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There's more to Chinese tattoos than just the symbol tattoos, although tattoos have quite a negative connotation in traditional Chinese culture.
Despite the negative connotation of the Chinese tattoo, there has always been tattooing in China.
Even in modern China today, tattoos are considered to be connected with the underworld and triads somehow, although this attitude is slowly changing. The Chinese tattoo doesn't have a very interesting history, but there are several ethnic minorities in China who do have a strong tattoo tradition. The woman of the Drung tribe used to tattoo their faces when they reached the age of 12, as a symbol of maturity.
About 3 centuries ago, the women of the Drung tribe were often attacked by other ethnic groups and to avoid being raped, they used tattoos to make themselves less attractive.
Of course, modern tattoo equipment was not available 300 years ago, thorns were used to puncture the skin and charcoal was used instead of tattoo ink. When girls reached the age of 12, they receive their first tattoos on the neck, face and throat. As opposed to Western beliefs, the dragon in Chinese culture is a benevolent creature that wards of evil spirits. In Chinese culture there is the belief that wearing the image of a dragon on you is considered very unlucky.

Sometimes you see a person with a tattoo of a dragon combined with the Chinese dragon character.
The phoenix (aka firebird) is a Chinese mythological creature (it also exists in Greek mythology). A phoenix tattoo combined with a dragon symbolizes the union between husband and wife (yin and yang).
Yin Yang tattoo art is popular in the West and again it's easy to see why: the symbol is simple yet dramatic and can easily be combined or incorporated in other tattoo designs.
Many people are interested in Eastern spirituality nowadays and the yin yang is a meaningful symbol of balance and harmony.
This site requires JavaScript to function properly.Please enable JavaScript in your web browser. Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! Despite the dubious attitudes towards tattooing, there is some evidence that tattooing and other body art are making inroads among Chinese youth today. The tattoos were done between the eyebrows and around the mouth, resembling a butterfly or diamond design. Children as young as 5 were tattooed, and then again at the age of 14, as a symbol of maturity.

Tattoos play an important role in the Li women's life and their tattoo tradition can be traced back to 3000 years ago. In Chinese culture the phoenix is known as Fenghuang and was used to represent the empress.
This is symbolized by the black dot in the white part and the white dot in the black part of the Taijitu. The yin yang symbol can be rendered in almost any size – a small yin yang tattoo the size of a quarter or even smaller is very tasteful, while still making a strong statement. Japanese and Chinese dragons are benevolent creatures, while Western dragons are usually evil. The most popular dragon tattoo designs are Chinese dragon tattoos and tribal dragon tattoos (Angelina Jolie has got a small dragon tattoo).

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