Ankh Tattoos – Meaning and Symbolism

If you’re getting a new (or perhaps your first!) tattoo, you may be considering getting an ankh. It’s a simple and elegant design, and can be easily incorporated into larger pieces.

But if you’re on the fence about it, or simply want to find out more about the ankh’s history and meaning, then you’re in the right place. 

In this article, we’ll go over the wide history of the ankh, and why you might want to use an ankh design as a tattoo.

Ankh Tattoos

What is the Ankh?

The ankh originated as an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph close to 5000 years ago. While it is unclear exactly how it first came into use, the ankh was widely used in Egyptian art and writing.

Its most prominent meaning is a symbol of life, and it is also known as the ‘Key of Life’. It was linked with various Gods in ancient Egyptian mythology, like Isis and Ra.

Credit: ankh_tattoo

The ankh has an appearance similar to a cross, but with a tear-drop-shaped loop on the top bar. In fact, the ankh is generally considered to be the first cross, predating the Christian crucifix by approximately 3000 years.

The ankh’s symbolic link to life and fertility has made it a popular symbol in the modern era. It is frequently used in jewelry, clothing, and (in more recent years) tattoos.

But why is the ankh used as a design for tattoos, and what do ankh tattoos mean?

What Symbolism Does It Have As A Tattoo?

There are several reasons why you might want an ankh tattoo.

Tattoos that are based on or incorporate the ankh symbol tend to share the same symbolic link to life and health. 

Some people may also get an ankh tattoo to signify a difficult time or event and their recovery from that. As a symbol of life, the ankh can also tie in with perseverance and surviving when you’re struggling.

This is among the more common reasons to get an ankh tattoo, particularly in New Age Spiritualists who consider the ankh to have a similar meaning to its origins.

It can also be used to represent childbirth, tying in with the ankh’s representation of fertility. As such, you might want to get an ankh tattoo to celebrate a new child.

You may also just enjoy the design, and want a tattoo without a deeper meaning ingrained into it. 

However, there is also a deep spiritual and cultural significance relating to the ankh. You need to bear this in mind if you’re considering getting an ankh tattoo.

The context of an ankh tattoo is important, as you don’t want to get something distasteful or disrespectful.

Overall, there are plenty of interpretations and symbolic meanings behind ankh tattoos. While there is no definitive meaning for an ankh as a tattoo, you will usually find a direct link to the ankh’s original use – a symbol of life.

Should I Get an Ankh Tattoo?

There are many different reasons for getting an ankh tattoo.

If the design holds significance to you, and you want a tattoo that symbolizes life, an ankh is a great design to choose. 

Credit: yagasara

There is also the spiritual significance. You might want to get a tattoo with an ankh if your beliefs are aligned with the cultural context of the ankh’s original use. 

But again, you also need to remember that the ankh is a special symbol that deserves to be treated with respect.

Don’t get an ankh tattoo just because it looks cool – if you aren’t sure about the significance of the ankh or whether your design is appropriate for a tattoo, you can try and find out more about both.

Final Thoughts

So now you know the meaning and symbolism of the Ancient Egyptian ankh and some of the reasons behind getting an ankh tattoo.

The ankh is a beautiful symbol, full of history. And if you want to get an ankh tattoo, you need to bear this in mind.

Nevertheless, if you’re getting an ankh tattoo, it’s sure to look fantastic and have a great meaning to you. Now all you need to do is choose your design and get a new tattoo!


Peter Beaker