Why are dolphins so popular with humans? More than likely it is their close affinity to our own species. They are highly intelligent and their gentle nature makes dolphins a revered symbol of our passion for, and fascination with, sea creatures.
In fact, mariners of old regarded dolphins as guides offering protection and assistance to those spending time on the high seas. The ancient Greeks deemed them messengers from the gods and the Celts often depicted people riding on their backs to symbolize the unique relationship between these animals and humans. Even European heraldry incorporates dolphins; they represent salvation, diligence, love, and charity in a coat of arms.
Photo by “Fabi Dorighello” on Flickr
When selecting a dolphin for a tattoo, try to tie into the thread of another theme important in your life. You could use a realistic dolphin to portray a favorite location or experience. A copy of your ancestor’s family crest might include this animal. Dolphins can also be depicted in a tribal style; Eskimos often use them in their carvings and artwork. It is easy to incorporate one dolphin or a whole school into the tattoo design depending on where it is located.
Photo by “Binkle 28″ on Flickr
Dolphin tattoos can be whimsical, as well. They can look like the ultimate party animal in sunglasses and holding a drink in their flipper; place him atop a surfboard and the dolphin becomes even more anamorphic. Add a busty mermaid riding his back to combine a love of the sea with appreciation for a most legendary character.
Photo by “popofatticus” on Flickr
Whether you choose the artwork to be realistic or cartoon-like, the dolphin is easily recognized as a beloved symbol of intelligence and guardian of the water.