1. The Cherry Blossom Katie Tegtmeyer / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: katietegtmeyer Cherry blossoms bloom, experience a very short life, and then fall gracefully to the ground. Thus, in Japanese culture, they have come to represent the transience of life. 2. Koi Fish PabloH Bueno / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: ascorp The koi fish tattoo symbolizes good luck and fortune because of the legend that the koi can climb the falls of the Yellow River to become a dragon. It is also tied to personal strength and perseverance through difficult situations, as well as one's aspirations to improve themselves. 3. Phoenix Mark Ou / (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: belkut The image of the mythological bird rising from the ashes is understood the world over as being a symbol of resurrection. Thus, phoenix tattoos signify rebirth and new beginnings. 4. The Lotus Flower Juan A / (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: panallira The lotus tattoo symbolizes purity, as the lotus is considered the flower of perfection. Because it thrives in muddy conditions, it is also known to refer to surviving hardships and struggles. 5. Skulls Tony Alter / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: 78428166@N00 Pictured above is a sugar skull, which is connected to the Mexican "Day of the Dead" holiday celebrating those who have passed away. Skulls are extremely popular tattoos and represent many things according to different belief systems. Some of these include rebirth, eternity, celebration of life, triumph, and rebellion. 6. Dragons Micael Tattoo Faccio / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: micaeltattoo The dragon is a popular character throughout Asia, symbolizing power and psychic nature. Popular meanings of this tattoo also include strength, prosperity, and wealth. 7. Butterflies mytat_2s / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: 21243853@N03 The butterfly tattoo is most often seen on women, though its varied meanings can apply to anybody. Some of the meanings associated with butterflies are metamorphosis, rebirth, freedom, fragility, and beauty. 8. Anchor Alexandra Bellink / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: zbellink Traditionally popular with sailors, the anchor tattoo is back in fashion. While it can depict overseas travel, it also commonly symbolizes stability, journeys, or strong foundations (often in reference to a person or romantic companion, hence why the anchor is a popular couples tattoo). 9. Eagle church / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: church32 The eagle is one of the oldest popular tattoos. It symbolizes power (as it is closely related to the Greek god Zeus) as well as nationalism, as it is native to many different countries. It is common among those in the military, police officers, and firefighters, and is most often included in Americana tattoos. 10. Nautical Stars Andrew Dobrow / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: opethdamna Another old-school tattoo, the five-pointed nautical star is still very common today. It was also popular among sailors and was considered a symbol of safe return, although today it can mean many things, depending on placement. These include: the sea, finding your way, a positive guide for the future, and more. 11. Cherries Micael Tattoo Faccio / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: micaeltattoo The round, plump, ripe, and juicy cherry tattoo represents fertility and desire. 12. Yin and Yang Getty Images/iStockphoto Peter Shannon / Via thinkstockphotos.com Yin and yang symbolizes the duality of human beings: the balance between good and evil. It expresses the belief that one cannot have balance and harmony without both the light and the darkness. 13. Roses yujean park / (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: snarkyparky The rose is the epitome of love and beauty. The gorgeous flower does not come without its thorns, however, meaning achieving beauty is not easy and that nothing is completely perfect.