20 Perfect Peony Tattoos for a Pop of Floral Ink

Joe Osborne | Jan 14, 2020 Beauty & Style
20 Perfect Peony Tattoos for a Pop of Floral Ink

Full Peony Tattoo
cammiyu/Instagram

Not only is the peony thought to be one of the most gorgeous flowers in the world, but also it's one that is seen throughout in Asian cultures, particularly China. The peony is a traditional floral symbol in the country, though not officially. This is also the state flower of Indiana, oddly enough, and it has some meaning in Serbian folklore. Finally, likely the biggest reason we see the proliferation of the peony in tattoos today is because of Japanese tattoo artists taking inspiration from Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi's illustrations of events and characters in Suikoden (The Water Margin), a classical Chinese novel. Sometime after their appearance, peonies somehow became a symbol of masculinity in the region, which is why they feature in so many full back and full sleeve Japanese-style tattoos.

So, it should come as no surprise that we were spoiled for choice when it came to finding peony tattoos on Instagram. In fact, we found that the peony itself led to a surprising consistency of quality in the tattoos we discovered, for whatever reason. We have no idea what the corollary is there, but ultimately it simply means more excellent tattoos for inspiration. With that, we've found peonies in stark and strong black-and-white tattoos, vibrant watercolor tattoos, and even dark and foreboding ones that we would have never expected before embarking on this peony journey. So, for those seeking inspiration for a peony tattoo, and whether this be their first or 40th, they're bound to find something to enjoy in the below serving of pristine peony tattoos.

  • Blackout Peony

    1

    This one is a banger! This absolutely gorgeous tattoo is just stunning in terms of technique. Known as a blackout tattoo for all of the black ink used to create a different kind of canvas, this tattoo by La Fonderie Studio in France is truly inspiring -- just look at the shading detail.

  • Vintage Watercolor Peony

    2

    This is certainly an incredible tattoo in the realistic watercolor style. Inked by Hwa Ran, a traveling artist, this is one of those tattoos that we could easily see on a canvas hanging on a wall.

  • Traditional Peony 

    3

    This peony tattoo is simply stunning. The coloring and line work here by Danilo Matsubara in Brazil is expert-level, looking both artistic and stylistic as well as realistic. The traditional or Japanese tattoo style is definitely the way to go, judging by this example.

  • X-Ray Peony

    4

    This tattoo inked by Emma Flores of San Francisco, California, is what's known as an X-ray floral tattoo, which depicts the flower as if seen through an X-ray machine. The technique is executed here expertly, creating an eerie, ethereal peony piece.

  • Snakes on a Peony

    5

    What we have here is one simply stunning piece of black and white line work, that perfectly captures the ferocity of the snake as well as the beauty of the peony flower. Thanks to the tattoo artists based in Seoul at Frame for this masterpiece-level ink work.

  • Full Sleeve Peony

    6

    Thanks to a Belgian artist named Cammie Yu, we have this beauty of a full sleeve watercolor tattoo featuring nothing but red peonies. It seems to be a work in progress, with only some outlining and color done, but it's shaping up to be an absolute treasure. 

  • Poké Ball in a Peony

    7

    Come on, there's no way we could have passed this tattoo by without sharing it. This one comes from Toshy Kun Tattoo based in Lille, France, and beautifully merges the traditionalist or Japanese style with the ubiquitous Poké Ball -- it doesn't get much more clever and cool than that.

  • Crescent Moon Peony

    8

    Black Talon Tattoo of Arcadia, California, has created an incredibly celestial take on the peony, with the flowers comprising the symbolic crescent moon surrounding a black sun. This almost looks like the heraldry of an order of nights or some ancient symbol -- just super neat all around.

  • Japanese Kitsune Peony

    9

    This is a peony tattoo depicting a kitsune, or a fox in Japanese, a cultural icon in that region. It's been done in the traditional Japanese style gorgeously by Dallas Prysiazny, an artist based in Alberta, Canada. Just how cute is that mythical little fox?

  • Oni Peony

    10

    We love this tattoo for how it incorporates another Japanese cultural icon, the oni (or demon -- note the mask). Inked by a Toronto-based artist named simply Binx on Instagram, the amount of detail in this piece is staggering, especially in the woman's face and the peonies. 

  • Foxy Peony

    11

    This piece inked by Tyler Whitten of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, is brimming with color and detail. It's an exemplary piece of sketch style and line work, featuring vibrant pink peonies alongside a fox -- or kitsune, maybe.

  • Floral Deer Skull Peony

    12

    We love the whole "out on the range" vibe of this piece by an artist known as Jade in Lowestoft, England. It's an amazing example of line work and shading, absolutely chock full of detail and character. The piece also demonstrates a surprising amount of depth.

  • Peacock Peony

    13

    Artist Isobel Juliet Stevenson Morton from Birmingham, England, has created an incredibly colorful and bright tattoo here. We love the pastel coloring here as well the stunning level of detail and shading -- it's a lovely canvas of a tattoo.

  • Creepy Peony

    14

    For anyone looking to totally subvert the idea of a peony tattoo can look to this for inspiration, this is the place start. Featuring dead-looking flower petals and a literal eyeball in the center, this piece by Kirra Cottrell of Market Harborough, England, brings the creep factor in spades.

  • Minimalist Peony

    15

    We love this tattoo by an artist known simply as Candide on Instagram and based in Montpellier, France, because it looks as if it were made with just one line of ink. It captures the essence of the peony while keeping an incredible level of artistry.

  • Mandala Peony

    16

    We're surprised it took this long to come across a mandala crossed with a peony, but here we are, and it was well worth the wait. This is another amazing display of line and dot work, this time by Djo Coltrade based in France, and absolutely does justice to what could easily be a cliché.

  • Terminator Peony

    17

    Here's a take on the peony we'd never expect to see: what appears to be a T-800 -- we mean, the Terminator -- buried under a field of peonies. Inked by El Mau Calavera Tattoo in Mexico, this tattoo features an amazing amount of detail and depth, not to mention deep color.

  • Witch Cat Peony

    18

    We love this tattoo for how many things it could be. Is it that black cat from Sailor Moon, Luna? Or is it that black panther that appears to T'Challa in the spirit world in the now-famous Marvel comic book series. Regardless, it's a brilliant piece by El Mau Calavera Tattoo in Mexico.

  • Blooming Peony

    19

    Inked by a Colombian artist known simply as Esmeralda on Instagram, this is a wonderful neo-traditional piece brimming with brilliant color. We like the stark, black outlines on the flowers as well, which oddly help make it pop more against the more muted pinks and greens.

  • Pine Grosbeak Peony

    20

    We have to admit, we had no idea that this bird was known as a pine grosbeak before seeing this tattoo (and the accompanying Instagram description). Both the bird and the peony that it looks to be feeding from are inked to lovely and deep detail by Taylor Webber in Dallas, Texas.

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