When the underwater currents push harder, these likeable little creatures cling to the cliffs or coral so they don’t get swept away…

Seahorses (scientific name: Hippocampus Rafinesque) have been venerated and admired since ancient times. The Greeks, for example, saw great strength and power in these colourful aquatic creatures who were believed to be messengers of the god of the oceans, the great Poseidon, Neptune to the Romans who also held seahorses in high esteem.

Other European peoples during the Middle Ages saw them as guides to the Afterlife for sailors drowned at sea. And for the Chinese, they resembled sea dragons and were revered in the belief that they brought good luck to all who encountered them.

Lucky Luchino, Ondo Tattoo, Barcelona, Spain
Lucky Luchino, Ondo Tattoo, Barcelona, Spain

Scientists and animal lovers describe seahorses as one of the most tranquil and easy going creatures in the world. Their placid movement in the water and the fact that they never evolved in terms of their physical features give the impression that seahorses are perfectly content and satisfied with their condition and the way they are.

This is the symbolism to bear in mind for anyone who wants one on their skin, a declaration to the world that instead of wallowing in day-to-day worries, they would much rather enjoy life.

Victor Chil, Family Art Tattoo, Barcelona, Spain
Victor Chil, Family Art Tattoo, Barcelona, Spain

Seahorses, incidentally, are extremely stubborn, inflexible and resilient. Not to mention tough. When the underwater currents get stronger and are in danger of sweeping them away or breaking up the herd, seahorses use their tails to cling to a rock or just a piece of coral and patiently wait for the threat to pass. A reason why they are seen as symbols of perseverance and stubbornness in relation to a goal or a plan. Or even a dream.

Another striking feature is their sensory perception, the sharp eyesight they possess thanks to a mobile eye which can be moved independently of the seahorse itself.

Lore Morato, Golden Times Atelier, Cologne, Germany
Lore Morato, Golden Times Atelier, Cologne, Germany

All of which, symbolically speaking, teaches that we need to have a far-sighted approach in life while never ceasing to look around us. If we want to improve our lot we need only learn from the seahorse. Look at a problem from different perspectives and points of view until a solution comes within our reach.

Last but not least, another peculiarity of this species is that the male often deals with tasks typical of females in other species. And this might lead us to consider a tattoo of a seahorse as another way of proclaiming gender equality.

Enjoy our gallery of tattoos dedicated to the enormous family of Hippocampus Rafinesque!