60 Engaging Yin Yang Tattoo Designs – Inseparable and Contradictory Opposites

The yin yang symbol is composed of two colors that are different usually within a circle while the opposing colors form a slight S shape, a light color usually paired with a dark. Often you see black and white coupled together, which is traditional for the symbol. Though the colors are vast opposites of each other though they aren’t working against together. It was born of Taoism, a religion from China, and a lot of the meaning behind the symbol is derived from the religion. A yin yang tattoo is a depiction of the symbol and usually used in respect to its religious background.



The yin yang symbol dates back to ancient China, from the Taoism religion as we mentioned before that puts emphasis on harmony. It’s been a part of the culture and philosophy since the third century BCE, though there’s some evidence that suggests it could predate even that. The principle behind the yin and yang symbol is that all things exist are inseparable and contradictory opposites, though not in a negative way. The school and philosophy named after the yin yang symbol believed that life went through five phases: fire, water, metal, wood, and earth.

Yin is feminine, the black or dark part of the symbol. It represents transformation, weakness, and the goddess Changxi. It’s poor, soft, the earth and the water. Yang is masculine, the white or light part of the symbol. It represents creativity, strength, and the god Xihe. It’s the rich, hard, fire and the sun. In mythology, yin and yang were born from the chaos, but when the two met the five phases were born.

While it’s hard to find when the tattoo came into popularity, with as old as the symbol is. Before tattoos began their negative representation of crime in the sixteenth century in the east, they were used to symbolize spirituality in the skin and even healing. So it’s likely that the yin yang symbol was something that would have been chosen as a tattoo for someone that followed the Tao belief system, which was prevalent, and chose to use it as a means of a reminder, a desire to achieve balance or something else that they wished to achieve. Some of these connotations may still be used today when people make the decision to involve the symbol in ink.

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The meaning of the tattoo falls back a lot on the ancient philosophy that created the symbol. You might see the tattoo in represented in different colors, more than just the black and the white, but the overall meaning will be the same. Yin is the dark color, with the light dot in it. And yang is the light color with a dot of the dark color. It’s the light and the dark, the feminine, and the masculine.

While it can at a glance it may look like the two colors are opposing one another, they aren’t. They are balanced, that is why each side has a dot of the opposite color. So, the symbol can reflect harmony and balance, life and death, day and night, heaven and earth.

Yin and yang are opposites attracting, not combating each other. The yin can’t exist without the yang, so both compliment the other. So, not only is it balance and harmony, it’s also unity.

Tattoos reflect the meaning that the symbol was created for. A person considering this symbol for a tattoo may be at a point in their life where they have reached a sort of balance with their struggles. Or it can be used as a reminder that to achieve peace you have to be united, or even be used to symbolize when you are creating a union with another person.

It can be a nod towards Chinese or Asian culture, mixing it with other symbols whether a person is trying to accept their own culture or respecting that of another.

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While the meaning behind the symbol seems to be constant as a reminder of balance or unity, the depiction of the symbol is versatile in the fact that is simple. You can go with the base of the symbol and pair it with multiple things or adapt it to still contain it’s base meaning while reflecting your own cultural heritage. For example, wrapping Celtic knots to reflect the Yin Yang symbol.

It’s also a symbol that can be worn in any style, though it’s common to see it paired with eastern styles because of its Asian roots. You can see it coiled in the claws of a dragon, or two dragons opposing one another in different colors. Two koi fish can also reflect the symbolism while also nodding to its origins.

It can stand alone, displaying its meaning by itself without any additional depictions. Or it something that you can be creative with by altering it in a fashion that goes with your own individual style, even with the changes that you make to it the symbol still retains its meaning. Whether you are creating the symbol with fire or dragons, or using the tiger and phoenix, to depict it will still display a meaning of balance and harmony. Adding to it can create more depth and definition to it.

Tattoos can have spiritual or religious undertones depending on where the symbols started from if that’s what you’re looking for. And while the yin yang symbol was born from religion, if you are striving for a certain level of balance it can be something to help you find it and remind you how to stay on track.

As tattoos can be often as a means that can speak solely to the person wearing the tattoo, having the ability to adapt it so that it speaks to you can help reflect what you want it to. Harmony and balance are something that people often struggle with, inking a yin yang into your skin can help ease the struggle and the remainder of it may help you achieve it.

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