Chain tattoos are often looked at as a rather dark and negative tattoo image.
They have a prevalent use in prison tattooing, frequently being used as a symbol of incarceration and life sentences, but chain tattoos do have a place outside the prison world. For many people chains represent oppression, slavery and defeat, although they can symbolize the opposite also. A broken chain is an image that expresses release and freedom, both mentally and physically. Chain tattoos can have a religious meaning as well, some see the image of an unbroken chain as a symbol of subservience to religion and religious bonds.
Whether you're looking at a chain tattoo to symbolize oppression or freedom they make a solid tattoo. Bold and in your face chain tattoos look badass and standout from other traditional designs. They can also make a great matching tattoo, chains have the association of inter-connectivity and linking one thing to another, so if you and a friend are after a tattoo that shows how you're connected a small chain design is a good option. Then again if you're facing a life sentence and want to impress your new inmates a chain tattoo may help...