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50+ Ankh Tattoos Ideas and Meaning for Interested in Ancient Egyptian Culture and History Buffs

By Jason Hamilton / July 5, 2020
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Ancient Egyptian culture is popular for a lot of things. One of which are the symbols that were once used to tell stories. Today, apart from being a part of the Egyptian culture, they are also used as symbols for the perfect body art.

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The Ankh in Ancient Egyptian Origin

One of the most commonly used among the symbols in hieroglyphs is the ankh. The ankh mostly appears in Egyptian tomb arts, as well as other paintings wherein goddesses or deities hold it. This is because this symbol represents the word for “life” and the extension of life. In addition to that, people also call it “the key of life” or “the cross of life.”

Ancient Egyptians also often carry this as an amulet for good luck. Sometimes they also incorporate it with other symbols that mean strength and health.

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No one actually knows how and where it came from. But Egyptologist Sir Alan H. Gardiner believes it developed from a sandal strap with the top loop that goes around the wearer ankle and the vertical post attached to a sole at the toes. This is because the Egyptian word for “sandal” was “nkh,” which came from the same root as “ankh.” He also thinks that since sandals were a part of an Egyptian’s life back then, the ankh symbol came to represent life.

Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge believes in a different theory, however. For him, the ankh originated from goddess Isis’ belt’s buckle. Budged equated the symbol with the tjet, the knot of Isis, a ceremonial girdle believed to represent female genitalia and a fertility symbol.

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While experts out there are still debating about the origin of the ankh, one thing is for sure, though, that this symbol makes a nice tattoo today.

But what is an ankh?

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A Closer Look at the Ankh

For starters, it is that thing that gods and goddesses often hold in paintings, hieroglyphs, etc., that looks like a cross but instead of a vertical head, the ankh has a teardrop-shaped hoop. Usually, it is in yellow or gold color. This is probably because the earliest ankh amulets were usually made of gold or electrum. Now that you know what it looks like, let’s take a look at the ankh tattoos ideas and meaning that we’re sure will convince you to get a tattoo.

Ankh as Tattoos: Ankh Tattoos Ideas and Meaning

Ankh symbols make nice tattoo designs. Not just because of its basic representation of life but also because of its mysterious origin and versatility that will make any Egyptian symbols even more meaningful. And if you’re eyeing on this tattoo design, you’ve come to the right place as we can give you ideas on how you can use this symbol as a tattoo and to even pair it with other symbols. Here are some ankh tattoos ideas and meaning that you might want to take a closer look at for some inspirations.

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Plain Ankh

Ankh’s representation is already beautiful. And if you want to keep it that way, we suggest that you opt for a simple ankh tattoo. What makes this an even better idea is that you have more room to place your ideas in the future if you decide to add more details to it. Here are some plain ankh tattoos that we’re sure you’ll love if you’re a minimalist.

An outline tattoo of an ankh

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A simple ankh tattooed on the back

A simple ankh in black ink etched on the left wrist

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An ankh etched on the upper part of the arm

A black ink finger tattoo of an ankh

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A pointed black ink ankh

A huge ankh tattoo on the triceps

Another simple ankh tattoo in black ink

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An ankh tattoo placed on the right ankle

3D Ankh

If you want something that’s eye-catching, we recommend adding details to your ankh tattoo that will make it look three dimensional. Here are some samples that we’re sure will also catch your attention all the more.

A white ink tattoo of an ankh that looks like the skin is embossed

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An ankh tattoo placed on the ankle

A forearm ankh tattoo with details as if it’s carved on a stone

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Another realistic ankh tattoo that looks like it’s etched on a stone but is paired with the Eye of Ra

Ankh with the Eye of Ra or Eye of Horus

The ankh is often paired with the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus. The right eye represents the sun and good luck and is called the Eye of Ra. On the other hand, the left one, which represents the moon and protection, is called the Eye of Horus. Here are some ways how you can combine these symbols.

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An Eye of Ra tattoo paired with two ankhs

An Eye of Horus tattoo morphed with an ankh

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An Eye of Horus paired with a dangling ankh

A wrist tattoo of an ankh with an Eye of Horus on its loop

An Eye of Ra tattoo overlapping an ankh tattoo

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An intricately detailed Eye of Ra tattoo with an ankh

An Eye of Horus overlapping an ankh tattoo

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The Eye of Ra at the center of an ankh tattoo

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The Eye of Horus etched under an ankh tattoo

An ankh tattoo that looks like a rosary drawn as if it’s hanging from an Eye of Horus tattoo

Anubis with Ankh

The dog-headed god of the dead also makes a nice pair with an ankh tattoo. Aside from the cool vibe that it gives off, it is also a nice tattoo because of its representation – and that is power. He is also seen as the protector of graves. Hence, Anubis with an ankh tattoo designs can work well together with a memorial tattoo. Whether you just want a cool-looking tattoo or a memorial one, this tattoo combination is, needless to say, the best one for you. Take a look at these inspirations.

Anubis holding a crook and ankh

An ankh placed under Anubis’ head

A sketch style tattoo of Anubis holding an ankh

A chest tattoo of Anubis and an ankh

Anubis’ head with an ankh pendant

Another sketch style Anubis tattoo with an ankh symbol on top

Anubis holding a heart and an ankh

Osiris with Ankh

Speaking of the dead, another Egyptian god also often seen with an Ankh is Osiris. Osiris is also connected with the dead being the god of resurrection, underworld, and the judge of the dead. But he is also known as the god of fertility, agriculture, life, and vegetation. If you want these representations, here is a design that we can suggest.

A combination of Osiris, Eye of Horus, and crook and flail tattoos on the forearm

Ankh with Wings

You can also opt for a winged ankh. This can represent Isi, the Egyptian goddess who protects women and children and the healer of the sick. But it’s not always about Egyptian gods and goddesses. Wing tattoos can also represent freedom and your ability to liberate yourself from the shackles of whatever holds or binds you. Here are some ideas for such a combination.

A winged ankh with an Eye of Horus

A simple ankh tattoo with wings etched on the right wrist

Another simple winged ankh tattooed just below the nape

A winged tattoo with light rays on the nape

A winged ankh paired with different ancient Egyptian tattoo symbols

A golden ankh paired with a number of ancient Egyptian symbols

A winged ankh paired with Isis’ image

A sternum winged ankh tattoo

An intricately detailed winged ankh on the arm

An ankh paired with wings and a scarab

A winged ankh placed on the upper part of the back

Ankh with Flowers

Flowers are also meaningful designs for tattoos. Depending on their kind and color, flower tattoos have various meanings that will surely match all ankh tattoos ideas and meaning – aesthetically and figuratively speaking. And since flowers are often a symbol for femininity, you can also use it to make your ankh tattoo look more feminine if you want to. Here are some ideas.

An ankh tattoo made of leaves with a flower tattoo at its center

A combination of vine, ankh, and lotus tattoo designs

An ankh paired with cherry blossom tattoo

Roses wrapped around an ankh

An ankh made of a vine with flowers

An ankh paired with a rose and butterfly tattoo

A rose tattoo with an ankh on the side

Bastet with Ankh

For the cat lovers and Ancient Egyptian culture enthusiast, a Bastet tattoo with an ankh is what we recommend. But it’s not just because of its looks. Bastet is also a symbol of protection. Hence, if you want her protection too, this tattoo combination is something to consider. Here are some ideas on how you can combine them.

The Eye of Horus, ankh, lotus, scarab, wings, and Bastet combined

A dotwork tattoo of Bastet with the Eye of Ra, ankh, and geometric details

Bastet and Anubis together with a winged ankh and the Eye of Horus

Winged Bastet with an ankh collar

Another winged Bastet with an ankh collar but is etched on the sternum


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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