Ensô Circle Tattoo

Denk including the following with this photo of his first tattoo..

This is my new tattoo! I got it done by Denis at the Aloha Tattoo Studio in Karlsruhe, South Germany.

It’s an incomplete circle inked in the likeness of a brush drawing. These brush circles are called “ensô” in Japanese and are one of the central symbols of Zen. The English Wikipedia article on the ensô describes its symbolism pretty well: “Ensô 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.

I chose the ensô not only because of its 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 the corner of my room, crying and hugging my knees!

See more in Religious and Mythological Tattoos (Tattoos)

35 thoughts on “Ensô Circle Tattoo

  1. seeehr sehr schick. ich finds genau richtig, auch wo es platziert ist. hat was beruhigendes wenn man s anschaut. also , daumen hoch:)

  2. Its just beautiful.
    Its because of enso I love japanese calligraphy. Each sign seems to be perfect, but because of enso each is original, personal, imperfect yet more interesting.
    And I also thought about ouroboros, which I think is a great symbol.
    Great job, and there’s nothing to be shy about ;) You should rather start not wearing any shirts and enjoy all those “ahs” and “ohs” around ;)

  3. yeah to #4 i totally agree, the fact that it is imperfect and styilized adds so much character to the piece, as opposed to a circle or a ouroboros design, i would actually consider an enso for future work

  4. I’m quite enjoying the “imperfect media” tattoos lately – both this and the brushwork Arabic piece, but also the ones that look like they were drawn in wax crayon, with the tiny breakouts in the lines.

    The fact that you KNOW these aren’t really done in such media but rather with a tattoo needle so that someone had to draw the stroke and all the imperfections, is very impressive.

  5. sehr schön. gute arbeit, gutes konzept, gute platzierung, mit gutem grund.

  6. this caught my eye…absolutely amazing. also kinda reminded me of an ocean wave. love it.

  7. I really like this tatoo, athough i must warn you that the game Okami (popular on the ps2 and wii) involves this as a technique (which makes sence seeing as it is based on brushstrokes) so be prepared to possibly be questioned about it? Other than that i think its absolutely amazing

  8. It reminds me of the Kabbalistic Sefirot of Da’ath because it is “feels” dark and has so much movement. I really love it.

  9. I’ve been planning on getting a couple of enso on my feet, only I’m making them a complete circle. I like the look of the complete circle ones better, plus they symbolize my outlook more thoroughly.

    I was going to get it on my chest, but I’m doing a huge scale mandala instead.

  10. I have an enso in this exact spot, roughly the same style and shape. Great taste!

  11. love it.. absolutely..
    im not sure if you’re aware, but the exact image u used for that, that originated in munich, was also used for the logo for the company named ‘enso associates’ out of sussex..
    either way, fukin love it, and dare say ill have to use that same image again..

  12. on closer inspection.. it originated from an artist in japan, but a dojo in sussex ALSO used it for their logo..
    lets here it for piracy.. :S

  13. I really love brush stroke look and “real media” look tattoos. This one is very striking and I really love it.

  14. Do a google image search for lucent technologies, u pretty much have their logo on ur back. I like your idea behind the artwork and i think it was done awesome.

  15. I like it, quite a bit. My only concern is that maybe at a later point in time, the owner will want a large tattoo that needs a bit of space…that the circle is occupying.

    But that’s always my worry with small tattoos.

  16. This is great. I’ve been planing to get and enso like this one , but smaller, as well as a mitsudomoe on my arm. The brush work is excellent, congrats.

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