The symbolism of wings dates back thousands of years and spans the globe, so it should be no surprise that they’re a common motif in tattoos. Whether chosen both for their meaning, their beauty, or both, you’ll find no shortage of inspiration in this wing tattoo collection.
Symbolism of Wings
Wings are meaningful in many cultures and religious practices, including the traditions of ancient Egypt, Latin America, Greece, Christianity, and Hinduism. While the details may vary, wings often represent freedom, lightness, and transcendence, as well as intelligence and imagination.
Existing both in reality and legend, winged creatures range from delicate and beautiful to majestic and powerful. Wings are found on the tiniest of insects, some with paper-thin wings that are nearly transparent. They also turn a horse into a pegasus and a lizard into a dragon, both of which we’d consider an upgrade.
Even more, wings show up in many of our expressions, at least in the English language. Time is described as having wings and even flying. To “take someone under your wing” means to take an interest in someone for support or guidance. To “wing it” is to improvise, and to “spread your wings” is to establish independence, while to “clip their wings” means to take that opportunity away from someone else.
Wing Tattoo Styles
A wing tattoo can be done in any style, ranging from realistic to abstract. Black and grey is a common style, but many brighten their wings with color as well.
These three tattoos are all very different in style, and each is stunning in its own way.
Birds, bats, insects, dragons, and angels all feature distinct wing styles, and they symbolize different things. Butterfly wings may signify rebirth or emergence, where angel wings represent purity or remembrance.
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