Reviewed & updated: January 1, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA
If you are looking to get a tattoo to mirror your philosophy on life and death, this is the article for you. Here are top 10 life and death tattoo ideas for you.
In order to embrace the foundation of existence, people love to get life and death tattoos as a way to experience the fullness of life and expression.
Life and death tattoos show an intuitive ability to accept the cyclical fate that awaits all creatures. There are various life and death tattoo ideas.
Some of the life and death tattoo designs are optical illusion flower life death skull arm tattoos, life death woman angel holding skull half sleeve tattoo, life death ambigram tattoo, skull with flowers life death old school shaded thigh tattoo, graveyard life death half sleeve tattoos, skull with female portrait life death tattoo, hourglass life death tattoo, and skull with female portrait life death tattoo.
What is a death tattoo? Death tattoos mark either the start or end of a life journey. The tattoos are sometimes used as a symbol of the dark side or something that shows love and life beyond death.
There are several symbols for life and death tattoos. Most of them are a skull or skeleton or crossbones. Skull tattoos with living creatures are also popular. There are even symbols like decaying cadavers, grim reaper, and coffins, even tombstones, and graves. Tattoos may only have a text like “death” inscribed and even death inspiring tattoos in different languages are very popular.
Death tattoos are made to show their emotions in an artistic manner. These tattoos describe the cycle of life and death. Death tattoos are made to show the dark side, and even a good side that is life beyond death.
Some of the tattoos are death tattoos, death and time tattoos, skull tattoos, death dagger tattoos, till death tattoos, life after death tattoos, death and life tattoos, death tattoo sleeve, and partner tattoos.
Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival that is celebrated when loved ones pass away and they are able to accept their death without fear or sadness. These tattoos mainly include La Catrina’s image. The tattoo is of a beautiful woman with the makeup of sugar skulls and it represents death. They can also include cheerful, decorated skulls or skeletons on the day of a dead tattoo.
Amongst the different styles, the Ambigram is a prominent design to embody a life and death tattoo. Ambigram tattoo is a style that is created as an optical illusion of words and is written with a stylized script as a ‘tattoo’.
Ambigrams include different ways, like: One way is where it is written as one word which is read as right side up or upside down, termed as rotational. Another way, where two words with opposite meanings, for eg Life and death, is another version of Rotational Ambigram. Adding to another style where it is written in two different languages and that can be read while viewing it rotationally or in the mirror. Another style where one word can be read both from the backward and forwards using the mirror image. Lastly, a highly stylized text tattoo is the Life and Death tattoo, which can be read while depending on the sides the reader is facing.
Grim Reaper Angel Of Death Tattoos
The Grim Reaper tattoos represent death. The Grim Reaper was considered a cultural icon for many centuries. At the top, we see a close-up of the Grim Reaper’s skeleton face and right below it, is a small, full length portrait. The tattoo symbols are a black hooded skeleton and a scythe. The Grim Reaper is also known as the Angel of Death. The Angel of death symbolizes fear and is responsible to fetch the soul of the dead.
Skull Life Death Tattoos
We have seen that skull tattoos are very popular and used to symbolize a type of life and death.
Here we see a skull tattoo inked across the entire torso-chest, abdomen and stomach. The ink style on this skull tattoo is unique and haunting to look at. We see a broken nose, hollow eyes and an empty mouth with threads wound around it. If you want a bold, large life and death tattoo, you can try this design!
Baba Yaga Tattoo
Baba Yaga is considered the most beloved character in Russian folklore. This supernatural being is an old woman who lives in a forest and symbolizes the crossing from life to death in Slavic lore. In this tattoo, we see Baba Yaga’s house, standing on her chicken legs.
Armor Sleeve Tattoo
Armor tattoo ideas are mostly a spectacular way to present a symbol of strength, courage, and masculinity. This black and white arm tattoo resembles a real armour. The armour has traditional designs and detailed patterns all the way to the knuckles. The armor symbolizes integrity, readiness to stand up for the weak, devotion to ideals, bravery, and honor.
Lady Of Death Tattoo
Here we see a coffin with a woman tattooed on the cover, and a background of the night sky with stars and clouds. In fine black lines and dot work, this tattoo shows the death and rebirth cycle.
This tattoo symbolizes female power, strength, and fighting spirit. She is also sometimes considered as a protective symbol only because of her ability to destroy others who are against her. This tattoo fits well on the leg.
Walter White Breaking Bad Tattoo
Walter White is one of the most liked and one of the most admired characters from the hit series Breaking Bad. The premise propels him to take up dangerous and illegal activities to safeguard his family. And he is not scared to face danger and even death, in the process. Tattoos inspired by fictional characters from pop culture and their fearless qualities are quite common among youngsters today!
This Blacksmith tattoo symbolizes hard work and features a large anvil in the center. The anvil acts as the foundation on which other objects are melted and hammered. The blacksmith appears to be almost engulfed in flames and smoke as he continues to work hard, forging weapons and armour for the military. This colourful Blacksmith tattoo represents the work and contribution of the working class, especially in times of war.
Dead Head Hawkmoth Tattoo
Death head hawkmoth tattoo designs are famous because of their death symbolism. Tattooed on the back of the hand, this deadhead moth tattoo signifies the silence achieved after death, and the moth symbolizes self-acceptance, faith in oneself, and even personal transformation. Some tattoos have a picture of a skull with a moth.
Tree Of Life And Death Tattoo
This tattoo has a tree inked in great detail with a skull merged in the center, all done in black ink. It represents growth, inner strength and beauty. The roots of the tree symbolize birth and their branches mean death. In detailed and intricate designs, this tree shows the full life cycle and how life is created, renewed or disintegrated.
Life and Death Skull Tattoo
This arm sleeve tattoo shows a skull with a hand partially covering the mouth and surrounded by entangled designs. Getting a skull tattoo represents the concepts of life and death. But it does not always help to showcase only negativity, it can be a reminder that death is inevitable and we should live life to the fullest every day.
The desire to get a tattoo will affect your life. You need to think of your tattoo design and placement on the body. You may pick a tattoo that conveys something meaningful to you. So, along with the tattoo layout, the design, concept and colour palette of the tattoo is just as important. Work with a professional to breathe life into your favourite life and death tattoo design. Many a time artists may provide a lot of insight to improve your design which is going to be a part of body permanently.
For more inspiration around perfect life and death tattoo sleeves, you may check:
- Day of the dead tattoo on arm
- Death and life tattoo on ankle
- Life and death ambigram on fingers
- Personalized life and death tattoo on hand
- Life and death tattoo sleeve
- An ambigram for life death tattoo
Tree Of Life Tattoos
feature image from Pinterest
What do life and death tattoo symbols mean?
Life and death tattoo symbols can mean a number of things. They can be used to represent the cycle of life and death, the fragility of life, or the ultimate power of death.
What are some popular life and death tattoo symbols?
Some popular life and death tattoo symbols include skulls, coffins, bones, and crosses.
Are life and death tattoos permanent?
Most life and death tattoos are permanent, but some people opt for temporary versions.
How much do life and death tattoos cost?
The cost of a life and death tattoo depends on the size, complexity, and location of the tattoo. Tattoos can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.