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Gargoyle Tattoo Designs and Meanings

Updated on July 7, 2014


Gargoyle history is interesting in that it is far less flamboyant and mystical than modern-day interpretation has given it.

As to the practical side, gargoyles were nothing more than a type of a gutter, with some of the more elongated ones being shaped for that purpose so the water would be released further out from a building.

What about those figures that resemble a gargoyle but aren't used as a water spout? They are actually a different type of architecture called a grotesque; the difference being whether it is used to redirect water or not.

In spite of the very practical purpose of gargoyles, the shapes were used at times to speak to the general population of a certain qualities of the representative image, depending on what part of the world it was located in and what period of time in history it was.

Even so, the mythology has grown concerning gargoyles, and in our time they've taken on their own legend, being portrayed as living creatures with various purposes; mostly not good ones.

Gargoyle Tattoo Designs

While gargoyles were designed as a wide variety of animals and/or chimeras throughout history, most of those choosing gargoyles as a tattoo theme decide upon more of a demon-looking character as the gargoyle image, giving a nod towards the modern view of the theme.

There are occasional exceptions to that, but that's the general rule of thumb.

Most gargoyle tattoo designs have him perched on some object. It can be on the ledge of a building, top of a church, or some other high place.

Sitting Dog Gargoyle

This first gargoyle tattoo design is one that has a more traditional gargoyle look, with the animal head and body. The inclusion of the wings on the body of the dog is pretty interesting, and common for the wide variety of gargoyle types throughout history.

Also of interest is the chain attached to the gargoyle, implying there is something more to this creature than it appears.

The art work is good, with a nice combination of shadow and lighting to give it a mysterious feel.


Living Gargoyle Tattoo

With this tattoo design we have the modern version of the theme, with the gargoyle having left its perch and wandering around wreaking havoc in the world.

The raised claw is particularly cool. You get the idea it's climbing a building, using the sharp claws to penetrate into the side to use as leverage.

Of course he could have just flown with those wings, but you never know why a gargoyle is doing what it's doing.

As to the design, it's very detailed and of good quality.


Sitting Gargoyle Tattoo

Here we have a gargoyle appearing to be sitting on the ledge of a building, apparently doing its job of dispelling water to the street below.

One has to look at those wings and wonder what they are there for, and if this creature will be taking off and flying once the sun goes down.

Whether it is or not, this is a good tattoo, and I like the architecture and the way it was designed as much as the gargoyle. They blend together very well to create a compelling image.


Evil Gargoyle Tattoo

I call this an evil gargoyle tattoo because it incorporates more of the characteristics of evil than the others do.

It has the clawed hands; horns on the head; those large, pointed ears; and large feet with enormous, sharp claws.

The shadowed eyes also give him an ominous look; something you wouldn't want to run into at night, or any time for that matter. Very good tattoo.


Gargoyle Tattoo Sitting on Top of Cross on Church

Among all the gargoyle tattoo designs here, this is probably the most unusual in the way the hair of the creature itself is made, and the subject matter itself.

It appears the one is a very personal tattoo, as those usually are which include names. You never really know what the names mean unless it's explained to you by the personal with the tattoo.

Many times when you see a cross with names included, it's a reference to lost loved ones, but this one isn't quite that clear, as the church is shown as in the middle of the city rather than a graveyard near the building, which portrays that have passed away.

Whatever the personal message may be, it appears that the gargoyle is representing anger over something related to these people, and intends to do something about it.

The art is very good, and as with the others, has a nice combination of shadow and light.

Gargoyle Tattoo Designs

Gargoyle legend and lore offers some terrific subject matter to use for a tattoo design, as you can see above.

But more than that, the shapes and characteristics of gargoyles provide some awesome images to use in gargoyle designs.

Add to that portions of Gothic architecture with the design, and there are some awesome images that can be designed using gargoyles as your tattoo choice.


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    • ThruBlueEyes profile image

      ThruBlueEyes 5 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      awesome hub! Love the depth of information you give here. Keep it up :)