The Chinese zodiac is based on Jupiter’s 11.85-year orbit. This translates to a 12-year calendar with a different animal assigned to each year. Your zodiac animal is the animal sign of the year you were born.
Each of these zodiac signs attributes it’s characteristics to those born in that year. As such, these signs can hold personal meaning and identifiers. This helps to make Chinese zodiac signs popular tattoos.
The zodiac animals each have an attributed element as well. This is ideal for classic Asian tattoos, which use elements as a base to tie the tattoo together.
Today, we look at the 12 signs of the zodiac, their meaning and examples done by a selection of the best Asian tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver.
The rat is the first symbol of the Chinese zodiac. In the Toronto & Vancouver, most people wouldn’t take kindly to being called a rat. But those born under the sign of the rat need not worry. A zodiac rat tattoo has none of the Western connotations of a rat.
Instead, a year or the rat tattoo represents someone who is popular, sophisticated, and social. Rats are instinctive, adaptable – the kind of friend or coworker you want with you during difficult situations. They have a strong reputation as businessmen.
They are connected to the Water element. The most recent year of the rat was 2008, and the next one is in 2020.
The above watercolour tattoo features the big and hardworking ox. Oxen were once crucial to agriculture across the globe. They were the precursor to heavy farm equipment and made it possible to feed large populations before industrialization.
If nothing else, you probably recognize them from Oregon Trail.
An ox zodiac tattoo represents more than a beast of burden. The ox is honest, level-headed, diligent and persistent. They make exceptional leaders, boasting leaders like Barack Obama and Napoleon.
Their element is Earth. The most recent year was 2009, and the next one is 2021.
Next up on the zodiac calendar is the ferocious tiger. The tiger is present in a lot of the lore and legends of Chinese culture. They are a popular feature in Asian tattoos.
A tiger zodiac tattoo represents someone who is courageous, independent, and powerful. A tiger tattoo indicates someone who is smart, loyal, and overcomes hardship.
Their element is Wood. The most recent year was 2010, and the next is in 2022.
The second rodent on the list is the rabbit. A common childhood pet, this adorable animal often adorns decorative and cute tattoos. They are symbols of lasting hope.
A rabbit zodiac tattoo represents an ideal partner – a strong friend and romantic in partnership. The rabbit tattoo represents a gentle, compassionate soul who is friendly and modest. It’s the type of friend that helps you get through tough times.
Their element is Wood. the most recent year was 2011, and the next is 2023.
The above Asian black and grey tattoo features the dragon. Stories of dragons originated in China over 6,000 years ago and became part of mythology around the world. They are wise, fantastic beasts.
Asian dragon tattoos are popular designs, full of meaning. A dragon zodiac tattoo represents wisdom, power and luck. They are tenacious and confident and benevolent. Willpower, overcoming adversity, and triumph are common meanings behind these zodiac tattoos.
Their element is Earth. The most recent year was 2012, and the next is 2024.
The above upper back tattoo features the often misunderstood snake. Much like the rat, most people in the West wouldn’t take well to being called a snake. We still all remember the Kim/Kanye/Taylor feud which was basically everyone calling each other snakes.
In the zodiac, however, the snake is not an evil or malevolent symbol. Instead, a snake zodiac tattoo indicates someone is funny, sensitive, and artistic. They are more witty and wise than Western depictions of a cunning, malevolent animal.
Their element if Fire. The snake’s most recent year was 2013, and the next year is in 2025.
The brush stroke tattoo above depicts the majestic horse. From taming the Wild West, to building Genghis Khan’s Empire, to My Little Pony, the horse has meant a lot of different things to a lot of different peoples. One constant though, in all cultures the horse is found it plays an important role in work and play.
A zodiac horse tattoo is a sign of energy and enthusiasm. The horse tattoo signifies a kind heart and a free spirit driven by independence.
Their element is Fire. The last year of the horse was 2014, and the next is 2026.
The tribal tattoo above features the goat. The goat zodiac sign is also called the sheep or ram. They are among the most likeable animals in the zodiac. Their fur provides warmth and their company provides comfort.
A goat zodiac tattoo signifies someone who is compassionate, wise, and considerate. A goat tattoo is not a pushover, it demonstrates that the bearer is attractive, clever, and persistent. The goat can scale mountains, reaching heights that others cannot.
The element of the goat, sheep, or ram zodiac is Earth. The most recent year was 2015, and the next is 2027.
The cleverest of the zodiac animals is the monkey. The human-like animal lives on in legends of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, and gibbons themselves were once revered in the Chu Kingdom.
Bearing a monkey zodiac tattoo represents intelligence and a clever mind. They are skillful, loving, and sociable. A monkey tattoo may represent aspiration of or success in career and wealth.
The monkey’s element is Metal. The most recent year was 2016 and the next is in 2028.
The ancient alarm clock, the rooster zodiac is known for punctuality. The crow of the rooster doesn’t just wake people up, it was also used to exorcize spirits and demons.
A rooster zodiac tattoo represents someone with quick-wit and ambition. They are independent, caring and capable.
Their element is Metal. The most recent year of the rooster was 2017, and the next is 2029.
Next up is man’s best friend. The mini tattoo above features the owner’s pet husky. These faithful companions are welcome in any home and are harbingers of luck and good fortune.
Bearing a year of the dog tattoo indicates a loyal character that is sincere and decisive. Though playful and energetic, dogs are also courageous and responsible. The dog zodiac gets along well with others and excels in social situations.
Their element is Earth. The most recent year of the dog is 2018, and the next is 2030.
The final zodiac sign is the pig. Where snakes and rats are given more positive signs on the zodiac, the pig is often categorized as lazy and clumsy. It doesn’t get the credit Western stories like Babe and Charlotte’s Web give for this animals intelligence. The good news is that the overindulgence of the pig is a symbol of wealth.
The pig zodiac tattoo comes with a number of positive characteristics. They are generous, merciful, and considerate. Despite their depiction as lazy, they are forgiving and pure of heart.
Their element is Water. The most recent year of the pig was 2007, and the next is in 2019.
Get A Zodiac Tattoo In Toronto & Vancouver
Zodiac tattoos are popular Asian tattoos. They can speak volumes about a person’s character through the traits each sign represents. Our Asian tattoo specialists can help you create a design that speaks to your personality and vision.
Schedule a tattoo consultation in Toronto & Vancouver today.