Floral tattoos never go out of style. They are a fantastic way to mix feminine elegance with a bold attitude. One of the most popular tattoos around is the peony. It can be used as a filler to larger pieces, weaved in other designs or as a standalone piece.
50+ Best Peony Tattoo Design Ideas
Peony flowers are large, flamboyant blooms that stand out in gardens. Peonies come in a range of colors ranging from coral and pink, yellow and purples, reds and even greens. Many cultures love peonies, which means they are used in different styles and have different means around the world.
So why are peonies so popular in tattoos and what do they mean?
Dragon Peony Tattoo
In Japanese tattoo traditional, the peony takes on a whole new meaning when paired alongside a dragon. The peony on its own represents masculinity and bravery. When tattooed alongside a dragon, it brings a delicate balance. This tattoo is an ideal representation of the concept of strength without grave doesn’t accomplish much.
Japanese Peony Tattoo
Peonies are commonly found in Japanese design because the flower has great significant in their culture. Traditionally, these designs come in black and red, shades that symbolize mourning, strong emotions, and prosperity. Japanese tattoos of peonies are masculine and protective, often incorporated into other designs like skulls, snaked and dragons.
Did you know:
Traditionally, Japanese tattooing is characterised by its boldness. It often uses high contrast, strong line work and complimentary backgrounds to deliver dynamic pieces.
Small Peony Tattoo
Tattoos don’t have to be big and bold. Not everyone is brave enough or has the right lifestyle to get a big piece. It has never been cooler to get a little delicate floral tattoo on a hidden spot. Fingers, ankles, wrists, and hips are some of the most popular areas to get a delicate little inking.
Peony Sleeve Tattoo
The attitude towards tattoos is changing in society. This means you can get full sleeve tattoos without being judged by society of fearful of losing your job. Peonies are very commonly incorporated into other designs, adding a softness to the design. Japanese and Chinese themed tattoos usually have peonies weaved in between snakes and dragons.
Peony Shoulder Tattoo
The full teacup shape of peonies makes them an ideal tattoo for the shoulder. The peony design could fit exactly the shoulder, go down the back or as the top to an arm piece. This area is ideal if you want a big piece as it’s an expansive space.
Did you know:
The outer part of your shoulders has thick skin with few nerve endings, making it one of the least painful places to get inked. The pain may depend on how bony your shoulder is and the exact location.
Peony Hand Tattoo
Flower tattoos are an American traditional favorite. Many of us have seen the iconic red rose inked on the back of the hand, but the peony works just as well. The shape makes it an ideal choice for the back of the hand. Some people get one hand, but getting mirror images on both is generally more popular.
Did you know:
Because the skin on the hand is thin, it is one of the most painful locations to get inked. Any tattoo artist will recommend only getting this area if you are experienced and have a decent pain threshold.
Peony Neck Tattoo
A neck tattoo is perfect if you’re not afraid to stand out. It’s a bold and risky placement, but is sure to make an impact. Keep in mind that this placement can be relatively tricky to hide; it’s also one of the more painful placements.
Read More: 70+ Coolest Neck Tattoos for Women in 2023
Peony Back Tattoo
Back tattoos are popular because they are flat, expansive spaces that allow you to go wild with design. If you want a big design with lots of detail and color, the back is the ideal spot. Back tattoos can be small and center or span the whole area from neck to bottom. Back tattoos are also easy to hide if your work doesn’t approve of tattoos.
Peony Leg Tattoo
A leg is a large space that is ideal for large peony tattoo designs. The mostly flat space allows an artist to get lots of color and detail into the piece. The thighs and calves are popular because they can handle large designs and don’t hurt too badly to tattoo.
Read More: 30+ Sexiest Thigh Tattoo Designs For Girls
Peony Rib Tattoo
Ribcage tattoos are very popular with women, as it highlights the body, showing off their natural form. Peony ribcage tattoos can span the whole sternum or can be placed discreetly on the side. Be warned, ribcage tattoos can be painful for beginners.
Pink Peony Tattoo
Pink peonies are what we think of when we imagine a bush of peonies. Pink peonies are incredibly romantic, often used in wedding bouquets. Get a pink peony tattoo to celebrate romance, an anniversary or as a tribute. Peonies come in lots of pink tones for you to choose for.
Did you know:
Pink varieties of peonies include Big Ben peonies, Myrtle Gentry peonies, Gay Paree peonies, Do Tell peonies, Angel Cheeks peonies, Blaze peonies, Bowl of Beauty peonies, and Fairy’s Petticoat peonies.
Realistic Peony Tattoo
It is fun to play with different interpretations and artwork styles, but peonies are beautiful all on their own. A realistic peony tattoo will pay homage to the natural beauty of the flower. We recommend seeking out a tattoo artist who specializes in realism, so you can get exactly the tattoo you want!
American Traditional Peony Tattoo
American traditional tattoos are bold and somewhat masculine, which makes an interesting contrast to the peony. American traditional designs can be as small or as bold as you want. Create an eye-catching old school peony tattoo design.
Fine Line Peony Tattoos
Fine line tattooing consists of distinctly thin lines, with no gradations in shade or color. This delicate tattoo manages to have color, shading and texture without being too loud or bold. These tattoos are ideal for first-timers or for those who want a small yet detailed inking.
Color Peony Tattoos
Peonies are so naturally vibrant; it may seem a waste to not embrace the natural color. Available in a range of shades that cover, pink, reds and yellows, embrace the colour. Many people will incorporate one of two colors, to add a pop and dimension to a piece.
Did you know:
Inks that are not black are a little more expensive. Color tattoos are usually more expensive because they take longer. Color fills in space and needs to be saturated, which is a longer, more detailed process.
Black and Gray Peony Tattoo
Black and gray peony tattoos are the perfect way to focus on the shape and delicate details of your design without the color becoming a distraction. Black and gray tattoos are versatile and suit all areas of the body.
Black Work Peony
Don’t want color but still want a bold tattoo? Try bold work tattoos which feature large sections of deeply saturated black ink. The black ink is contrasted with negative-space or skin breaks, where your skin becomes part of the tattoo design. Peony designs are multi dimensional, so they suit this style well.
Peony and Skull Tattoo
Flowers and skulls tattooed have been a popular combination for many years. The mix of life and death can be a good reminder to live every day as if it’s your last. Some people like them because they look cool, the darker symbolism contrasting the more feminine floral design.
Watercolor Peony Tattoos
Watercolor tattoos are one of the coolest trends in the industry. Watercolor designs use light outlines and bold splashes of color to create a bold design. Because peonies are naturally so bright, they take well to this modern tattoo style.
Peonies and Snake Tattoos
Peonies and snakes are very commonly found together in Chinese or Japanese-themed tattoos. They both represent procreation on a larger scale. They can both be a symbol of the natural life-end-renewal cycle. Asides from the sacred symbology, these designs weave attractively into each other.
Peony Flower Tattoo Meaning
Every flower has a meaning, and it’s no difference with peonies. Native to Asia and Europe, many different mythologies and folklores have stories about these majestic flowers. Here are some meanings behind peonies.
Peonies in European Mythology
According to myth, peonies were the only flower to be cultivated in the Olympus of the Gods, so it has always been associated with immortality and to perfection. Other stories say the Greek god of medicine, Paeon, was transformed into a peony flower by Zeus to save him from other rival gods.
Did you know:
Peony is a name of Greek origin, meaning “praise giving”.
Another story says that Apollo did not like his sister Diana, the goddess of the moon and huntress. He challenged her to hit a figure walking on the horizon. This figure turns out to be her beloved, who she kills with a single shot. Where her tears fell, peonies were born, meaning peonies often symbolize mourning.
In some mythological stories, shy nymphs hid their nakedness amongst petals of peonies. This is why, in some cultures, peonies are a symbol of shame or shyness.
The Romans treated more than 20 diseases with peonies. It was known as blessed grass because it had magical and miraculous powers, which could protect the crop, shepherds, and their flocks from witches, demons, and storms.
During the European Middle Ages, the peony was used to keep away evil spirits and to cure jaundice, gallstones, teething pains, seizures and snake bites. Peony seeds were used to avoid bad dreams, as well to cure stomach pains.
Shrub peonies didn’t arrive in Europe until the late 18th century, imported for the London royal gardens, Kew Gardens. In the Victorian era, the flower symbolized shyness and represented both a peaceful life and a happy marriage. A bush of peonies in full bloom is still believed to bring good luck.
Did you know:
If your leaves of your peony tree dry up and the flowers fade, disaster could be coming.
Europeans also nicknamed these elegant flowers rose without thorns. It became a symbol of romance and love, even being used to celebrate the 12th wedding anniversary. Peonies are often tattooed, painted or planted to represent honor, value, wealth and the love between two strangers.
Peonies in the Orient
Peonies were highly regarded in ancient China. Emperors depicted it on precious porcelain, so it came to represent nobility, honour, and wealth. In 1903, the Qing dynasty declared the peony to be the state flower.
In Chinese legends, there is a story of Gejin, a peony spirit who came to Earth because she has fallen for a human. Worried that her husband would be angry to discover she was not earthly, she left behind two peonies tress. Another tale talks about an impartial Empress who was angry that her peonies would not bloom. She banished the flower to the coldest corner of the empire; however, the bloom survived the cold temperature. She was so impressed she planted them in her garden.
Did you know:
Peonies may look delicate, but they have strong roots which thrive underground in the cold winter months. Peonies come back every Spring, sometimes outliving humans!
According to the traditional Chinese meaning of the complementarity of opposites, the peony has a positive influence on both women and men, allowing them to live together in harmony. A painting depicting Chinese peonies, or a vase of the bloom should be placed in the Southwest of your bedroom to attract the ideal partner or maintain a happy energy. Get a peony tattoo could also create good Feng Shui.
Among the Chinese depictions of the seasons, the peony represents the late spring-early summer, along with the lotus, plum blossoms, chrysanthemums, and becomes a metaphor for female beauty and fertility. Vibrant and lively plant, full of stunning flowers and leaves, it is often depicted in oriental art amongst other plants and birds. Although it can represent female beauty and reproduction, it can also mean shame and timidity.
Did you know:
Peonies are used in decorating for Chinese New Year festivities and symbolize abundance, prosperity and honor.
Peonies are widely used in Chinese and Japanese tattoos. The illustrations of Utagawa Kuniyoshi inspire many artists’ tattoo style, in particular the prints of the series “The 108 heroes of Suikoden“. The outlaws of tale fought against the injustice of the corrupt authorities and were covered with illustrative tattoos of peonies, lions, tigers, koi carps and dragons. Peonies have often come to symbolize masculine power and rebellion.
Peony Tattoos: More FAQ
Which Celebrities Have Peony Tattoos?
Singer Julia Michaels has a large peony flower tattoo on the back of her left forearm. Asia Argento has a peony inked on her inner thighs. It was tattooed by Akilla, a Tokyo-based artist who specializes in traditional Japanese style tattoos.
Ashlee Simpson has a bright peony flower on her wrist. It covers up a father she previously had inked in the spot. Comedian Margaret Cho has many tattoos on her because her name means peony in Korean. The most noticeable are the large purple inking on the left side of her chest and the pink and orange peony on her right upper arm.
What Color Should My Peony Tattoo Be?
Every color caries a different energy and meaning, which is why it’s important to understand the shade you choose to get tattooed on you.
- The white peony flower symbolizes feminine purity. The color radiates positive energy, freshness and freedom.
- The red peony represents respect, wealth, honor, and prosperity. Red peonies are usually gifted to those who want to form strong bonds out of respect.
Did you know:
Red as a colour is the symbol for erotic femininity.
- Two pink peonies are an energetic catalyst. The bloom improves love and promotes romance. Shyness, uniqueness, innocence, and femininity are all other things the pink peony symbolizes. This color inspires relaxation, peace and can bring our calmness in a character. Get a pink peony inking to promote mental peace and positivity.
- Yellow peonies are tattoos for good luck and a positive life force, energy and new beginning. The flower in this color also represents carefree youth. In a negative sense, it represents anger, the desire for revenge.