What is the meaning of a Japanese Hannya Mask Tattoo?
Hannya masks were gendered as female and were traditionally found in Japanese theatre. She represented a blood-thirsty, jealous demon. She was the embodiment of the lost souls of women who lost their battle to bitterness, jealousy, and, worse, obsession.
The Hannya mask is said to be able to depict the complexity of human emotions. The Hannya showcased different expressions at different angles; if a person looks directly into the mask, you would be met with a resentful, angry expression, but if a person looks at the mask when it is angled down, one would be met with overwhelming feelings of sorrow and pity.
Of course, we can see why they make fantastic tattoos to work with; there is great room for play and experimentation.
I took a deep dive on the internet and found some of the best Hannya Mask Tattoos I have ever seen.
1. Black Work Hannya Spider Tattoo
The first one on the list is this spectacular twist on a hannya mask tattoo with the added spider imagery! This is a very impressive tattoo at first glance; the line work is the most remarkable part of this work of art.
My favorite feature of this piece is the play on imagery; I love that the spider’s body is the hannya mask.
2. Split Turquoise Traditional Hannya Mask Tattoo
Coming in hot at number two, we have another beautiful take on a hannya mask! The imagery used here is out of this world; I like the split hannya look to the tattoo.
My favorite feature on this badass piece of work are the bright, vibrant colours; this has impressed me beyond words.
3. Black Work Realism Hannya Tattoo
Someone call the cops quickly! A painting has been stolen from The Lourve… I’m just kidding! This was my first impression of this masterpiece when I took my first glance.
The skill and artistic ability of this tattooer is unquestionable. I love the realistic approach to this piece, I am awe-stricken.
My favorite part about this tattoo (If I must pick a favorite part) is the imagery of the hannya wearing another upon its head; this gives the tattoo an intriguing and mysterious feeling.
The shadows cased underneath the top hannya is mind-blowing; the shading in this tattoo is unmatched by any other hannya I have seen.
4. Realistic Geisha And Hannya Mask Tattoo
Right away you can tell that this tattooer is artistic and harnesses impressive creative abilities; I love the realistic technique used for this hannya.
The imagery used is unique too, the artist has enhanced the feminine qualities by making her eyelashes long and fluffy while capturing a sultry expression coming from her eyes; this tattoo encapsulates the feminine essense perfectly.
I love the that the sultry gaze of ter Geisha juxtaposes the leering expression hannya… I am afraid if I look to long she will jump out and bite me!
5. Hannya And Crocodile Tattoo
I know a custom piece when I see one! This tattoo appears to by symbolic to its wearer, which is something I admire.
The play on imagery is great, I love that it when I look at this piece it feels like I have been set back in time, fighting in a battle during the Asian Dynasty… who would have thought a tattoo would give somebody the ability to time travel!
What grabs my attention the most is the pop of red colour in the ropes, and hannyas eyes; this ia what brings the tattoo together as a whole. The line work is incredibly sharp and clean; overall this tattoo is a ten out of ten!
6. Traditional Frog Wearing A Hannya Mask Flash Tattoo
Seems as though I spoke too soon! Coming in at number six we have a unique traditional rendition of a hannya mask.
The part that I admire most about this tattoo is how the tattooer carried out the traditional technique throughout the entire tattoo; I have mad respect for this artist.
My favourite part about this tattoo is the amount of crativity that went into this piece; there is nothing better than seeing a creative mind at work!
The colour palette is phenomenal and the ink has been packed into the skin perfectly. Now this is a tattoo I battle to keep my eyes off of!
7. Fine Line Split Hannya Mask Tattoo
I have found some wonderful pieces for this list, I must say. This is another unique twist to a hannya tattoo that I haven’t seen before! What makes this tattoo different from the rest is the fine line technique it has been created with, I dig it!
The imagery in this piece is something that stands out to me; I the split hannya mask can symbolise the two parts that dwell within each person… and you never know which side you will provoke at any given moment!
The line work brings this tattoo together to make it appear soft, which is a nice take.
8. Colourful Japanese Hannya Knife Tattoo
I have been itching to write about this piece since I first layed my eyes on it! Well, I am sure we can all collectively agree that the colours in this tattoo are out-of-this-world good!
I personally only have black work on myself, but this knife tattoo has given me other ideas.
The imagery with the hannya nestled into the blade of the knife is creative and brave. I appreciate the amount of time and effort the artist put into creating this piece.
This is not an easy piece to tattoo and the artist made it look effortless. I love the turquoise and pink flowers, this creates a tropical look to the entire piece!
9. Snake Scale Hannya Mask Tattoo
Oh would you look at that, it’s another spectacular custom design! The imagery of the snake scales in the face make the tattoo appear even more daunting! I wouldn’t want to come accross that guy in a dark alleyway…
My favourite part about this tattoo is the number of different colors the artist used; this gives the tattoo character and different from the rest.
10. Split Hannya Foot Tattoo
Beauty is pain they say, and this stands correct for this tattoo. Yikes! Although the tattoo is stunning, I just know the client was dying inside… It is worth is for sure.
My favourite part about this tattoo is the imagery; the artist and client must have come together to work on this marvelous custom design, the split hannya mask placed symmetrically on each foot is a winner for me. The line work is bold, and strong; holding true to it’s traditional roots.
11. Black Work Hannya And Flames Tattoo
This might be the most exciting and unique hannya mask I have ever seen! I love the tribal imagery the artist used for this piece as opposed to traditional imagery; this is a fearless take on a hannya, and the artist has pulled it off well.
What stands out to me the most is the block shading technique used here; this gives the tattoo a completely different feel, which I love. This tattoo has inspired me so much that I wouldn’t mind getting a full patch work tattoo sleeve in this style. Descisons, descsions…
12. Samurai Hannya Tattoo
Taking a break from all the fierce and bold hannyas on this list, we have ourselves an interesting and simple take on a hannya.
The imagery catches the eye and makes me think what the deeper meaning behind this samurai wearing the hannya mask is. Can you take a guess?
The best feature of this piece are the clean lines. The lack of shading adds more to the simplicity of the tattoo, and on the contrary, makes it appear more bold.
13. Hannya Pennywise Tattoo
This tattoo has to be one of the most artistic takes on a hannya mask on this list. The ability to see pennywise as the hannya is remarkable, and very difficult to execute well; but this artist has proven us wrong.
The line work and shading are impeccable and have clearly been done by an artist with many years behind his belt.
The part that impresses me even more is how well the white ink has been packed into the skin. Overall, this is a brilliant work of art created by a seasoned tattooer.
14. Hannya Mask Beetle Tattoo
Just when I think I have seen the most creative, jaw-dropping design I seem to be proven wrong! The more you look at this tattoo, the more you see the artists creative ability to play on imagery… I actually feel a bit jealous!
My favourite feature about this piece are the two braids as the beetles hind legs; this artist has the gift of creativity that’s for sure.
15. Hannya Mask Hand Tattoo
The tattoo has been done so professionally I almost have my suspicions it’s a sticker! This client definitely made the right choice by picking a good artist for their hand tattoo.
I love the deranged, almost frantic expression the artist captured in the hannyas face; this is another guy I wouldn’t want to see alone in an alleyway!
Clearly we can see that the lines are phenomenal and the shading is unreal; I appreciate an artist who is well practiced and takes pride in their work.
Lastly, the red ink that is placed in the upper area of the mask is what makes the beserk expression on the hannya come to life; just like in a cartoon, if the character is angry. steam will be pouring out of his ears and his face red with rage.
16. New-School Hannya Mask Tattoo
Hmmm… I wonder what stands out the most about this piece, can you guess?
Well, you are correct in saying its the bold lamborghini purples and pinks! I am impressed that the artist managed to give the tattoo a three-dimensonal look; this is very hard to do, and on top of it all off it is done in a realistic way. Bravo to this artist!
17. Double Hannya Mask Tattoo Outline
Two is always better than one, and I will stand by that saying until the day I die! Immediately my attention is drawn to the exceptional line work; this tattoo looks like it has come straight out of a printer, and that is impressive.
My favourite feature is the double hannya mask imagry; these masks are balanced out by the blacked out circle between their horns.
18. Mandala Hannya Mask Tattoo
Using the split imagery of a hannya mask allows you freedom to fill in the gaps however you’d like’ this artist used geometic dot work mandala imagery with a touch of floral to finish it off!
The design was created by a professional with a keen, artistic eye for symmetry and balance. My favorite part about this tattoo is the whip-shading in the Hanna masks and flowers; you can see the whips perfectly!
19. Black Work Hannya Knife Tattoo
We had a colourful knife on this list, so I had to add a blackwork piece! This Hannya mask has an evil expression, with a soulless stare that penetrates deeply.
I love the simplistic approach the artist took with this piece; it has just the right amount of detail to maintain that powerful expression.
The line work here is particularly good; they hold the tattoo together, contributing to that sinister glare from the hannya.
20. Hannya Mask Tattoo Sleeve
Last but certainly not least, we have an entire hannya sleeve tattoo.
This tattoo has been done uniquely; the artist has managed to lessen the hue of the colors to make the tattoo appear softer. It feels as though the hannya blends in with the skin of the client… only coming out to strike when you least expect it, so you better watch your back!
My favorite part about this tattoo is the overall design and play on imagery; the colors are spaced well and packed with an artistic hand.
The snake at the top of the hannyas head is an excellent addition to this badass piece as it also creates a good feeling of balance.
21. Japanese Mask With Sword Tattoo
Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world game released in 2020 that follows a Samurai protecting the island of Tsushima. It has a dedicated fan base, and this reddit user got some visuals of the game tattooed on his left forearm. Beautiful work!