Male or female, chest tattoos provide a popular way to show off your favorite body art. This larger canvas area means that you can display much more than could be inked elsewhere.
About Chest Tattoos
When you want a design the requires a larger body canvas, the chest is a terrific location to consider. You can show off your artwork whenever you think the time is right, but chest tats can also be covered by shirts and other pieces of clothing - a fact that is often taken advantage of in Japanese full body tattoos known as horimono.
Cultural Chest Tats
In Japan, tattoos are far less common than they are in the United States or in portions of Europe. Originally associated with the yakuza, or Japanese mob, the full body tattoos in the style known as horimono often cover most of the chest. These chest tattoos are unique because the tattoo artists usually do not cover the center of the chest. Leaving a center strip bare in horimono means that men (women are not recipients of this sort of full body tattoo) can partially unbutton their shirts and not show off their tattoos.
The Maori are also known to tattoo their chests in a cultural/ritualistic way. This tribe is most commonly known for the tattoos that adorn their faces and heads, but these swirled, hand-tattooed symbols can also extend down the neck and onto the chest.
Women's Chest Tats
While most chest tattoos are found on men - it's easy to picture large tattoos of ships, religious tattoos and other intricate designs - women also get this part of their body inked. The breasts are a popular canvas for many women, and small tattoos are often seen adorning the cleavage of women from all walks of life. This sort of tattoo is very easily covered, especially in women, who don't tend to go shirtless. Tattoos on a woman's chest can also be very sensual for their partners. The relatively private nature of chest tats on women means that images can be inked here that a woman may not want elsewhere - popular themes for tattoos on women's chests include names, hearts, flowers, butterflies and other feminine images.
Men's Chest Tats
Men who choose to get their tattoos on their chests are usually looking for a large spot to display an intricate image. One of the most popular and old school pictures that can be inked on a man's chest is a ship. Usually depicted as an old time schooner or pirate ship, these tattoos are much larger than you would typically find on other parts of the body. Many sailor tattoos were inked on the chest, including nautical stars, anchors, and swallows - all of which have their own meaning.
Other popular images include portrait tattoos, hearts (something a man may not want to display on a more visible part of their body) and lettering/words that mean something to the wearer.
Chest Ink Ideas
The larger skin canvas of the chest means that you have far more options of for chest tattoo designs. Let your imagination go wild! Remember that you can always add onto existing tattoos, so if you choose to get your chest inked with a small image you can expand it later. Here are some sites and resources to get you started.
- EvilTattoo.com has dozens of images of chest tats for both men and women.
- TattooArtists.com also has some great pics of chest ink, including some interesting ideas such as a representation of the human heart.
- Google Images also has a surprisingly great collection of chest tattoo images that are sure to inspire you.