The uninitiated may well wonder why elephant tattoos are so popular. We all like elephants but what drives someone to ink a permanent picture of them on their skin? For a subset of cute elephant tattoo recipients they simply love the animals, I mean what else is game park ranger or elephant keeper at the zoo going to get tattooed? For other people the elephant is a symbol of something else.
Elephants and Religion
To Buddhists the white elephant has particular meaning. Buddha took the form of a white elephant while he developed in the womb so for Buddhist the elephant symbolises compassion, truth, peace, love and kindness. Hindus also attribute special significance to the elephant. Ganesha has the head of an elephant and the elephant symbol in Hindu signifies intelligence and the ability of pure intentions to overcome obstacles. In Tibet the elephant is linked to creation which is where Terry Pratchett got his idea for four elephants (Tubul, Jerakeen, Berilia and Great T’Phon) supporting the world in his famous disc world novel series.
Elephants Outside of Religion
Outside of religion people choose elephant tattoos because they wish to reference some of this magnificent animals character traits. They are strong but intelligent so not actually violent. They are noble and dedicated to their family groups, mother elephants are particularly known for their devotion to their children. In addition there are many well loved references to elephants in popular culture; from Disney’s Dumbo, Tolkein’s Oliphaunts, Dr. Seuss’ Horton, Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar and Terry Pratchett’s creations (see earlier). Check out this photo gallery of cute elephant tattoos.