Arrow Tattoos Have a Deep Historical past—Here is What the Image Means


arrow tattoo

Arrow tattoos are a standard design alternative, and for good purpose: They’re extremely customizable. As a result of an arrow might be inked in any measurement and on nearly nearly any a part of the physique, the chances for making an arrow tattoo distinctive are countless. And that customization side goes past the bodily elements of your design; arrow tattoos have a variety of inherent that means. Tattoos started as a technique to completely memorialize private parts of 1’s life with significant symbols, and the arrow has turn out to be a preferred design alternative. Representing all the pieces from friendship to conflict, an arrow tattoo will make a robust and significant assertion—whether or not it holds particular person that means for you or not.

The place Do Arrow Tattoos Come From?

Because the arrow belongs to a variety of cultures, there are various completely different locations that the arrow tattoo may have originated from. Many tattoo artists contemplate American Indigenous peoples because the probably beginnings, because the arrow was such an integral software of life. The most typical affiliation with the arrow is its use as a software for looking and safety. And whereas it was naturally thought of a software of conflict as a result of its standing as a weapon, the arrow was additionally an emblem of peace and different philosophical concepts.

“One of many strongest and longest-lasting associations is discovered amongst Native People,” reads Trent Aitken-Smith’s The Tattoo Dictionary, a e book chronicling the that means of frequent tattoos. “For these peoples, the arrow was a vastly essential image that fairly actually meant life―it was the software they used to hunt for meals to feed their households, in addition to the weapon they used to guard them. It was an emblem of conflict in addition to peace. Inside Native American cultures, the signal of two crossed arrows is used to symbolize an alliance, whereas an arrow damaged in two is an indication of peace.”

Particular designs even correspond to particular tribal traditions. A bundle of arrows, for instance, initially represented one of many 5 founding tribes of the Canadian Iroquois League—and together with it energy and unity. In another cultures, a downward arrow may symbolize peace.

One other robust contender for the popularizer behind arrow tattoos is the American Conventional type, which depends on daring symbols—and one in every of its most well-known designs is the center with an arrow by way of it. Sailors (and later all army service members) would get arrow-and-heart designs as a method of retaining family members shut when touring far for deployment. This sort of tattoo is a stereotypical design—as in, somebody who is aware of nothing about tattoos may in all probability cite it—so even when the design didn’t originate from American Conventional artists, it nonetheless served to popularize it in some regard.

What Do Arrow Tattoos Imply?

Battle and Triumph

Arrow tattoos naturally symbolize the concepts of battle and triumph because of its use as a software and weapon. A design that options an arrow being pulled again on a bow represents pressure, battle, or life battle. Then again, an arrow resting on a bow could as an alternative symbolize the achievement of peace and calm. One other design concept that symbolizes battle is 2 arrows pointing away from one another—a illustration of conflict or battle.

Then again, an arrow tattoo with a feather represents conquer that life battle or battle, in addition to liberty and independence. Whether or not poised or relaxed, arrow tattoos typically symbolize the thought of battle and victory.

Shifting Ahead

Since an arrow can solely go ahead when it’s shot, the design is commonly a illustration of transferring ahead, both bodily or from one thing. An arrow being launched from a bow, for instance, is actually “transferring” ahead, however it additionally stands for constructive life transitions. A compass arrow tattoo represents going ahead in a brand new course or beginning a brand new chapter in life. One other frequent design alternative is a diamond arrow, which symbolizes having the energy to maneuver on because of the gem’s status as one of many hardest supplies on this planet.


Any design that options multiple arrow usually is known to symbolize one thing relationship-based, since there are two folks in a standard relationship. If the arrows are crossed within the tattoo design, it may symbolize two very contrasting concepts: difficult lovers or friendship. Nonetheless, a cupid arrow—which is both an arrow piercing by way of a coronary heart or an arrow positioned on a cherub’s bow—symbolizes romance and need, as being hit with Cupid’s arrow means you’ve fallen in love.


In distinction to arrows being a software of conflict, they’re additionally an emblem of peace. A damaged arrow represents the thought of burying the hatchet, or placing apart a quarrel for the higher good—whether or not that be the self or an exterior factor. A single arrow by itself additionally stands for defense in opposition to hurt or peace, although extra in a person, private sense.

No matter what your objective could also be for getting an arrow tattoo, it’s assured to be wealthy with that means—each private and historic. When you’re undecided what sort of arrow tattoo would finest symbolize you, listed here are a couple of concepts to encourage you.

  • What does an arrow tattoo symbolize?

    An arrow can signify a variety of issues, from energy and relationships to transferring ahead. There are a number of arrow designs, too, so you’ll be able to go for artwork that the majority resonates with you.

  • Which method ought to an arrow tattoo level?

    An arrow tattoo can level in any course you select, and can doubtless be depending on the design itself.

  • How costly is an arrow tattoo?

    Tattoo value can differ broadly, and relies upon largely on the dimensions, element, and price for the artist. Count on to spend between $50 and $200 (relying on location) on a fundamental, no-color arrow tattoo.

  • How lengthy does it take to get an arrow tattoo?

    Like value, the time required of a tattoo varies broadly. A quite simple, all-black arrow doubtless will not take longer than an hour.

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