Of all the flower tattoos, rose tattoo designs are the most popular, and share perhaps the most intriguing history and symbolism. They are a traditional choice and are more popular then hibiscus tattoos, Lilly tattoos, daisy tattoos and even the exotic orchid tattoo. The only other flower that could ever hope to compare to the rose tattoo design would be the lotus flower.
Because of this, there may be a hesitancy to settle on a flower that seems to have attained some kind of “cookie-cutter” mass appeal. But don’t worry, the incredible variety of designs ensures that you will find a tattoo design that’s perfect for you. Tattoo artists around the world have paid special attention to creating flower tattoo art so that even the common rose can be found in thousands of shapes and sizes. The choices are endless when you combine your flower design with a fairy, a butterfly or a heart for a tattoo that is totally you. No matter if you picture a large tropical flower design on your lower back or a small oriental wildflower tattoo on your ankle you can be sure that your personal tattoo gallery will be unique.
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For centuries – millennia even – the rose has been an object revered in both religious and secular contexts. In the Middle Ages, this mix could be best illustrated by the growing of roses. Roses were grown and cared for in monastery gardens to be used for medicinal purposes both there and in the surrounding towns and villages. However, because of the rose’s extensive use throughout the ages by so many diverse groups to symbolize so many very different things, today it’s impossible to give a rose picture only one intended meaning.
Despite that, there are many accepted traditional meanings that apply to roses in general, and to rose tattoos by association.
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When A Rose Isn’t Just A Rose…
As mentioned earlier, roses hold different meanings for different groups. It held special importance in the world of religion and religious symbolism.
Some of the religious significance of rose designs includes the following:
- The rose represented the unfolding nature of human spiritual growth.
- Roses have been used to represent God’s love for us.
- The rose is particularly associated with both Jesus Christ (especially His blood) and His mother the Virgin Mary.
- A red rose can also be a symbol of martyrdom.
- Roses are also found in relation to Christian gravestones and burials, and can be used to show respect to the memory of the dead. Many rose tattoos are worn to honor a deceased loved one.
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As much as roses were used by different faiths as a religious symbol, it was just as popular in secular life. Secret societies, fraternal orders and the general public at large all fashioned their own meaning for roses.
- Roses have been used for years and years to symbolize romantic love.
- They are a traditional marker of springtime.
- Roses have often been associated with the feminine and have also been used as a symbol of the female reproductive organs (hence the term, “deflower”).
- A rose with 8 petals can represent regeneration.
- A rose pictured without thorns is indicative of love at first sight.
- The thorns on a rose are representative of the masculine. This makes the rose a symbol of balance, of yin and yang, male and female and their unity.
- The leaves on a rose have come to symbolize hope.
- Six roses means, “I miss you”.
- Seven is a symbol of infatuation.
- Roses that form a crown indicate reward and/or virtue.
- When two roses come together to form a common stem, it signals a marriage or engagement.
- Slightly less known, to see a full blown rose on top of two rose buds is a combination that means is a sign of secrecy.
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Rose Tattoos and Colors – Hidden Meanings
If you’re searching for a rose design tattoo, it might be worthwhile to learn more about the meaning of the specific color(s) you chose.
- A red rose indicates love, beauty, courage or respect, romance and passion.
- Dark red roses symbolize unconscious beauty.
- Lavender stands for enchantment.
- Coral roses represent desire.
- Blue roses mean impossibility.
- A golden rose is a sign of absolute achievement.
- Black roses are the traditional representative of death.
- Roses in pink indicate friendship, appreciation, thanks, grace, happiness and gentleness.
- To see roses in light pink symbolizes sympathy and sweetness.
- Yellow roses (in addition to being the state flower of Texas) stand for joy, gladness, “Welcome back”, “Remember me”, jealousy or “I’m sorry!”
- If you want your rose tattoo to communicate purity, innocence, silence, secrecy, reverence, humility, youthfulness or charm, you should opt for the color white.
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