Tattoo Concept #2

Yun_Shouping,_Peonies.jpg
 
 

General Concept: Floral black-line tattoo featuring a mix of (some) healthy and wilting peonies and a snake woven between the flowers. 

In Chinese culture, peonies are referred to as "king of the flowers" and represent wealth, honor, royalty, and beauty--which are all markers of success in the eyes of society. But what happens when all of that success is stripped away? Who are we, and how do we define ourselves? What else do we have to hold on to when we are no longer wealthy and the aging process inevitably brings us further away from the beauty ideals that are imposed onto us? The wilting flowers represent ego death, an experience that allows us to let go of the expectations of others and ourselves and allows us to exist in our own truths.  Ego death allows us to see ourselves for who we are, humbles us, and gives us room to love ourselves for who we are, and eventually learn to see and love others for who they are as well.

Snakes, on the other hand, have a lot of contrasting symbolism. In Catholicism, the religion I grew up with (but no longer identify with), they are seen as a symbol for the devil. In Chinese culture, they are a symbol for good luck and the earth. In Philippine mythology, snakes are the gatekeepers of hell. In Japanese culture, snakes are a symbol of good health and feminine attributes. The snake in this piece represents duality and conflict, and overall human flaw, which will always exist. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing, although the idea of snakes are often brought up with a negative connotation. Snakes are also beautiful in their own way, just like suffering can be. (They’re also cute as hell tbh)

Some references:
(Click to enlarge photo)