Bat tattoos are most commonly associated with a sinister character. The wearer may be a person who is attuned to the darker side of life. However, in some cultures the bat is seen as a symbol of both death and rebirth, adaptability and even luck.
Bat tattoos are most frequently used in gothic pieces. Given the close association with vampires, it is not uncommon to see the bat piercing sharp fangs into the skin of the wearer; the bat may even be depicted as morphing into the fierce and angry vampire itself. Gothic vampire tattoos can also depict this creature in a gargoyle-like fashion; made of gray, solid granite, perhaps with a drop of blood falling from an exposed tooth. They may also be done in a metallic fashion, or placed above a gravestone.
Chinese bat tattoos are said to be a symbol of good fortune. Four bats placed around a much smaller bat, or five surrounding the longevity symbol are said to represent not only a long life, but a well fulfilled existence, as each bat has a different meaning; virtuous love, peace, prosperity, long life and a happy death. A set of bats surrounding any Chinese character can create a talisman. The upside down bat signifies the arrival of something; so in that case, a right sided bat, and one that is upside down surrounding the kanji character of love may mean both the arrival of love, and luck in that particular emotion.
Many bat tattoos feature this creature in a simple manner. Either bundled up at rest, or spread wide across the shoulders, back, chest or stomach of the wearer. These images may be realistic, or cartoonish. They may be colorful or stark. Two unique pieces would be to create a rainbow of color on the bat’s wings, or splay the skeletal image of a broad winged bat on a large area of the body. It is not unusual to see a bare or shadowy outline of this creature. This depiction may also show drops of blood on a different area of the body to give the appearance of the bat at a close range.
Although the symbolism of bat tattoos is fairly simple, the wearer of this design may find themself to be just as misunderstood as the interesting animal that they choose to depict.