Throughout history, literature, movies, and cartoons, foxes have always been depicted as sly and cunning.
However, they were also depicted as resilient and intelligent animals, so the juxtaposition between the numerous symbolisms has made a fox a rather mysterious animal, to begin with.
Because of this, many people tend to choose a fox design for their tattoo. For one reason or another, foxes have become a mainstream design choice, and the tattoos depicting foxes always look incredible.
If you’re considering getting a new tattoo, that is also meaningful and symbolic of something related and close to you, then you’re at the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore the meaning and symbolism of foxes, fox tattoos and take a look at the best fox tattoo designs for this year.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Foxes and Fox Tattoos – Meaning and Symbolism
Foxes Throughout Cultural History
When we talk about fixes and their cultural meaning and symbolism throughout history, it is important not to generalize. Not every culture and society has seen foxes as cunning or sly, even though this symbolism is the more prevalent one when it comes to these wonderful animals.
For example, in Classic Antiquity, foxes were a major part of didactic fables. A fox would symbolize the appearance of wisdom and intelligence, but also cunningness. However, in these fables, the aspect of cunningness wasn’t purely negative; it was also seen as a positive trait. Nevertheless, didactically, the fables did warn against a fox’s cunning tricks and ability to deceive.
A similar interpretation of a fox could be found in Celtic culture. Celtic people and their mythology feature foxes as a symbol of cunningness, which was more like a form of intelligence and resilience rather than a negative trait. Foxes were also seen as being able to easily escape and overcomes obstacles due to their intelligence and wisdom.
During the Medieval period, foxes were still attached to the traditional cunning interpretation. Such interpretation was sealed with the work of Geoffrey Chaucer and his ‘The Nun’s Priest Tale’, where the fox is seen as a master deceiver.
However, during the Early Modern period, thanks to Machiavelli, foxes were presented as cunning, where such a trait has only a positive connotation. Machiavelli thought that people can learn a lot from foxes and their ‘cunning nature’; this is what he thought people need in order to become successful. Generally, foxes were seen as smart, intelligent, resilient, wise, and cautious.
Nowadays, foxes are not seen as animals to be distrusted. They are more surrounded by the mystery and flattery of what we think foxes are. They are appreciated for their cleverness and wisdom, as well as their beauty and ability to connect to humans, like dogs or cats.
So, What Do Fox Tattoos Symbolize?
From the previous paragraphs, we can draw a possible conclusion on what fox tattoos might actually symbolize.
If a person gets a fox tattoo, they either appreciate this animal’s character or beauty.
The positive fox tattoo symbolism would be;
- Ability to overcome obstacles
- Charm and beauty
- Commitment and fidelity
However, we cannot simply forget the negative traits assigned to foxes. Therefore, the negative fox tattoo symbolism would be;
In regards to tattoos, we have noticed that some types of tattoos feature a peculiar fox design, to emphasize a positive or negative connotation and symbolism. For example;
- If the fox’s tail is exaggerated or emphasized, it symbolizes intelligence and wisdom
- If the fox’s snout is centralized and emphasized, then it symbolizes curiosity
- If the fox is depicted with a cynical grin on the face, or the expression is cunning, then it symbolizes trickery
- If the fox is laying, and the body is curled up, then it symbolizes vulnerability and fragility
- If the fox’s eyes are narrowed, then it symbolizes caution, distrust, and ingenuity
The Best Fox Tattoo Designs for 2021
Floral Fox Tattoo
A fox surrounded by flowers is a surely feminine design. And, we do have to say that the majority of the fox tattoo designs are intended for females rather than males. A floral fox tattoo emphasizes the beauty and vulnerability of this animal, as well as the ethereal and mysterious energy of a fox.
The floral fox tattoo can be colored, of course, but in the majority of cases, it is done in a black & grey style. When done like that, the fox appears almost like a cartoon or drawn character in a didactic fairytale, which further emphasized the idea of mystery and ethereal.
The best placement recommendation for such a tattoo is the forearm and bicep area. The tattoo can also expand into the shoulder and upper back area for a more dramatic appearance.
Japanese Fox Tattoo (Kitsune Tattoo)
Kitsune is a Japanese word for fox. Japanese fox tattoos are part of the traditional interpretations and rich history of tattooing. In ancient Japan, foxes were seen as these immortal, mystical creatures and messenger of the gods. This interpretation is especially related to the beliefs of Shintoism.
Kitsune or Japanese fox tattoos are traditionally very bold in both design, execution, and color. They’re rather eye-catching and bigger in size than the regular fox tattoos. They can be done in different styles as well. Some Kitsune tattoos feature a Kitsune mask, or a mask depicting a fox’s face. Other tattoos simply depict a fox done in a traditional Japanese tattoo style.
The best placement for a Kitsune tattoo area surely the forearm, the bicep area, upper back area, or upper thigh area. For the more daring ones among us, we’d recommend the chest as a good placement choice as well.
Nine-Tail Fox Tattoo
Originating from ancient Chinese legends, the nine-tailed fox is an iconic and globally-known depiction of a fox. It is believed that a fox can grow a new tail every 100 years. Each tail is filled with power and wisdom, which makes the fox an incredible beast with each new tail it grows.
Generally, in Chinese tradition, the nine-tail fox is a symbol of prosperity and peace, not only in China but the whole world. But, beyond this initial meaning and symbolism, the nin-tail fox also symbolizes a good marriage, love, an abundance of children and grandchildren, and general happiness in life.
The best placement for a nine-tail fox tattoo are surely the larger body areas, like the back, thigh, chest, abdomen/rib area, etc. The reason for this is because this design requires space to properly depict the nine tails. However, you can always opt for a smaller version of this design if you’re looking for a more subtle and easy-to-cover placement.
The Curled Fox Tattoo
A curled fox is probably one of the sweetest, cutest things ever. A tattoo depicting a curled fox symbolizes all of its vulnerability and fragility. It shows that a fox is much more than cunningness, slyness, and other negative connotations. It is just a cute little furry friend of nature, that wants to stay warm and feel safe like any of us. Such a tattoo shows that there are humility and fragility in even the most negatively deems creatures.
Geometric Fox Tattoo
Geometric tattoos of any kind aren’t known as the ones carrying some deep meaning and symbolism. However, they can certainly tell a lot about the person with the tattoo. The combination of a fox and geometric, straight, and detailed lines and patterns show that the person is detail-oriented, peculiar about the order, and finds it in nature and animals like foxes.
Foxes are known to be a big part of the order in nature. Moreover, their appearance, lines, body shape, and behavior are also in incredible order and quite detailed. So, the combination of these two isn’t as peculiar as one may think. Geometric tattoos are also incredibly artistic and creative and look good on anyone.
Naturalistic Fox Tattoo
With a naturalistic, real-life-inspired tattoo, the focus is always on the beauty and the energy of a fox. There no better way to depict this incredible animal than by going for a design that showcases its true beauty, without any kind of exaggeration.
A naturalistic fox tattoo features soft lines, natural colors (characteristic of a standard fox fur), neutral expression, and some additional elements from nature, like flowers, water, moon, etc.
Some of the naturalistic designs are often done in a form of a painting, as the colors and lines sometimes seem done with water coloring technique. Other designs are done using soft linework to depict the real-life fox shape and fur.
Simple/Minimal Fox Tattoo
If you’re a fan of simple and minimal artistic expression, then you should like our recommendation to get a minimal fox tattoo. Minimal tattoos are a great way to convey your creativity and love of this wonderful animal, without going overboard with a bold, huge and colorful design.
The message and the symbolism can all be conveyed through a few lines and a bit of shading. There is no need to do an overwhelming design if it doesn’t fit its purpose or your own style
Red Fox Tattoo
The red fox is the most popular fox species. It is well known for its incredibly beautiful fur and kind nature. Because of its behavior and lush appearance, the red fox often symbolizes seductiveness and femininity. The luxurious fur and fluffy, full tail make the red fox a breathtaking sight for anyone.
Because of the symbolism, the red fox tattoos are very popular among the female members of the tattoo community. To emphasize the symbolism of seductiveness and powerful femininity, the red fox tattoos put a special emphasis on the color, the fur, and the tail.
In regards to placement, you will want your red fox tattoo to be seen. So, we’d recommend areas like the forearm, thigh area, ankle area, upper back or back of the neck area, etc. Depending on the size of the design, you can place this tattoo wherever you want at the end of the day.