Oh, the many ways thorns have been used to symbolize man's suffering, struggle, and helplessness against the forces of nature. And that's not even scratching the surface. From Jesus's Crown of Thorns to Shakespeare's sonnets about the beauty of a rose, thorn tattoos can come in many different styles and designs...and it's all up to you to find out the meaning, or make it up yourself.
For this collection of thorn tattoos we brought together all types of designs to get you inspired. Illustrative, Traditional...some are gloomy, or funny, and some are as bad ass as they could ever be...since, let's face it, a lot of us get tattoos for that very reason.
For many people the symbolism of thorns is usually indicative of suffering...this probably stems from how Jesus wore them way back in the day, but...obviously...even if you've just admired a rose, and then tried to pluck it from its bush, you've noticed that those things are sharp! This is why, for many designs, the use of thorns goes very well for tattoos that are done in Blackwork style. It's also great for gothic tattoos, religious Traditional, or demonic dark art.
If you're trying to make a statement, or would like a piece packed with tons of meaning, thorns are a good way to go. And although Berly Boy's piece "Life is pain" above may be snarky, funny and just a bit clever...it's also super true. Especially, obviously, when it comes to getting inked. These little babies will hurt more than a thorn scratch but we promise it's worth it.
Many people who want a tattoo say that the main thing that deters them is the pain. Of course, there is physical pain, like what these clients felt when receiving their thorn tattoos, and then there is emotional pain...but believe it or not, the way to deal with both is exactly the same. Buddhism teaches Four Noble Truths, all having to do with suffering...what it is, why it's there, and what to do about it. Part of the "cure" is meditation: being in the moment, and realizing that everything is temporary...including your pain. Trying to escape from it will only cause you more pain as you grasp at the idea of release...whereas embracing that pain will help you feel at peace through acknowledgement of actual experience.
So, what does this mean for you and what does this have to do with thorn tattoos? That depends on perspective. Next time you get a tattoo, try completely acknowledging that the pain is temporary...and that, on top of that, afterwards you will hopefully have a piece that you will admire for a lifetime. Sometimes it's the same as life, isn't it? Nietzsche said about man: “What does not kill him makes him stronger.” We believe there is definitely some beauty in that. Beauty in strength, just like the rose with its thorns.
If you're looking for more inspiration, or thorn tattoos just are't your thing, make sure to check out our extensive archive for thousands upon thousands of more images. Once you feel like you know what you want, you can then book with an artist through our app or on the site. We have tons of studios and tattooists who are waiting to make your dream tattoo come true