Monkeys are well known for their playfulness, wit, and entertaining demeanor. In many countries they are mingled with gods, seen as messengers and are placed amongst the stars. For these reasons, monkey tattoos may be a great expression of personality, or simply a way to show your fascination with these revered primates.
It is not uncommon to see monkey tattoos that depict the many folkloric tales that follow them. Some great pieces that you can use to create these designs come directly from the art of India. Hanuman the Monkey — an incarnation of Shiva — is said to be one of the more popular Hindu gods, as he is a symbol of both man and beast; his appearance has distinct qualities of both human and monkey. He is also a symbol of bravery, loyalty and devotion. There are many stories that can be used for your piece; the monkey god chasing a fleeing sun, or being hit in the jaw with a thunderbolt by Indra; flying from the lips of an extraordinarily large Sursa, or the image of Hanuman trailing a burning tail behind him, setting Lanka ablaze.
Chinese monkey tattoos also depict this primate as a god. One story tells of the earth releasing a stone egg from its depths, which in turn hatched a stone ape, who bowed to the four corner of the Earth. Another depiction could show the monkey attempting to leap for the exceptionally large palm of Buddha. Monkeys are also the 9th sign of the Chinese zodiac, and these designs may feature a woodblock-type image, or simple kanji script to express the wearer’s affiliation with the sign.
Many monkey tattoos use illustrations of this animal. They may have a cute, futuristic or even a caricature style to show the monkey in a variety of settings. Some monkey tattoos show a charming little creature with a small round head, and stubby features; others will show it with long limbs, dangling from the wearer’s ear, arm or shoulder. It may be swinging from a vine, or doing things associated less with animals, and more with humans; reading, playing video games or dancing in a lei and hula skirt. Some designs may even feature the monkey either as, or mingled with, a machine. The monkey may have a robotic exterior; it may be placed in a kitschy spacesuit straight from the 1950′s, or even be shown as zipping off in a flying saucer.
Monkey tattoos are great because this creature, with its human-like features and sassy personality, make it easy to place it into a variety of images. Not to mention that they are also a great symbol for someone with a wild, clever and totally endearing personality.