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Enso circle tattoo by wunschpunsch Enso circle tattoo by wunschpunsch
My new (and first) tattoo. I got it done by Denis at the Aloha Tattoo Studio in Karlsruhe, South Germany. See [link] for more info on the studio and the artists.

It's an incomplete circle, inked in the likeliness of a brush drawing. These brush circles are called "Ensô" ( 円相 ) in japanese and are one of the central symbols of Zen. The english wikipedia article on the ensô describes it's symbolism pretty well:

"Ensō is perhaps the most common subject of Japanese calligraphy, symbolizing enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void; it is also an "expression of the moment" and thus is often considered a form of expressionist art."

See the wikipedia article for more infos about the ensô circle as a zen symbol.

I chose the ensô not only because of it's symbolism, but also because I consider the imperfect look of asian brush drawings and calligraphy very aesthetically pleasing. A friend of mine remarked that the tattoo reminded him of the endless serpent that bites it's own tail (remember Ouroboros?).

I'd like to hear your thoughts on both the ensô and the tattoo :) (... and don't feel shy to produce actual criticism; I consider myself mature enough not to take it personally and retreat into my room's corner, crying while hugging my knees ...)

The ensô design itself is a redrawn, modified version of an ensô brush drawing I found on the web - I don't have the URL anymore, but a simple google search should yield enough similar pictures.
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Tthaddee Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2016
Koan Sound !!! :D
Xx-Cake-xX Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a metal sheet piece that's got painted graffiti circles like this. <3
NightmarePain Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The tattoo is simple yet beautiful, the decision to keep the natural look of an actual brush instead of just an incomplete circle makes it that much more pleasing to look at. It also helps and becomes even more pleasing to the eye when you say why you got it. The symbolism is wonderful and it keeps the tattoo alive when it has meaning behind it. All in all an awesome yet simple tattoo
N4r0 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awesome *.*
Kyubbigirl Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's also how you do bloom in the game called Okami, very nice work~
haakon95 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
can u tell me what the tattoo means, i cant read the decription! D:
chiranjit-mitra Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You have been featured here [link]
xFantasmax Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012
I simply love it. It's so unique, so special and meanings (moreover its pretty hahaha)
That would be a tatto I would do for myself, and believe me, I don't want to. But, if I had to choose between all the tattoos I've seen, this would be the one! :D
zakniteh Featured By Owner May 26, 2012
Love the simplicity of the design and beauty of the imitated brush strokes. Gorgeous.
FatBabyDave Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice
catiescarlett Featured By Owner May 4, 2012
Wow, this actually does look like it's done with a calligraphy brush - great work! Beautiful!
danteabad Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
Great concept..
RhynoEos Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012
Okami? Thats what it reminded me of.
Its a game. ^.^
phoenix-rise Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
Simple, elegant, and baddass.
FrancisHe Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
that is so great!!
in my country it is a LOGO of a Mobile operators..
BoneCrackerQueen Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WoooW! It great!
ByronLippiatt Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011
That is soo rad
magnoid Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Hobbyist Interface Designer
kangel Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011   General Artist
Awesome! :)
Lineface Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love how simplistic it is. I'm very drawn to single color tattoos.
sigzero Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
That is pretty cool. It certainly traps the eye.
Akasha3 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2011
Love symbolism for tattoos
pluww Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
Love the symbolism :) thinking about getting it as a second tattoo
americanimengel Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Very nice tattoo!

PapaIVIidnight Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
if you Google images "enso" you will find many pictures that look very similar to the tattoo
aventris93 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011  Student Photographer
I like it. :] good symbolism.
eSeF-PL Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011
i dont know why but i like it !!
tech-nique Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so awesome!!!!
DarkLadyOSonnets Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2011
I love the spontenaity of it. It seems at first as if somebody too a giant brush and painted in on your skin in one fell swoop. However upon closer inspection, it proves to be very meticulous. As if every tiny line took precious deatil and time to be born. It is, wow, a stunning contradiction of spontanaity and preciousness. Wow. This is beautiful.
digipatd Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want this exact tattoo on the back of my hand now.
Rubikscrow Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
love love love love it!!!
PantherStar613 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Gorgeous, congrats! :aww:
domo-kamikaze Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010
That. Is badass.
elswaer Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2010
Great ink man! Something i can get a base from. Not saying id get exactly the same, but it brings me closer to what i feel is a great symbol of expression for me. Cheers!
Armageddon-x Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I absolutely loved this tattoo and have been madly researching for tattoo ideas and concepts; this most definitely will be a design which I will highly consider getting done. I love the symbolism, it's very strong. I might get writing with it, but I'm unsure as to whether that'll ruin the simplistic appeal to it. If I do get it done, it'll probably be something smaller, but thanks to you I have a new idea to work on. :)
Khanisha-Chibi Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010
My frend got this tattoo 2 days before he went to Iraq...he didnt tell me what it meant, i super happy now to see the deep meaning behind it.
MyFragility Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
amazing! Very nice!
shoasa Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Very nice! I thought you may have been an Alan watts fan, haha.
WitchDoctor743 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010
I have one exactly like that only just a bit smaller and lower in between my shoulder blades.
Looking foward for my next tattoos
jasonito Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2010
very cool
turquoiseraven Featured By Owner May 25, 2010  Professional Writer
Made me think of the PS2 game Okami....
oORainbow-ChanOo Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Made me think that too!
Jessisaurus Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2010
really pretty. the artist did a really nice job!
altimitme Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2010
Hey there!
I friggin love your tattoo!

I was wondering where you got the template from?
Or is your tattoo artist just friggin awesome!

I was actually thinking about incorporating the ouroboros into my own one..

Good idea?
ReuveniC Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010
Loved the concept as well as the work.
Great tattoo !
bangme Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2010
Nice tattoo =D
I did a dance item based on the Enso theme as well, very inspirational~
christineLT Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010
Spirit-bomb Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Very very nice :) Good choice
alexiel-neesan Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
I'm doing a school project on tattoos, and I was wondering if I could use this photography to illustrate the presentation booklet. You'll of course be credited in the booklet.
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Submitted on
April 17, 2008
Image Size
689 KB


118,551 (2 today)
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Camera Data

Sony Ericsson
Shutter Speed
1/25 second
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Apr 16, 2008, 9:25:54 PM


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