The Chinese dragon tattoo has always been a symbol of power in the East. While Western cultures have often viewed the dragon as something to be feared and hated, the Eastern cultures often have a differing viewpoint. With saliva that was like perfume and a voice like the musical ringing of a copper basin, the Asian dragon was the bearer of profound blessings and was as such heavily identified with by the Chinese. In fact, Chinese people all over the world are affectionately known as "lung de chuan ren", or the "descendants of the dragon". There are several distinct species of Chinese dragons. The Horned Dragon is considered to be the mightiest and here is a representation of the Chinese dragon tattoo. The dragon tattoo is a representation of might, power and divine grace. But, the mystique of the dragon tattoo is not only bound to Chinese tradition. Both Japanese and Chinese lore are filled with stories of creatures, who, through their special quests, at the end of their journeys, were transformed into dragons. In Japan, these were often the stories of Carp who through their perseverance, journeys and struggles, in the end were transformed into dragons. It’s no wonder that the dragon tattoo is such a popular design.
As a tattoo design, the dragon tattoo shows the profound influence that Japanese and Chinese culture has had in Western tattooing for nearly two centuries now. In the Far East, the dragon represents the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water, and the four points of the compass – east, west, north and south. Dragons are simultaneously a symbol of water, earth, fire and air. The dragon is a culturally far-ranging character whose apparent bad temper should be interpreted as simply amoral, neither good nor evil. The forces of nature are not human hearted, representing as they do the cycle of life and death, followed again by birth and renewal. Nature nurtures and nature destroys. So too, does the dragon. As such, dragon tattoos denote special strength and abilities. In fact, both Japanese and Chinese lore are filled with stories of creatures, who, through their special quests or at the end of their journeys, were transformed into dragons. This was considered the highest gift that anyone could receive. The power, magic and intelligence of the dragon. And it is this raw power and strength that is symbolized by the dragon tattoo.