Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
A growing trend among tattoo enthusiasts and art lovers in general revolves around the colorful koi fish tattoo designs. Some people indiscriminately call any large goldfish a koi; however, they are a very specific type of fish. Why is it that they have been popping up on people's bodies in the form of brightly-colored koi fish designs lately?
There are many reasons for the koi's popularity, but it's hardly anything new. People have adored these beautiful fish for several centuries now. If you're one of them, you might want to learn a little more about them; you can do so by checking out the information below!
The History of Koi
Koi tattoos have a long and illustrious history. Before delving into it, though, you should know that the word "koi" is simply Japanese for "carp." Indeed, koi are just carp - albeit exceptionally beautiful and incredibly colored carp. That said, there's still no denying the allure of these breathtaking fish.
They were initially developed during the Jin Dynasty in China, which was between 260 and 420 AD. They didn't explode in popularity at that time, though, although a lot of thought went into creating their color combinations. In fact, selective breeding was used to produce this amazing effect.
Varieties of Koi.
There are many different types and varieties of koi design, which is why they are so much fun to paint, draw or otherwise illustrate. The most popular category of koi fish is the Gosanke; the Showa Sanshoku, Taisho Sanshoku and Kohaku are all varieties within that category.
Kohaku - When most people envisage a koi tattoo design, the Kohaku is what usually comes to mind. This fish is distinguished by its white body and the bold, red markings across its back. Since it was the first variety that was used for ornamental purposes in Japan, it has remained very popular many years later.
Showa Sanshoku - This fish first made its appearance during the late 1920s. It is an interesting-looking fish, thanks to its black body and its red and white markings. In the U.S., most people just call this koi the Showa. Its look has changed a little through the years, but it is still a very distinctive and attractive type of koi fish design.
Taisho Sanshoku - Many people get Taisho Sanshoku confused with Kohaku; however, the Taisho Sanshoku also includes small black markings. Therefore, it is red, black and white. Authentic Kohaku koi are strictly red and white.
Tancho - If you ever see a koi whose only marking is a red patch on its head, you're looking at a Tancho. Although this design may not be as popular in terms of body art, it is very bold and striking nonetheless.
Kinginrin - These koi appeal to people who like sparkling and glittering things, since its scales look a lot like gold or silver. In fact, the name translates to mean "gold and silver scales" in English. If you'd like your koi with a little bit of pizazz, the Kinginrin tattoo may be right.
Japanese Koi Fish Tattoos
Japanese koi originated in China, they didn't stay put there. In fact, they wouldn't enjoy their heyday until much later. It wasn't until the 1820s that common carp were bred for color in Japan. By the time the twentieth century rolled around, there were many stunning color combinations available for Japanese koi tattoos.
As a result, they became very popular as Japanese koi among the wealthy and the elite, who used them to populate ponds, fountains and other decorative things. It's easy to see why Japanese koi tattoos became so popular - after all, you can't miss them!
As they laze about in a pond, koi are definite standouts.
Incredibly, most of the rest of the world remained ignorant of the existence of koi - at least when it came to the brightly-colored fish that are so ubiquitous today. All of that changed around the mid-1910s, when exquisite examples of the fish were put on display during an exposition in Tokyo.
Suddenly, everyone in Japan had to have a koi tattoo in their body art. In turn, the rest of the world began learning about koi and the hobby picked up some serious steam. Now, you can find koi in hotel lobbies and other run-of-the-mill places.
The Symbolism of Koi TattoosOne of the reasons for the persisting popularity of koi tattoo designs is all of the symbolism that is associated with them. In Japanese, the word "koi" is a homophone for a word that roughly means "love" or "affection." As a result, uttering the word "koi" brings thoughts of love and friendship to people's minds in that country.
It's not surprising, then, that koi body art have been associated with those ideals for some time. In fact, it would make perfect sense for two friends to have matching koi tattoos, since these beautiful fish have such lovely symbolism and meaning. Friendship and affection aren't the only two ideals that are associated with koi, though. In Japan, koi are closely associated with manliness and machismo, too.
This may seem strange, but it does make sense. After all, carp are known for their persistence, strength and resilience. There is an ancient Chinese legend that says that carp who can swim up a particular waterfall on the Yellow River turn into dragons. Therefore, adventure is closely tied together with the idea of carp, as is aspiration.
Another idea that many people associate with tattoos of koi is bravery. In Japan, many people believe that koi will lay on a cutting board and willingly be cut to pieces - all without flinching or showing any fear. Granted, koi are fish - when was the last time you saw a fish freak out about anything, or show any genuine fear?
Koi Tattoo Galleries
Whether they are depicted as larger-than-life or small and diminutive, there's no denying the allure of koi tattoo galleries. In body art, they are often depicted with classic colors like red, white and black; however, there's no reason that other colors can't be thrown into the mix, too. Although some may choose them for their symbolism - especially when it comes to friendship, affection and virility - others simply choose them for their aesthetic appeal.
Either way, koi are natural choices for illustrations, artwork and body art of all kinds. Explore the world of koi tattoo designs and find a look that you love today! There is actually an annual festival in Japan that uses the Japanese koi tattoo design as its representation. The Boys Day Parade uses the fish as a symbol; the event revolves around ideals like courage and overcoming adversity. It makes sense that the fish is the mascot of the event, then, given its great reputation in Japan.
Although the Boys Day Parade is restricted to Japan, its spirit can be grasped easily by people just about anywhere in the world. Outside of Japan, you'd have to explain to others why you'd choose a koi tattoo as a symbol of strength; you wouldn't be wrong, though!
Either way, they are admired for their bravery and for keeping their cool, and those ideals are highly prized among men in that culture. While koi tattoo gallery artwork might symbolize friendship and affection, it could also symbolism manhood and being the "strong, silent type." In the West, though, most people don't look at carp that way.