Chinese calligraphy tattoos

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Cursive Chinese calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy tattoos are tattoos of Chinese characters in a calligraphic style. Today, Chinese calligraphy tattoos can be found worldwide.


Chinese calligraphy is the stylized, artistic writing of Chinese characters; the written form of Chinese that unites the languages spoken in China. Calligraphy is considered supreme among the visual arts in China and sets the standard for which Chinese painting is judged. Chinese calligraphy and painting are closely related.[1][context?]


In pre-modern China, textual tattoos were used as a punishment for criminals. Criminals would get textual tattoos on their cheeks and foreheads of the crime that they committed and would therefore have their crime on display for the rest of their lives.[2]

Chinese textual tattoos are unique and also very common today. The possession of tattoos is meant to express the concept of being in control of one's body. People also receive these tattoos because they find them aesthetically pleasing as well as empowering. Many more women than men are receiving textual tattoos, wanting to give the impression of total ownership and control over their own bodies.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yee, Chiang (2014). "Chinese Calligraphy". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ Lei, Daphne (2009). "The Blood - Stained Text in Translation: Tattooing, Bodily Writing, and Performance of Chinese Virtue". Anthropological Quarterly. 82 (1): 99–127.