foo dog tattoo sleeve

foo dog face

Originally uploaded by tagscats

This was a long tattoo sit. And, I had approved the design last week that Shayna had drawn up and we were going to start the outline. I was thinking it would be piece by piece, starting with the foo dog, but, Shayna was SO excited to do this piece, she had the entire arm pretty much mapped out. lol So, we started the stenciling. Amazingly, we got the foo dog stencil on in one try, which is so difficult to do wrapping something around one’s arm. Then the peony under my arm, and the kanji tag, smoke, and the cherry blossoms.

Probably about 3.5 hours of continuous tattooing….but, we got the entire outline finished. I was pretty tired, and, Shayna had a blister on her thumb, lol.

So, it’s a traditional foo dog, a symbol of protection. Closed mouth, which represents a female. Together with peonies, also symbols of protection. The red tag contains the kanji for “mother”, as this entire sleeve is a memorial to my mom. And the cherry blossoms which also symbolize the beauty and frailty of life. The smoke curls are lighter as they will be perhaps greyish, or, we may color them. The foo dog will be black and grey shaded, with bluish eyes. The peonies will be bright blue (blue represents wisdom), cherry blossoms shades of pink. The background will be wind, also a traditional background for the foo dog, and, it fits in with the wind bars and hummingbird already on my shoulder. When you see foo dogs in pairs guarding temples, the male is typically on the right, and the female on the left. Also, foo dogs are actually depictions of lions, they are not dogs. So, I have a tiger on my right arm, a lion on my left. It’s not entirely known the origin of foo dogs, some think it came from stories heard about the Buddhist temple lion guardians, others think it comes from an early Japanese Shinto religion that had a lion protector, and the early artists used dogs as models for they had no idea what lions looked like.

This feels so right, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this tattoo for a long time. It’s for you mom.

See all the photos here…


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