38 Monkey Tattoos - Meanings, Photos, Designs for men and women


The meaning of monkey tattoos in the Middle Ages could be seen by theologians and scientists as an ominous parody of a man. This harmless and funny animal symbolized all the worst that people can have. Most often they were accused of laziness, deceit, meanness, the desire to serve Mammon, and bitterness. Some zealots even went that far and directly accused the poor creature of helping the devil, cursed and excommunicated.

With the beginning of the Gothic era, two images of monkey were popularized: an animal holding an apple in its mouth served as a formidable reminder of the fall of the ancestors. An enchained gorilla symbolized victory over the sinful essence.

In the East, the attitude towards monkeys was positive. Hanuman, a devoted servant of Rama and the wisest diplomat of the tribe of monkeys, appear in the ancient texts of Indian traditions. Monkeys were also considered wise in Egypt. The Chinese also saw positive aspects in this clever and agile beast. Monkeys were associated with wit, right attitude toward money, as well as with narcissism, insidiousness and impermanence.

In Japan of the seventeenth century, the image of the Three Wise Monkeys, which symbolized the unfolding of evil, gained immense popularity.

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The contradictory image of the monkey isn’t as popular as other symbols, but there are fans of this animal. What will specifically symbolize this beast? It depends on the tradition, in which the tattoo is inked. Tattoos depicting a monkey inked in Euro-style, may denote greed and the desire to “take everything from life”. Meaning of monkey tattoos, depicted on the body in the eastern technique, on the contrary, symbolizes the cautiousness of dexterity, zeal.


In modern culture, a monkey is often tattooed as a caricature: thus, all the vices of the human race are exposed and ridiculed. Despite the existing contradictions, tattoos with monkeys are often chosen by outgoing, open and active people. The less “European” the monkey is, and the more “Oriental” or caricature features it has, the more likely is the tattoo to have a positive effect on the interaction of people. Tattoos with monkeys are chosen more often by men. A pattern is inked on back, ankles, forearms and shoulders. It can be tattooed both in color (cheerful warm shades), and in monochromatic shades.


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