls to really stand out.
Wrists – Ranging from small and simple to large and ornate, waterfall tattoos on the wrist can either complement or compete with your other ink. Make sure you’ve got enough room on your wrists before getting this type of tattoo so your design doesn’t run out of room and look cramped.
Waterfall Tattoo Placement On Men vs Women
The most common spots for men’s waterfall tattoos are the upper arm/shoulder area and just below/between shoulder blades (for back pieces). Some places that look cool include half sleeves , as well as full sleeves with flowing water that runs down up to the wrist.
Women tend to like their waterfall tattoos on the back, upper arm, ankle and waist (rib cage). Many women choose side rib cages as a popular spot for these types of tattoos, because they run down towards the hips and look great with summer outfits such as bikinis.
Waterfall Tattoo Designs
Now that you know about some of the symbolic meaning behind waterfalls and where certain designs tend to look best, we’ll examine some specific examples. These options range from ancient symbols to modern artwork: Celtic Waterfalls: One popular choice is a celtic-themed waterfall tattoo . There’s something so classic about this design – imagine an intricate knot work pattern flowing alongside cascading water.
Ancient Japanese Waterfalls: The Japanese culture is filled with symbolism regarding water and life. This design features a traditional Japanese waterfall alongside a dragon – a powerful creature that can transform between different elements- representing the transition from one world to the next.
Flowing Water Tattoo: Another classic, this flowing tattoo looks great because it suggests movement without explicitly saying so. In fact, you might not even realize right away that what you’re looking at is a waterfall as opposed to just some complex pattern . It’s subtlety makes this piece particularly beautiful.
Butterfly + Water Fall Tattoo : Butterflies can symbolize transformation, life and beauty. The colors used in this tattoo are particularly stunning, as is the composition of the piece . It seems to suggest water falling from above which is why I think it’s a lovely option for those who want their waterfall tattoos to be symbolic rather than decorative.
Colorful Waterfall Tattoo : This design has an almost tribal feel because of the way each color section connects so seamlessly with one another. You’ll notice that there are no straight lines here – only curves which are what makes this piece so wonderful!
Small Waterfall Tattoo: Last but not least, we’ve got the small waterfall tattoo . For those who want to keep things small and simple (like me!), consider getting something like this. The size of each droplet is perfect because it implies movement without being overwhelming. I chose a green color scheme because green is associated with nature and growth…which is why shamrocks are green! 😉