Chinese art has always been a symbol of elegance and beauty, but over the last decade Chinese tattoos have had an explosion in popularity. The evidence of this can be seen in nightclubs, college campuses and celebrity photos, amongst other places. But what, besides the beauty of the art, would make these tattoos so popular? The main reason is that Chinese symbolism can be used to express so much, while still remaining simple and clean.

One of the most recognizable examples of this are kanji symbols. Though kanji writing has been adopted in Japan, the Chinese style of kanji has some modest differences and a wider vocabulary. These tattoos are often seen expressing certain emotions such as love, peace and even friendship.

Another common example in Chinese tattoos is the Yin and Yang. The exact meaning of this symbol is perfect balance. Each side represents a contrast; Yin being dark, earthly and female, Yang being light, airy and male. However, there are several ways people use this symbol, there is the classic round piece to start. Then the Yin and Yang enclosed in a lotus flower, the lotus flower being a another symbol of balance, not to mention perfection and purity. You can also do a Yin and Yang eye, which represents both an internal and an external balance; or a Yin and Yang heart, which can mean a balance of emotions.

One of the more striking pieces in Chinese tattoos is the dragon. Once associated with criminals, it has since become something of a trend in popular culture. The draw of this particular piece is that the dragon is seen as a symbol of power and even mystery. Many people, though, get these tattoos for aesthetic purposes without knowing exactly how they differ. For instance, a yellow dragon without horns is renowned for its knowledge, while a horned dragon is known to be the strongest of creatures.

Create beautiful scenes. For instance, bamboo — which is considered a symbol of longevity for its strength and resilience — and clouds as a backdrop to cranes, who are considered signs of wealth, long life and power; or deer, who are similarly thought to represent longevity through endurance and grace.

Chinese tattoos have long been associated with their meaning and each individual has their own reason, be it an expression of who they are, or who they want to become; a symbol of change in their life, or a reminder of those they love most. What makes a Chinese tattoo perfect is the variety and simplicity, being able to convey strong emotions with small symbols, not to mention that they will always be aesthetically powerful and graceful.