chinese-horoscopes-offbeat-inkOne of the more popular classifications of tattoo designs all over the world is based on the Chinese horoscope. Astrology is one of the earliest Chinese arts. It has been influencing the Chinese for centuries and most of us today are familiar with its 12 animal signs. The Chinese horoscope is based upon philosophical and mathematical concepts of existence and once directed affairs of state. It still fascinates millions of people all over the world. It is all based on a system called Jikkan Junishi (10 stems and 12 branches). The 10 heavenly stems refer to yin-yang principles and the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The 12 earthly branches represent 12 animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and wild boar (or pig).

If this appeals, then you need to find out which year you were born and therefore which animal you were born under. This is very easily done:

The Year of the Rat
1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984
The Year of the Ox
1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985
The Year of the Tiger
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986
The Year of the Rabbit
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987
The Year of the Dragon
1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988
The Year of the Snake
1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989
The Year of the Horse
1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990

The Year of the Ram
1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991
The Year of the Monkey
1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980
The Year of the Rooster
1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981
The Year of the Dog
1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982
The Year of the Pig
1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983

Next you can search for different ways of representing the animal you need. There are Chinese characters for each horoscope sign as well as the abstract symbols and the image of the animal itself. You could use one or all as the basis for your design. For example, say you were born in the Year of the Snake. You look up the Chinese characters and find an image of a snake that you really like and maybe find a way to combine the two… This is my favourite so far. This girl has wrapped a garter snake around her ankle almost but not quite meeting the Chinese character for Snake: