Tattoos of elephants symbolize a variety of things; depending on who you are and what type of elephant you are depicting. When choosing an elephant for your tattoo design, you have two options; an African elephant or an Asian elephant. African elephants have larger ears than Asian elephants, and are generally larger.
In Africa, the elephant is a symbol of power, strength and wisdom. Not only are they physically strong, but mentally strong too. An elephant herd can travel many miles across rugged terrain, following ancient, unmarked pathways to fin water, shelter and food.
In Asia, elephants are associated with royalty and spirituality. There are several deities in the area who are either human elephant hybrids or use the elephant as a carrier or companion. The white elephant is rare and treasured, and therefore an expensive pet that shows the wealth of the owner. Asian royalty has kept albino elephants for centuries and therefore the symbolism of a white Asian elephant is linked with royalty, unlike in the West, where a white elephant symbolizes a burden that the owner can’t get rid of.
Elephants exist in a matriarchal society. This means that the leader of the group is an older female, who guides and organizes the herd and protects the young. Male elephants are driven out of the herd when they reach adulthood and live either as solo bachelors or in small groups of males. A tattoo of an older female elephant is a powerful symbol for older women, as it symbolizes motherhood, leadership, strength and wisdom. For mothers, a tattoo of a mother elephant with her young in tow carries the beautiful meaning of loyalty and family values. For men, a tattoo of a strong male elephant is a symbol of physical and mental strength, independence and individual success. A tattoo of a war elephant is another elephant tattoo that has a powerful meaning for men, symbolizing capability, courage and the will to fight.
Take a look at these elephant tattoo designs to find inspiration for your own elephant tattoo: