Sanskrit tattoos are beautiful but complex designs. Names and mantras are the most popular tattoo choices, but because Sanskrit is a phonetic language there are different factors that influence how a name should be written.
Sanskrit deals with ancient language and fonts that must be understood to be applied properly. One reason it’s so important to find an artist with experience working up Sanskrit sayings is the context shifting within this written language, which is where errors can be made in transcribing a design or mantra.
Depending on how each letter, phrase or word is written, the meaning and sound behind individual letters can change dramatically.
The following examples detail 57 brilliant examples of Sanskrit tattoo design that you can incorporate into your next tattoo.
1. Elegant Sanskrit Tattoo Art
This neck and back tattoo places a bit more flair into the text of the tattoo, and is reminiscent of a necklace. The curvature and consistent use of the text makes for a pleasing, unique tattoo.
This is a well executed minimalist tattoo that shows off the flowing Sanskrit script. It’s not a large tattoo, however it nestles well in the inner bicep. The artist has drawn in the black ink simply with a single needle.
This a sharply executed chest tattoo. The Sanskrit lettering is emphasized by the clever matching of gray ink and white in support of the black line work of the language text to give it the feel of a small stone tablet.
A nicely drawn take on the Sanskrit tattoo. Rather than run down the arm as most variations would the artist and subject have opted to draw the tattoo across the arm. It makes for a funky patterned, almost-sleeve tattoo. The use of red line work throughout the work is a cool touch of individuality.
Devanagari script is the font most used in depicting Sanskrit. Devanagari developed from the North Indian monumental script known as Gupta. It’s a beautiful flowing type of script, that as these examples show, utilize fantastic black ink delivery.
You’ll see throughout this gallery who in isolation the text can look like old school art, even when depicting simple Hindi terms such as Namaste, yoga, or Tapas (just ask Adam Levine)
2. Black Ink and Negative Space Sanskrit Tattoos
Heavy black and negative space make for a clever, hectic Sanskrit piece reminiscent of archaic book lettering or even Asian calligraphy. The artist has brilliantly created the letter by flipping the image, with the tattoo supporting the unblemished flesh. It looks easy, but this technique is very difficult to master, especially on tattoos of this scale.
During and after images present quality insight into the process for the this five image Sanskrit tattoo artwork. Rather than be stencilled on and then inked as is the current trend, the artist has instead hand drawn this tattoo onto skin. Just as in sketch books, they’ve made sure to work out depth and spacing of the piece with a clear eye and steady hand. As the second picture demonstrates the solid black of the needle work has been perfectly executed to deliver a beautiful tattoo.
Transcribing your Sanskrit word into a more unique tattoo design can often be as simple as flipping the Sanskrit sayings or script to focus on negative space. Whether you do it with Devanagari, or an accompanying religious symbol, working a range of ink – black in these Hindu mantra concepts – is a killer Sanskrit tattoo idea.
3. Inner Forearm Sanskrit Tattoo Design
This inner forearm tattoo combines stylish Sanskrit text with a solid black image. There is nothing fancy about the piece, however it’s quality work that combines expert scaling, space, and overall depth.
A nicely drawn Sanskrit tattoo, this piece is placed in an eye-catching fashion on the inner forearm. Unlike the image above, this piece incorporates large, thick lettering in an almost graffiti style font that works well with the text.
This tattoo cleverly incorporates text and geometric pattern to create an armband style lower forearm tattoo. The artist has used crisp black line work with background shading to make the links in the pattern. The text is carefully executed and utilizes it’s natural flow horizontally to make for a unique border for the total image.
The artist’s technique here makes for another cool calligraphy style tattoo. The flourishes at the start of each word give it a an effective sense of individuality.
Because it can be etched thickly and is such an amazing looking font in in isolation, working Devanagari script with technical application and use of space can make a simple, effective tattoo any font junkie can get behind.
Inner forearm tattoos are some of the most popular positions for tattoos featuring the Sanskrit alphabet and feature more variety. The term namaste, love, yoga, and other religious symbols of Hindi and Sanskrit origin feature heavily in these tattoo designs.
4. Sanskrit Leg Tattoo
The same name can sound very different when spoken so this should be accounted for when considering a tattoo in Sanskrit script or using a Sanskrit symbol.
Another thing to consider as well, is if any other cultural issues may crop up. For example, with Hindu and Buddhist tattoos there are some images and themes – Gods such as Lord Shiva or Buddha – that should be etched in specific ways to avoid being labelled culturally insensitive.
5. Sanskrit Language Back Tattoo Ideas
Sanskrit language, Indian culture and other Eastern philosophies with deep meaning are aligned with back tattoos, for good reason. A popular Sanskrit mantra or symbols such as the all-seeing eye (used in lots of cultures), the Unalome, or the Om symbol can provide cool looking body art with symbolic appeal.
6. Outer Forearm Sanskrit Body Art
Sanskrit tattoo depictions on the outer forearm rival the popularity of those on the inner forearm. Flowing verse, and cool ancient language designs alone look cool.
In many instances, an outer forearm tattoo for a wearer carries much meaning, whether it’s a mantra, chakra, or other symbol such as a lotus.
7. Sanskrit Chest Tattoos
Chest tattoos don’t just use the Sanskrit alphabet in body art. Being such an appealing part of the human canvas, a relevant om symbol, lotus flower, or other idea can be depicted with sharp clarity in simple black ink or more expressive tattoo design.
8. Uniquely Placed Sanskrit Ink
This big, bold, Sanskrit neck tattoo is executed with great flair. It’s created by the difficult and time consuming dotwork style. The piece features exceptional clarity in the dot variations to create the two-tone text shading.
The subject’s hand features three tattoos etched at different times. They all have aged differently, and their line work differs enough from each other – even in a simple design – that the Sanskrit tattoos are clearly the work of three different artists.
Sharp, clear black lines of text work has allowed this tattoo to successfully overlap the Mandala dot work below it. The artist has cleverly used a single needle to make the text standout and allow for it continue to do so as the ink ages on the subject’s skin.
I love how this final group of examples are happy to display their Sanskrit tattoo design in slightly more expansive ways than most of these other sayings and Sanskrit word ideas. The ancient language can look fantastic when a lotus, for example is combined with a mandala to form a bad ass head tattoo. A simple Sanskrit saying can also look classically cool just by being etched into a slightly different style of wrist tattoo, while other symbols go well as little finger Sanskrit tattoos.
Sanskrit Tattoo FAQs
What is a Sanskrit tattoo?
Sanskrit is an ancient language – the first to write ancient Hindu texts and their religious documents, known as Vedas. The Sanskrit script looks beautiful when drawn and is commonly used in tattoo art to spell out names, short benedictions, or mantras.
Sanskrit word designs have become increasingly popular for use in body art thanks to the increase in accessibility for Eastern teachings, philosophies, and meditation practices.
What can go wrong getting a Sanskrit tattoo?
If you’re in the market for a Sanskrit tattoo you seek out an artist who has expertise in this specific style. Names are the most popular Sanskrit tattoo choices, but there can be a great deal of error in translation or transcription. Sanskrit is a phonetic language so many factors can influence how a name should be written.
The ancient concepts and fonts underpinning Sanskrit body art must be understood to be applied properly. One reason it’s so important to find a tattoo artist with experience working up Sanskrit ink is the context shifting within this written language. A famous example of getting it wrong was football super star David Beckham, who erred in transcribing the idea of his wife Victoria’s name into Sanskrit.
The same name can sound very different when spoken so this should be accounted for when considering a tattoo in Sanskrit. Depending on how each letter or word is written, the meaning and sound behind individual letters can change dramatically.
A skilled tattoo artist and a client that has done their research, understanding the liturgical language of Hinduism, should be able to work together to achieve a successful result with the minimum of fuss.
Did you enjoy these Sanskrit sayings, names, and cool tattoo ideas? Click on the links below for more galleries featuring Eastern tattoo design ideas and themes: