Chinese Zodiac Tattoos

Like the western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac is also divided into twelve symbols. However, they do not correspond to cycles within the year nor to constellations of stars but instead to a longer cycle of twelve years.

Also like the western version, or even the Tarot, the Chinese Zodiac is used for the purposes of divination. Along with the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, earth) and the calendrical movements of the moon, the animals of Chinese astrology represent twelve personality types. In a further refinement of these personalities, the five elements can also be associated with the animal zodiac, providing for sixty possible personalities -- although only general descriptions of the twelve animals are typically used in western interpretations.

As a tattoo design choice, a symbol that represents something as immutable as a birth year is a fairly safe one. Whether Chinese astrology is part of a personal belief system or whether its animal interpretations just seem particularly apt for an individual, these types of tattoo symbols can sometimes be revelatory -- giving some glimpse into how the bearer of the tattoo may view their own personality.
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