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  • Mandira Antar

Tattoo symbols-The elephant

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Animal tattoos are really common and popular among tattoo lovers, both artists and wearers. One of the few most artistically and symbolically interesting is the Elephant.

Ancient, intelligent, patient and strong, the elephant is a prehistoric creature (it comes from the mammoth) with magnificent characteristics and of immense symbolic and religious significance.

The word “elephant” comes from the Greek word “elephas” which means “ivory
The world elephant day is in the 12th of August
Baby Elephant tattoo design by Mandira Antar

Elephant Myths and cultures

People always regarded the elephant as wise, kind, strong, pure and loving.

It is true that humans and elephants have some extraordinary similarities that are rarely present in other wild mammals. The capability of experiencing emotions as grief, the splendid memory, the loyalty, the intelligence, the communication in, and protection of their herd are some “human” characteristics of this enormous animal.

Both in Asia and Africa – where elephants inhabit - there are countless myths narrating about elephants supporting earth, elephants of the clouds (Airaavatha) carrying Gods , Elephant headed gods and goddesses, white elephants, elephants that used to be humans or humans that used to be elephants, elephants that judge and punish adultery, re-incarnated old wise chiefs and many more…

“Indra (alias Sakra) and Shachi riding the five-headed Divine Elephant Airaavatha, Folio from a Jain text, Panch Kalyanaka (Five Auspicious Events in the Life of Jina Rishabhanatha), circa 1670-1680, Painting in LACMA museum, originally from Amber, Rajasthan”

In Sicily they consider the elephant the animal of sorcery and magic.

In India the God Ganesha ( the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati), one of the most beloved ones in Hinduism, has an elephant head. “Ga” symbolizes Buddhi (intellect) and “Na” symbolizes Vijnana (wisdom). Ganesha is thus considered the master of intellect and wisdom. Ganesha removes obstacles and accepts life as it is.