Eye Tattoos: What Do They Reveal?
“The eyes are the window to the soul.”
Okay, maybe that’s a little cliche but it does still hold some truth!
Eyes have fascinated people for centuries. From modern art that uses eyes to symbolize everything from beauty to being watched by Fred from the FBI, to the ancient Egyptians who represented the sun god Ra with a black, heavily-lined eye – they eyes can hold a myriad of meanings in art.
Which is quite fitting, if you really think about it. After all, the eyes often communicate far more than words do!
So how about we take a look at some awesome eye tattoo designs and see what these tattoos mean?
Have a design in mind? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!
Eye Tattoos: Popular Designs and Meanings
1. Religious Eye Tattoos
Arguably one of the most popular eye tattoo designs, the third eye has been a popular symbol across religions, spiritual groups – and even cults! – for a long time.
Getting a third eye tattoo on the hand is quite popular, but what does this design really mean?
In spirituality, the third eye refers to clairvoyance, or the ability to see beyond the physical realm and into the spirit world. The third eye is also thought to bestow the power to see beyond the illusion of reality and foretell the future.
The most common tattoo design featuring the third eye is one where it is enclosed within a triangle.
Interestingly, this design , especially when it includes the rays of the sun is also associated with Christianity, where it is know by a variety of names including The All-Seeing Eye of God and The Eye of Providence. As the names imply, it is thought to represent god’s protection and watchful eye, but it has the added meaning of trinity, represented by the triangle.
The triangle eye design is also very popularly associated with another group – the infamous Illuminati. Though in modern times it tends to refer to a most likely fictional organization that wields an excessive amount of power allowing them to orchestrate world events, historically, the Illuminati were a group of free thinkers who opposed religious influence over public life and state law. They were eventually outlawed due to pressure from the Catholic church.
This gorgeous sketch-style eye tattoo seems to perfectly capture the chaotic associations the triangle eye design has in the modern world!
Another popular religious eye tattoo is the ‘evil eye‘ which, contrary to its name, is meant to ward off evil.
Though the original design is quite intricate, modern evil eye tattoo designs tend to be far more simple and subtle.
Evil eye tattoos are generally placed on the wrist, though some also place their evil eye tattoo on other body parts, such as the back of the neck and even the chest.
The third eye and evil eye also feature in various other tattoo designs, including the Hamsa and mandala designs.
They are also, however, often used on their own in ornamental pieces.
Whether you believe in its religious and spiritual meanings of protection and prediction or not, the eye itself can symbolize a variety of things including vision, focus, thought, and intuition.
That makes ornamental eye tattoos meaningful all on their own!
Want more religious and spiritual tattoo ideas? Check out Religious Tattoos
2. Tiger Eyes
Tiger eye tattoos, especially on the forearm, are a staple in the tattoo community. They’re fierce yet poetic in their own way, but they also have deep symbolism – a tiger’s eyes are used to represent the human will to survive.
While they generally represent focus, patience, and one’s primal instinct, a tiger’s eyes are also thought to symbolize the ability to make decisions based on sound, unclouded judgement and without the interference of fear and anxiety.
Want more tiger tattoo design ideas? Visit Tiger Tattoos and their Meanings.
3. The Eye of Ra
Also called ‘The Eye of Horus’, this ancient Egyptian design is a dedication to the sun god Ra. It symbolizes protection and royalty.
Eye of Ra tattoos work beautifully in combination with other designs, such as this one featuring a cross, the triangle – and even a lightning bolt! Whether you associate that with the gods or with Harry Potter is entirely up to you!
This Eye of Ra tattoo features the Svefnthorn, an ancient Nordic symbol that is most commonly associated with putting one’s enemies into a deep sleep that they may never awaken from. Together, these symbols form quite a powerful talisman!
Find more Nordic tattoo inspiration at Tattoos of Europe: Norse Mythology and Symbolism
4. Realistic Eyes
We can’t talk eye tattoos and not bring up realism!
Realism has taken on a whole new life with modern tattooing. 3D tattoos are all the rage now – and 3D eye tattoos are right up there on the top of that list!
We absolutely ADORE this hyperrealistic green and blue eye tattoo!
If colour isn’t really your thing though, classic blackwork can always do the trick!
5. Gatsby Eyes
Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ has influenced a great many things. One important symbol it gave us are T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes, a symbol that has gone on to become extremely popular as a tattoo.
While many versions of it exist, we’re particularly partial to this Gatsby Eyes tattoo design – a dark art tattoo that captures the silent, crushing death of the American Dream that is an important theme in the novel.
6. Crying Eye
Most people assume a crying eye tattoo, or tear tattoos in general imply the wearer has served time in prison, most likely for murder. Some also relate this symbol to gang membership.
In reality, this tattoo more often than not relates to loss, usually of a very near and dear loved one.
This black crying heart tattoo is pretty gut-wrenching, even without the context! But for context, this piece is title ‘Love Hurts‘.
Visit Heart Tattoos: Say it With Love for more heart tattoo ideas!
7. Flaming Heart Eye Tattoo
A flaming heart tattoo is generally thought to represent a love so intense, it sets the heart ablaze. When combined with an eye, it can represent foresight – or a lack thereof – when it comes to such an intense love.
And when combined with a crying eye, it can represent the loss of a great love.
This flaming heart design draws on the sacred heart, a reference to Jesus Christ.
Visit Heart Tattoos: Say it With Love for more heart tattoo ideas!
8. Pop-culture Eye Tattoos
The fascination we have with eyes has extended into art, film, TV, and music. These peculiar windows that reveal so much more about us than even we know have time and again been used to express what even words often cannot.
Cheshire Cat Eye Tattoo
The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, quirky and prone to leaving both Alice and readers puzzled, is one of the most popular characters that finds a place in ink. While its smile is the symbol usually associated with the Cheshire Cat, its eyes are an equally popular symbol – after all, the Cheshire Cat enters and exits with nothing but its eyes and a grin most times!
A Cheshire Cat eye tattoo might be simply a tribute to your favourite novel or animated movie – or it could be a riddle and joke that only you know the punchline to!
Mike Wazowski Eye Tattoo
Cyclops eye tattoos are a pretty interesting design – the cyclopes are thought to be beings of great strength, and their single eye represents seeing things through only one perspective.
Kirin Tor Eye Tattoo
If you’re a World fo Warcraft player, you’ll appreciate this one!
The Kirin Tor, with some of the most powerful wizards in the world, was once a secret order that now stands as one of the leading factions in the fight against threats to Azeroth.
Their banner features a purple eye in a tribal design, which makes for a great new school tribal eye tattoo!
Art-Inspired Eye Tattoos
The eyes have also inspired artists throughout time, and their art has gone on to inspire tattoo artists as well!
This gorgeous circle tattoo is inspired by the artist and sculptor Fornasetti’s infamous plate series, which were a collection of illustrations he made inspired by the face of dancer Lina Cavalieri. Her eyes were a big part of her ‘classic beauty’ that made people like Fornasetti consider her their muse.
Another popular art-inspired design is the use of early statues and sculptures, usually in their broken form, which lends a magical and nostalgic tone to any tattoo. Pairing that with the third eye makes for quite a mystical piece of art!
The Pale Man Eye Tattoo
Pan’s Labyrinth was a classic horror film in many ways, and the Pale Man – though only present for one scene – has cemented his place as an antagonist that will be remembered for a long time!
If you haven’t seen the movie – spoiler alert!
The Pale Man is a character said to lure children to his lair before eating them alive, usually keeping their clothes as trophies before he paints the horror of his actions onto the walls of his cave. His appearance is pale – and his eyeballs are in the palms of his hands.
Liking these horror tats? We’ve got some more for you – right in time for the spooky season! Read on!
9. Creepy Eye Tattoos
Halloween is the perfect time for some horror eye tattoos! But be warned – if being creeped out isn’t your genre, this might be a scary ride!
Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!
The third eye tattoo gets a horror revamp with this third eye man tattoo! If Count Dracula had the gift of prediction…
Rick Griffin’s ‘Flying Eyeball‘ poster gained a cult following since it came out in the 60s, and has since become one of the most recognizable identifiers for the psychedelic era of Acid Rock. It has also inspired numerous eye tattoos, such as this stunning calf tattoo.
Abstract eye tattoos are also extremely popular. This shoulder eye tattoo is as artistic as it is creepy – and we can’t help but love it!
Eyes have long been used to represent the creepy feeling that we’re all being watched – a notion that became more popular with the invention of the TV and eventually the computer.
Horror tattoos aren’t just for clients – we love this creepy eye tattoo done by artist Steven Carrera on his own arm!
Another popular Halloween tattoo is zombies and everything about them – including their eyes!
Follow us for more Halloween tattoo inspiration!
10.Quirky Eye Tattoos
If you like the idea behind horror tattoos but aren’t quite a fan of the genre, you could try the same design in a classic or new school style – it’s just as beautiful!
You could also switch out some parts of the design, such as a camera instead of a computer.
11. Meaningful Eye Tattoos
Eye tattoos can have a range of meanings – as we’ve already seen! But they can also be unique and have personal meaning for the wearer.
This handpoked sternum eye tattoo featuring the idea of duality is an absolute beauty. A great choice for Geminis!
You can get pretty creative with personal meaning tattoos, combining different designs to make something unique. This arm eye tattoo features references to the third eye placed above a gazelle, an animal symbolizing agility, alertness, and consciousness.
12. Filler Tattoos
Fillers are a way to fill in the spaces in a larger tattoo, and they’re usually done in sleeves.
While filler tattoos are mostly taken straight from flash designs, you can just as easily incorporate third eyes and crying eyes as fillers into tattoos – they look great on their own and can blend pretty well into the rest of your ink!
You can also, however, get something quirky – or even creepy! – as a filler tattoo. You’re really only limited by your imagination.
And possibly your stomach for gore.
Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!
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Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!
- Eagle Tattoos: Bird’s Eye View
- Religious and Spiritual Tattoos
- Heart Tattoos: Say it With Love
- Tiger Tattoos and Their Meanings
- Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town
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