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The Lotus the Carp and the Dragon

Updated on January 26, 2013

The transformation from lotus to Koi to Dragon is the subject of this traditional Japanese design

Lotus Tattoos have been popular for centuries

The lotus, as a tattoo design, is simple yet elegant and remains as popular, today, as it has been throughout its very long history. In ancient Japan it was believed that the Lotus Gave birth to the Magnificent Koi Carp that populate the beautiful waterways featured in Japanese Art and revered by the Shinto religion.

Lotus

The lotus is emblematic of serenity and beauty. Yogis meditate in 'lotus position'. Lotus are often placed either side of the Buddha's statue during Buddhist meditation. It is a symbol of earthly perfection. Not surprisingly this attractive symbol is often used as a tattoo.

Samurai revered the koi carp because they admired the way it appeared to go to its death stoically
Samurai revered the koi carp because they admired the way it appeared to go to its death stoically | Source
When you look at the center of this Lotus it is easy to see how so many myths grew up around it.
When you look at the center of this Lotus it is easy to see how so many myths grew up around it.

The Carp

The Carp or 'Koi' is a central image of 'Bushido' the rigid 'Samurai' code of of Japanese tradition, These ancient warriors revered the carp because of its courage. It appeared to them as if the fish when caught went to it's death on the chopping board with a stoical indifference. They often had huge embodiments of the koi tattooed onto their bodies. This form of 'talismanic magic' is common to many warrior traditions and is the foundation of more than one tattoo tradition.

The Waterfall

Waterfalls have always been a part of Japanese myth. Meditation beneath the pounding waters is supposed to strengthen and purify a warriors spirit. There are many beautiful waterfalls in Japan and artists have featured them in their work for centuries. Koi were said to swim upstream throughout their long life and their destination was believed to be these waterfalls

In the Shinto religion accents in nature such as waterfalls are regarded as shrines

Dragons

When a Koi succeeded in reaching the top of a waterfall it would be transformed into a dragon. This metaphysical view of the life-cycle of these three beautiful and fortunate symbols has spawned one of the most dramatic and beautiful tattoo designs ever created

In Japan, as in most of the Orient, dragons are regarded as creatures of great power and magic. Here their similarity to their western counterparts ends. In the East dragons are symbols of wisdom and good fortune. Not the sly and greedy destroyers of western tales.

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    • profile image

      Ryan 

      6 years ago

      I have a lotus and a koi on my arm, and I'm going to get a full sleeve waterfall around it and a dragon on the top this webpage has gave me the ideas Thankyou !

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Beautiful hub. I linked it with my hub: Whispers of Truth.

    • profile image

      Dave 

      9 years ago

      Hey, I am just wondering, is the transformation to the dragon instant?

    • organized living profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrian Walker 

      9 years ago from Magnolia, AR

      The artist for the large koi was Bazic Tatouages, France

    • organized living profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrian Walker 

      9 years ago from Magnolia, AR

      thanks for the kind words sabatatdragon. sorry i havn't got the information on the artist right now. My main 'puter is mothballed due to moving and we've got construction pending in our new home once it's up and running i'll drop you a line.

    • profile image

      sabatatdragon 

      9 years ago

      Very nice site, I very much liked the picture of the tattoo of the koi. Very Nice !!!

      May I ask who was the artist? You can reach me at Sabatatdragon@yahoo.com.

      Nice chatting with you. Take Care.

    • organized living profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrian Walker 

      10 years ago from Magnolia, AR

      Well thanks for taking a look. What's the significance of the ivy tattoo. You don't have to answer if its too personal but I'm always interested in how people use symbols in tattoos.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      10 years ago

      Very cool tattoos! My ivy tattoo looks pretty lame compared to the ones in this hub.

    • organized living profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrian Walker 

      10 years ago from Magnolia, AR

      No I didn't make them they are my favorite design though. Did You check out the link to Gaia Ink that is the Tattoo design site I've put together. There are more quality pictures there.

      http://adrian.marketingwizard.walker.googlepages.c...

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Those are awesome tattoos, did you make them? These are the type of tattos I like most instead of arbitrary and meaningless names designs.

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