The Sakura / Cherry Blossom
The Sakura, or cherry blossom features heavily in traditional Japanese tattoos. The Sakura tree blooms in Spring, and the blossoms appear en masse and are an extremely beautiful sight to see. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality and for this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic and are featured in almost all forms of Japanese art as they depict a glorious life and sudden death, popularly linked to the lives and deaths of warriors and samurai. During WWII, Japanese pilots even painted cherry blossoms on the side of their planes, and took branches of the trees with them when embarking on suicide missions. The symbolism was then taken further to be that the falling petals of the blossom in art came to symbolise sacrifice, youthfulness, fragility and grace.
Traditional Japanese tattoos are inspired by centuries old woodblock artworks, and the Japanese utilise the sakura as a symbol of life. After their too-short bloom, the cherry blossom falls to the ground and is scattered about by wind and rain. It is in this life cycle that the blossoms of this tree become truly anticipated and appreciated for all their beauty.Whether you choose a Japanese cherry blossom to celebrate or honour life, the blossom makes for a stunning choice as an element in a tattoo.
With a broad spectrum of light and dark pinks, reds and purples (for plum blossoms), a Japanese cherry blossom the perfect accompaniment alongside a koi, dragon, snake or warrior motif in a tattoo, see below for examples of work done by the artists at Authentink Studio