Big, Bold, and Beautiful: Traditional Rose Tattoos

Big, Bold, and Beautiful: Traditional Rose Tattoos

In this selection of gorgeously lush traditional rose tattoos, you can see perfect examples of this iconic design that truly lives on & on.

It's an iconic design, to be sure, because of its brilliance, boldness, and absolute beauty. Big and lush, full of dense fat petals drooping with the colors of sunset: red, orange, yellow with blushing pale peaches and pinks. Traditional rose tattoos will never get old. They stand for a timeless beauty that never fades and, if done right, never fails to delight. In this collection we've brought together not only some stand alone roses, but also some bright blooms decorated with other traditional iconography such as skulls, daggers, and, of course, the lovely faces of ladies. We know that flower tattoos are a trend that never dies, and these pieces here show exactly why.

Roses are full of symbolism; they've captured the eyes and hearts of many a poet, writer, lover, and songstress. Romance drips off of every petals...but, of course, as you probably know, ever single color of rose means something unique. There are also differences in meaning depending on what the rose is accompanied by. A skull or dagger, often omens of death, may turn that rose tattoo from a simple bud of life to an object d' memento mori: a reminder that life must always end, no matter how beautiful. It's also worth nothing that the amount of petals can be connected to numerology, and whether a rose is open or closed may also change the meaning behind it. It's details like this that make Traditional tattoos everlasting. Far beyond the reaches of sailor folklore and sea faring men, these iconic images stay with us not only due to the power of their aesthetics, but also the power of their symbolism.

But why are roses, and rose tattoos, usually matched with ideas of love and romance? "In mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was often depicted with roses adorning her head, feet, and neck. This can be interpreted many ways, but the association comes from a rose bush that grew within a pool of blood spilled by her slain lover, Adonis, and so a common interpretation is that the rose symbolizes an immortal love that withstands time and even death." But the history of this flower doesn't end there...

"The legend of the red rose’s creation continued into Roman mythology where Venus took the place of Aphrodite. Wealthy Romans reportedly filled their bedchambers with bouquets of roses to provide a soft, pleasant-smelling surface for their amorous encounters. It was a symbol of love and beauty associated with the goddess, but also came to stand for secrecy after Cupid offered a rose to the God of Silence to keep quiet Venus’s affairs. In fact, Roman dining room ceilings were decorated with roses to urge guests to keep quiet about what was said at dinner, and “sub rosa” or “under the rose” still means “confidentially” today."

Join the biggest tattoo community!
Find your next tattoo. Download the app.
Help me find a tattoo artist.

But it isn't only Greeks and Romans who have been enamored by the bloom. "In Christianity, the red rose became the symbol of the Virgin Mary dating back to the third century AD. At that time, Saint Ambrose believed the Garden of Eden was full of thornless roses, which gained their thorns after the fall and symbolized Original Sin. Because of this, the Virgin Mary is often referred to as the “rose without thorns.” 

And even Eastern traditions have specific ideas about the power of the rose. "An ancient Arabic legend also links roses to romance and the literal effect of one’s heart’s blood. The legend states that a nightingale fell in love with a white rose. The love was so intense that it caused the nightingale to sing for the first time and overwhelmed by his love, the nightingale pressed itself to the rose, a thorn piercing its heart and turning the flower red with its blood. The nightingale pined for the rose so badly, it sacrificed its life, creating an enduring link between one’s heart’s blood and intense feelings of love and romance. These legends are extremely ancient, dating back to some of the most ancient civilizations, thus tying the rose to romance from the earliest days of humanity."

Pretty powerful stuff...not to mention Shakespeare, and numerous other writers or poets who have penned sonnets in the name of love for the rose. So, perhaps all of these ancient and old ideals make our obsession with these Traditional rose tattoos or flower tattoos that much more understandable. Want one of your own? Be sure to head over to the Tattoodo App to book directly with an artist today!

Find tattoo artists and tattoo shops in top cities

CookiesThis site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Read our privacy policy to learn more