Vietnamese Style Tattoo: Tradition, Artistry, and Expression

Blending traditional and modern artistry hues, Vietnamese tattoo styles have long been a part of Vietnamese culture and even today their demand is of great importance. 

Vietnamese tattoos come in different designs, each design holding a different yet significant meaning. In this article, you will come across various popular and best Vietnamese Styles tattoos, along with their symbolic meaning and why many people see them as an appealing and powerful part of themselves.

Vietnamese Style Tattoo

Exploring Vietnamese Style Tattoo: A Fusion of Tradition & Contemporary Art

Vietnamese tattoo artistry is not new, it has been passed from generation to generation. Each generation adds its touch to traditional tattoo styles, making them a crucial part of tattoo history. From the beginning, Vietnamese tattoos were seen as a profound design with significant aristocratic symbolism. But there also came a time when Vietnamese tattoos were majorly seen as criminals which drastically affected the idea and value of it. However it didn’t last long and once again Vietnamese tattoo styles emerged as more strong, influential, and attractive artistry that carries historical and contemporary significance. 

Fusion of Traditional and Contemporary Expressions

Talking about historical expressions, Vietnamese tattoos use nature, mythology, and folklore elements as artistry designs. When the Vietnamese tattoo industry was at its peak in ancient times, aristocratic people like emperors or empresses had to have tattoo designs in order to show their social value and superiority. Women usually inked birds or flowers to show their feminine aspect while males tattooed tigers or mythological dragons to represent power and dominance.

On the other hand, contemporary designs also started to express their art in historical tattoo foundations. For instance, taking historical design as a base, contemporary artists combine abstract, pop culture, and realism aspects to further glorify the design. This style not only keeps the tattoos connected with its roots but also makes them trendy in the modern era.

Vietnamese Tattoo Styles Along with their Symbolic Meanings

Vietnamese Tattoo styles are versatile in their appearance due to constant cultural influences, however, the root method in some way is reflected even in contemporary designs. Different patterns, coloring, and shading techniques are used in creating appealing and symbolic tattoo styles. Let’s go through popular Vietnamese tattoo styles. 

Abstract Dotwork Style Tattoo

Abstract Dotwork Style Tattoo

Abstract Dotwork tattoo style is an historical tattooing style but today this style is fused with modern abstract art. In the dotting technique, thousands of ink dots are punctured into the skin by different tools like needles, pelican bones, shark teeth (historical methods), etc. Abstract Dotwork tattoo style symbolizes a strong connection with spirituality, deity, cultural identity, and harmony of nature. Here are some popular Abstract Dotwork art tattoo styles:

  • Geometric: In this style, combinations of geometrical shapes and patterns are inked making unique abstract geometric dotwork artistry. 
  • Portraits: In making portraits, Dotwork works wonders to give a realistic effect to the tattoo style.
  • Mandela: It is a geometric symmetry of design that usually represents cosmic and spiritual harmony. 
  • Pointillism: Pointillism Abstract tattoo styles are perfect for attaining textured, shading, and depth effects in the tattoo design.

Vietnamese Blackwork Style Tattoo 

Black ink is not only ancient but a signature color in Vietnamese tattooing culture. In the past and today as well, black ink is used in creating numerous captivating designs. It helps in creating intricate, detailed, sharp-edge, and bordered designs with excellent command.

Vietnamese Style Tattoo

This tattoo styling gives a dramatic look to the tattoos. Lotus, dragons, koi fish, daruma dolls, phrases, and symbols are made using black ink to intensify the visual appeal and effectiveness of the meaning behind each tattoo design. For the shading and texturing, again Blackwork style is used to create realistic artistry on your skin.

Watercolor StyleTattoos 

Besides only focusing on blackwork, different watercolors are also added to give vibrancy and new energy to tattoo designs. Adding different colors also impacts the meaning behind the tattoo design. For instance white color symbolizes purity and innocence, red is for passion, yellow is for friendliness, and purple is for loyalty. 

Watercolor-style tattoos also come in a blending state where one color subtly enters another, giving a radiant touch to the design. This style is majorly used in landscapes and floral design to give a new soul to the artwork. 

Realism Style Tattoo

In Realism-style tattooing, the realistic factor is added to any traditional tattoo design. This is usually done through careful shading and detailing. Landscapes, flowers, animals, or nature images are common tattoo designs where people go for realistic style. 

In symbolic terms, this tattoo style builds a strong bond with reality. This style shows how a person cares, has strong faith in reality, and can strongly overcome all the hardships and ups & downs of life. 


True roots of tattoos are held in Vietnamese culture and history. Their vast bearing tattoo history adds various styles to shape and add unique dimensions to tattoo designs. 

Different techniques and tools are used to portray different perspectives. From blackwork, and watercolors, to abstract and realistic styles, each tattoo style and design shines traditional and modernist aspects. These Vietnamese-style tattoos are a great way to connect yourself with the past while being an integral part of the modern tattoo world.

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