Reviewed & updated: December 1, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Are you a tattoo enthusiast looking for some cool tattoo ideas? Here are some traditional Vietnamese tattoo ideas to add to your tattooing experience.
Tattoos are a perfect medium for self-expression, and Vietnamese tattoos have historical significance.
Foreign influence plays an important role in the Vietnamese tattoo ideas that are popular across the world. However, Vietnam’s tattooing history states that earlier tattoos were mostly preferred by the gangsters as they served as symbols of dangerous men with a bad reputation and connections in the criminal underworld.
The tattoo industry is gradually making its place in Vietnam’s major cities. The changing attitudes of the Vietnamese people have led to significant growth of the tattoo industry in the country as young people opt for cool traditional tattoos due to the prevailing popular culture associated with tattoos. Surprisingly, tattoos are considered one of the ancient customs of Vietnam. It was an integral part of the Vietnamese lifestyle and once served as a symbol of patriotism. The Vietnamese people aged between 20 and 30 are ardent lovers of this body art. The Ho Chi Minh city of Hanoi is a popular hub for unique Vietnamese tattoo designs. Minors are not allowed to get inked in Vietnam. However, adults and tourists can find several tattoo parlours in the cities.
Traditional Vietnamese Dragon Tattoo
This is a traditional Vietnamese dragon tattoo on the elbow. The theme of dragons is popular in Vietnamese culture. This particular tattoo looks bold and magnificent because of its unique Vietnamese design and patterns. It appears to be a fierce dragon that is about to exhale fire.
The Vietnamese tattoo design has a symbolic significance. It is interesting that the dragon comes first among the zodiac signs. A dragon is also a representative of prosperity. The S-shaped dragon is symbolic of intelligence and power. The Vietnamese culture and artistic expressions are predominated by the concept of dragons. The dragons are often carved with storms, clouds, and thunders that define nobility.
Vietnamese Girl Tattoo
This is a Vietnamese girl’s tattoo sported on the forearm. The delineation of a Vietnamese girl wearing traditional Vietnamese apparel captures the essence of Vietnamese culture. The typical appearance of the girl represents elegance and the neo-traditional artistic ideas concerning Vietnam.
Vietnamese woman tattoos are popular tattoos among women. The structure is simply inked with the help of black colour, and the design is an excellent example of a fine shading technique. The traditional dress of Vietnam, as used in the tattoo, clearly represents one’s love for the Vietnamese culture and lifestyle.
Vietnamese Snake Tattoo
This is a Vietnamese snake tattoo covering a large portion of the hand and shoulders. The snake tattoo does not appear grotesque. On the contrary, the patterns used in the tattoo are minutely drawn to give it an artistic look. The strokes on the body of the snake are subtle and continue to make the tattoo look dense and dark through overlapping strokes. The hissing posture of the snake easily catches the attention of the beholders.
A snake tattoo holds several meanings and significance. Every culture has its own way of interpreting snakes. You can easily associate venom when you hear about snakes or imagine them. Thus, no wonder many cultures consider it to be a symbolic representation of danger. However, interestingly enough, the Vietnamese consider snakes to be symbolic of good luck. The coiling nature of the snake might symbolise temptation and power. It is one of the traditional Vietnamese tattoos that are symbolic of fertility based on the fact that male snakes have big sex organs.
Traditional Vietnamese Conical Hat
This is a Vietnamese conical hat tattoo on the leg. It is a very simple tattoo that can be subjected to sundry interpretations in Vietnamese society and tradition. This tattoo has been inked with simple strokes and fewer shades. The conical hat is basically made up of a palm leaf and can be worn by people irrespective of age, gender and sex as a part of Vietnamese traditional costume.
The conical hats are mostly made up of bamboo and palm leaves. The concept of this hat originated from the rice-growing history of Vietnam. It is generally used by the farmers while they work in the fields in the heat. The traditional Vietnamese conical hat is an important accessory for the Vietnamese people to wear with their traditional long dress. It is symbolic of productivity and labour. It is also used to honour feminine beauty. There is a legend associated with the Vietnamese conical hat, and it is one of the oldest costumes in the East Asian country.
Tigers, Turtle, And Phoenix Vietnamese Traditional Tattoo
This is a Vietnamese tiger tattoo on the back. Its extensive pattern covers a large portion of the back. Tiger tattoos based on Vietnamese art are one of the popular body inking ideas in Vietnamese tattooing culture. Tiger is considered a magical creature in Vietnamese culture, and ancient tattooing ideas that originated in Vietnam are predominated by the structures of tigers, phoenixes, and turtles as magical creatures.
This is a traditional Vietnamese tattoo that is influenced by Chinese and Japanese art forms. There is a great symbolic significance associated with these creatures. People of Vietnam hold the belief that tattoos of these three creatures are likely to bring them God’s blessings and, thus, prosperity and happiness. The younger generation often opts for Vietnamese tattoos featuring tigers, turtles, and phoenixes to acknowledge their strength and protective power.
Vietnamese Flower Tattoo
This is an exquisite Vietnamese flower tattoo for women. The tattoo on the elbow has been inked using soft and smooth colours attributing to feminine beauty and tenderness. The tattoo design is simple yet soothing to the eyes. The use of light colours and subtle shades make the tattoo appear graceful and appealing. Flowers can be symbolic of innocence or purity and truth.
Flower tattoos with different patterns and signs are quite popular among tattoo lovers. If you are visiting Vietnam, you can get a lotus tattoo inked. The national flower of Vietnam, lotus is a preferred tattoo idea of travellers. Flower tattoos, specifically of lotus, are quite popular in Vietnamese culture. Tattoo artists can apply sundry styles, patterns, and designs to the lotus flower tattoo structure.
Vietnamese Dotwork Tattoo Design
This is a Vietnamese network tattoo that looks artistic on the muscly elbows of the tattoo owner. This tattoo has been done using dots with the help of black ink. The structure of the tattoo is not very complex, and the striking effects are caused by the incessant and congested dots.
This dot-work tattoo design is quite popular among tattoo enthusiasts. Dotwork tattoos appear to be simple yet artistic. Vietnamese dot work tattoo designs are mostly based on traditional structures which are inked using dots instead of strokes or patterns.
Vietnamese Irezumi Tattoo
This is a perfect example of Vietnamese Irezumi tattoos. Irezumi tattoos have originated from Japanese art, and a Vietnamese tattoo artist can create Vietnamese tattoos based on the traditional Irezumi art of Japan. This tattoo covers a large part of the hand, and it is basically a mythical beast that has been inked using decorative style.
A tattoo artist can also apply vibrant colours to the Irrezumi tattoo to add more grandiose to the structure and design. Vietnamese Irezumi tattoos can be based on characters from legends and myths. Irrespective of their age, both women and men can get Vietnamese Irezumi tattoos on their bodies. The unique decorative style of the Irezummi art appears to be magnificent when inked over a large portion of the body.
Vietnamese Koi Tattoo
This is a Vietnamese Koi tattoo on the back. The concept of koi fish is symbolic, and there are many interpretations related to Koi fish in several cultures and traditions. This tattoo has been inked using bold colours and dark shades to increase the vibrance of the design. This tattoo appears truly aesthetic because of the vivid and eye-catching colours used to capture the essence.
Koi Fish tattoos can be of several colours, such as golden and green. Sundry decorative styles can be applied to the koi fish designs to enhance their exquisiteness as an artistic expression. Koi fish is symbolic of consistency, perseverance, and determination in several cultures and traditions. It can be represented as a symbol of the struggle that one has to go through to overcome the impediments of life.
Saigon Ink Tattoo
This Saigon ink art form illustrates traditional Vietnamese architecture in black ink. Done on the inner forearm, the tattoo is devoid of vibrant colours which adds to its aesthetic appeal. The scene in the tattoo is bounded by a rhombus outline and exhibits excellent shading technique and dotwork.
Saigon Ink is probably the first tattoo parlour in Vietnam started by Danis Nguyen. This tattoo studio in Ho Chi Minh city is quite popular among local tattoo lovers. Saigon ink parlour is the pioneer in spreading traditional Vietnamese tattoo ideas across the world. If you are planning on visiting Vietnam, you can drop by a tattoo parlour in the Ho Chi Minh city or Saigon Ink studio to get some traditional Vietnamese tattoos inked.
Tattoos began in Vietnam as an ancient art form as protection from sea monsters. However, there are personal meanings attached to every tattoo, and there are preferences based on the ethnic groups. In the younger generation, body inking was earlier thought to be something that could only be associated with sex workers and gang members. Vietnamese people have taken to tattooing lately, and the changing attitudes of the older generations have resulted in the immense popularity of the tattoo parlours in Ho Chi Min city and the other cities of the country. In rural areas, people mostly opt for traditional tattoos that have originated from the popular art forms of Asian countries such as Japan and China. Here are some more Vietnamese traditional tattoo ideas that represent many aspects of various cultures and the history of Vietnam.
- Traditional Vietnamese Lotus Tatto
- Vietnamese Traditional Dress Tattoo
- Gangster Tattoo Stencil Outline
- Vietnamese Scenery Tattoo
- Vietnamese Antique Tattoo for Men and Women
- Vietnamese Traditional Sword Tattoo
feature image from Pinterest
What is a traditional Vietnamese tattoo?
A traditional Vietnamese tattoo is a form of body art that originated in Vietnam and has been practiced for centuries. It involves the use of intricate patterns and symbols to be permanently imprinted on the skin, usually with black dye made from soot or charcoal. These tattoos can carry various meanings, such as protection, luck, fertility and even social status. Traditional Vietnamese tattoos are generally done with the help of a Vietnamese tattoo artist, and they often take multiple sessions to complete. The process is usually painful, but the end result is a stunning and unique piece of art that has been carefully crafted by an experienced artisan.
What is the history of traditional Vietnamese tattoos?
Traditional Vietnamese tattoos have a long and rich history. It is believed that these tattoos originated from the seafaring practices of fishermen who would tattoo symbols onto their skin in order to protect them from dangerous sea creatures. Over time, these tattoos evolved and were used by different cultural groups for various reasons, such as protection against evil spirits and even in some cases, as a way of expressing religious beliefs. In addition to this, Vietnamese tattoos were also used as a form of status symbol for the upper class, or for those who had achieved great feats in battle. Today, traditional Vietnamese tattoos are still popular among many people and continue to be used to express culture and tradition.
What do traditional Vietnamese tattoos represent?
Traditional Vietnamese tattoos can carry various meanings and symbols, such as protection, luck, fortune, fertility, strength and even social status. Depending on the symbol chosen for the tattoo, it can represent anything from a person’s cultural background to their spiritual beliefs or even simply an expression of their individuality. Many people choose to get traditional Vietnamese tattoos in order to pay tribute to their heritage or simply as a way of expressing themselves. No matter the reason, these tattoos are a beautiful reminder of culture and tradition that has been passed down through generations.
How much do traditional Vietnamese tattoos cost?
The cost of traditional Vietnamese tattoos will vary depending on the size, complexity and placement of the tattoo. Generally speaking, a smaller tattoo can cost anywhere from $50-200 USD, while larger or more detailed ones may cost up to $1000+ USD. It is important to keep in mind that these prices are just an estimate as each artist will charge different rates. Additionally, the cost of a traditional Vietnamese tattoo may also depend on the skill level and reputation of the artist. It is important to research any potential artists before committing to a design and ensure that they have experience in traditional Vietnamese tattoos.