The Shēngxiào, or Chinese zodiac as it’s known in English, is an astrological systematic plan of future action that relates each year to an animal and utilizes the animal’s reputed attributes to make predictions about future events and characterize people born during the year. It’s mostly popular in China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Mongolia, hence its English name, but it’s often utilized for tattoo design inspiration all over the world.
2016 marks the year of the Monkey, the ninth animal of the zodiac. The Monkey is known for its curiosity, mischievousness, and clever nature. He’s the Loki of the zodiac world, a playful joker whose intentions are always good yet tend to be misunderstood and hurt the feelings of others.
In addition to each animal sign, each zodiac cycle represents one of the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire or earth. This coming year, the Monkey will be paired with fire, signifying an emphasis on aggression and the need for patience. People born during the year of the Fire Monkey, which was last seen in 1956, are said to be impulsive and reckless while being naturally dominant and gravitating towards leadership roles. These people tend to have large social circles and generally have a flamboyant, albeit charmingly, friendly nature.
Whether you believe in the conclusions made by the zodiac or not, it’s undeniable that some of the imagery used to represent the various animals and signs of the zodiac are great inspirations for tattoo designs. The folklore and mythology surrounding the zodiac is deep and colorful, lending itself to numerous artistic interpretations as seen by the tattoos featured in the gallery below.
The year of the Fire Monkey starts on February 8th and won’t end until January 27th, 2017.
Horse and Monkey
Pig, Horse, Dragon, Bull
Dragon and Rat
Check Out More Great Tattoo Galleries!