From minimalistic triangle tattoos popular among mini ink lovers, to the Celtic trinity knot and the Eye of Providence, triangle tattoos come in a range of different designs. But, are triangle tattoos more than just aesthetically pleasing geometric inkings?
Triangles are the base for many tattoos. Cultures around the world have incorporated this geometric shape into symbolic images. So, triangle tattoos can have deep meaning attached to them.
However, these meanings are as diverse as the different triangle styles. Let’s dive into triangle tattoo inspiration, as well as the connotation behind these symbols, including mini triangle tattoos, a Viking rune symbol, and tribal designs.
Negative Space Triangle Tattoo
The term “negative space” in the world of tattoos means designs that leave a lot of the layout blank. You can also refer to them as tattoo outlines – the blank space allows the skin of the tattooee to help create the design.
This is a style you can really get creative with. To highlight the triangle shape while keeping it blank, flowers, plants, or waves designs (just a few examples) can surround the triangle.
If you want to lean more towards the minimalistic side of tattooing, you can forgo the shading and complex designs and go for a triangle outline.
Related Post: A Guide To Negative Space Tattoos
But, what meaning is behind the triangle shape?
Tattoo Me Now highlights the three points of a triangle and its association with trinities, such as the Holy Trinity of Christianity,
“Triangle[s] [are] often used to represent [the] Christian faith because it contains three sides and three corners. The father, son and the holy spirit are represented by each point of a triangle.” So, for Christians, triangle tattoos can represent their faith.”
The concept of trinities isn’t limited to Christianity, though. Other forms of trinities include: The pagan triple goddess of maiden, mother, crone; mind, body, spirit; past, present, future; as well as creation, preservation, and destruction.
Double Triangle Tattoo
A double triangle tattoo is a design featuring two interlocking triangles. This design takes a single triangle to the next level, but is still considered a minimalistic tattoo design.
When it comes to the meaning behind this simple triangle tattoo, a lot has to do with the tattooee and what the shapes mean to them.
As explained above, a triangle tattoo design can be a symbol of faith, but it can also be a representation of sex.
“[A] downward double triangle on a female can symbolize their femininity, maternity, Earth, mother nature, and the cosmic world. Two downward facing triangles can represent all of these things and be a reminder to the individual that they are the supporters of life,”Tattoo SEO
For a more masculine symbol, you’d turn the triangle to face upwards. Tattoo SEO goes on to say that this is a strong indication of masculinity, parenting, the element of fire, and the sun.
Viking Valknut Tattoo
The Valknut symbol is a design of three interlocking triangles, and has been found on memorial stones and rune stones from the Viking Age.
There are a few theories about what this symbol means:
- Hrungnir’s Heart
This meaning comes from a 13th century book which puts forth that the Valknut is the heart of a stone-made giant defeated by Thor.
Ancient Symbols explains that the Valknut symbol can also represent the Norse God Odin and his powers to bind and unbind the minds of men.
“The symbol has been found often in art depicting Odin and is believed to represent the afterlife.”
- A Talisman Against Evil
The nine points of the three triangles can be seen to symbolize the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology, and the link between the three realms of the heavens, earth, and hell.
You can go super detailed with this design by adding shading and extra Norse symbols, such as Odin’s Tree (Yggdrasil), another significant symbol from Norse mythology. You could also keep things simple with plain interlocking lines.
Triangle Eye Tattoo, Or Eye of Providence
The Eye of Providence can also be referred to as the All-Seeing Eye. The symbol is an eye set inside a triangle or pyramid. Most commonly, this is seen as a symbol of the all-seeing eye of God.
Tattoodo points out that there are many meanings associated with this image,
“Another popular interpretation is that it symbolizes benevolent guidance from a divine source, since the word ‘providence’ means ‘guidance’. The light source shown behind the all-seeing eye is traditionally believed to denote ‘illumination’, or wisdom.”
The meanings don’t end there, though. The Eye of Providence can also represent a spiritual awakening and the opening of the Third Eye.
The history of this symbol can be traced back to ancient Egypt and the Eye of Horus. The Eye of Horus, too, is an eye surrounded by a triangle, and was traditionally used as a ward against evil.
Arrow Head Tattoo
Arrow tattoos have multiple meanings, with symbolism that dates back to various ancient cultures. In Native American culture, the arrow can represent life. It was the tool they used to hunt for food to feed their families as well as the weapon they used to protect themselves.
To go simpler with your design, but not the meaning, you could opt for just an arrow head tattoo.
“…the arrowhead signifies focus and attention, which makes sense because it’s easy to miss the target when you pay no mind to these things,”Spiritustattoo
There are so many ways to go with an arrow head tattoo design,
“…one can go with the minimal, aesthetic, traditional arrowhead tattoo and incorporate some elements from the Native American theme such as feathers of an eagle which is a popular choice,”Outsons
You could go realistic and ancient with a stone arrow head tattoo, or opt for a modern design with geometric shapes.
Related Post: Arrow Tattoos: What They Mean And Tattoo Inspiration
Penrose Triangle, Or Infinity Triangle Tattoo
The Penrose Triangle is also known as the Impossible Triangle. It is an optical illusion that has captured the imagination of designers, artists, and physicists.
“At first glance, the Penrose triangle appears to be a two dimensional depiction of a three dimensional triangle built from square beams. However, the properties of this two dimensional drawing cannot be realized by any three dimensional object. Hence, the Penrose triangle is an impossible object,”New World Encyclopedia
This is a mystery of design, and a perfect tattoo choice for people who want to celebrate the unusual.
“The triangle tattoo can also symbolize creativity, harmony, ascension, proportion, manifestation, integration, culmination, and change. The most popular choice of these triangle tattoo meanings is creativity since most people want to be unique and have the ability to do or provide something different in their jobs and their personal lives,”Tattoo Art From The Heart
Polynesian Shark Teeth Tattoo
Triangles are woven throughout Polynesian art and tribal tattoo designs, and used to represent many elements such trochus shells, bonito, tree roots, mountains, and more. One of the most common designs is rows of triangles that symbolize shark teeth.
“Sharks are regarded as fearless hunters, powerful creatures that dominate the oceans. Based on their characteristics and on myths and legends, sharks (and therefore the shark teeth motifs used to represent them) are symbolic of strength, guile, protection and guidance,”Polynesian Tattoo Symbols
It goes on to explain that these triangles can represent an “aumakua”, a supernatural entity which appears to people to give them advice, omens, and sometimes punishments.
Shark teeth tattoos play an important role in tribal sleeve tattoos; they don’t just act as filler designs in between larger shapes, but can mean adaptability and protection as well as be highly decorative.
Triangles done in the shape of a circle symbolize the sun.
With any sort of tribal tattoo design, it is important to acknowledge that these tattoos have deep cultural significance. In fact, some symbol combinations are handed down within some families.
Related Post: Types of Tribal Tattoos and Their Meanings
Celtic Triangle Tattoo
The Celtic triangle is also known as the Triquetra, and is a deeply significant symbol in Irish culture.
“The line is unbroken and never-ending and is said to represent many things, such as unity, protection, and everlasting life. Like many knots, it can be seen as a Celtic symbol for strength,”Ireland Before You Die
Related Post: 12 Tattoos as Symbols of Strength
There are further meanings behind this symbol:
- The Wiccan triple goddess
- Past, present, and future
- Body, mind, and soul
- Protection against malevolent forces
Related Post: 7 Tattoos as Symbols of Protection
You can stay simple with this tattoo with a minimalistic, unbroken line, or you can add extra meaningful elements to this symbol.
Weave flowers through the Triquetra design to create a tattoo that represents love, life, and luck.
If you want a Triquetra tattoo to symbolize your Wiccan beliefs, you could incorporate a moon in your design to further add to the meaning of the triple goddess. The maiden, mother, and crone are also represented by the stages of the moon.
A moon and Triquetra tattoo can mean new beginnings, fertility, or wisdom.
Related Post: Moon Tattoos: Different Phases And Symbolism
Due to the three arches of the Triquetra, a Celtic triangle tattoo can represent three important people in your life. This symbol can also be a matching tattoo between three people.
If you’ve been inspired and have a triangle tattoo design in your mind, hold up on making your appointment just yet. Besides design, an important thing to decide on for a tattoo you’ll love is the placement.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about tattoo placement:
1. Do you need to easily hide your tattoo? If so, this can limit your options. Placements such as the upper thigh, hip, sternum, and spine are easy to hide for a lot of people.
2. Aftercare and upkeep. Some placements are more difficult with aftercare than others. For example, if you are in the sun a lot, a placement that is exposed to the elements (such as the ears, hands, and forearm) should be considered carefully. The UVA and UVB rays of the sun can break down your ink and cause your tattoo to fade and lead to you needing to touch up your tattoo more often.
3. The pain. There is no getting around it: Getting inked is painful. You are voluntarily getting wounded. If the pain of the process is freaking you out or this will be your first tattoo, consider a placement that, on average, isn’t that painful. A good rule of thumb is that the thinner the skin and closer to the bone the placement is, the more painful the tattoo experience will be.
4. The overall look of your tattoo design. Your chosen tattoo design will impact what placement is available to you. If you want a tiny tattoo placed on your bicep, there will be a lot of blank space around your design and could impact any future arm tattoos you get. At the same time, if you want a super detailed design that is on the larger side, putting it on a small space on your body could warp and wrap the design.
Related Post: Full Guide to Tattoo Placement
A triangle tattoo may sound simple, but it is anything but. There are tons of triangular symbols throughout ages and cultures that have been translated into tattoos with deep meaning.
As with any tattoo, do you research! Make sure you know the symbolism behind your chosen tattoo design so that you are not awkwardly surprised down the line.
Click here for more on what to consider before getting inked.