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Things to Know about Chinese Lettering Tattoos

Things to Know about Chinese Lettering Tattoos

Enigmatic, intriguing and visually appealing in its nature, the Chinese art of tattooing is highly appreciated by the Western world, where it enjoys great popularity and exposure. A particular interest can be observed towards Chinese tattoo lettering, commonly used to achieve the distinctive aura of exoticism and mystery characteristic to Asian culture. It seems that few people can resist Chinese letters when contemplating the idea of getting a tattoo – from famous musicians and movie stars to the person living next door to you, these graphic representations are at the very top of the tattoo option list.

chinese letters and flowers

Chinese tattoo letters encompass a wide range of symbolic meanings, and with so many characters available out there, the task of choosing the ones that are right for you can be daunting. To simplify things, it is best to have the general idea already contoured in your mind before walking into the tattoo salon. Take the time to identify what emotions, thoughts or feelings you want to express by the means of your tattoo and stick with the things you think that define you best.

The two main types of Chinese letters used in tattooing are Hanzi and Kanji. Hanzi denotes all the traditional Chinese characters found in the official written dialect of Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. The dialect contains a staggering number of 47,000 characters, although many of them are not being used today. To have a good level of knowledge of the Hanzi dialect, you need to master at least 4000 Chinese characters.

chinese tattoo letters

Kanji, the other prevalent dialect used in Chinese tattoos, refers to a collection of Chinese characters that have penetrated in the Japanese writing system. Comprising well over 50,000 simplified traditional Chinese characters, Kanji stands out as a good source of symbols used in today’s Chinese tattoos.

To form an idea about the complexity of Chinese letters, note that apart from the huge number of letters, each combination offers a distinctive meaning. To leave no room for error, it is very important to find a good translation source before getting a Chinese lettering tattoo. Without proper knowledge of the dialects used, you may end up with a tattoo that means a completely different thing than intended, and realize it is too late to do anything about it at that point. To avoid this, don’t make that final step of having the tattoo done until you are 100% sure you are getting what you asked for.