As a tattoo design, the phoenix is probably the most visually spectacular form of body art.
The legend of the phoenix bird is known throughout the world, and has its origins in much of Europe, Middle East and Far East.
The basic symbolism of the phoenix is resurrection and rebirth by fire.
Although the legend is the same worldwide, there are subtle differences.
According to ancient Greek legends, the phoenix bird lived in Arabia next to a watering well. At dawn, it would bath and the Greek sun god Apollo would stop his chariot specifically to listen to its song.
The Lebanese claim the phoenix as central to their culture, whether it is ancient or modern. As descendants of the Phoenicians, they see themselves as "Sons of the Phoenix". This legend holds particular significance to Beirut, which was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times in its history.
In Persian legends, the phoenix is known as Huma or the 'bird of paradise'. This bird consumed itself in a ball of fire only to rise again from the ashes. It was considered a bird of compassion, and would bring great fortune by a simple touch.
In ancient Egypt, the legend was known as bennu. This bird created itself from fire emanating from a holy tree. It was believed that this bird carried the soul of Ra the sun god.
Jewish legends state the phoenix was the only bird or animal for that matter not to follow man in his banishment from Paradise (Garden of Eden)
Chinese and Japanese legends
In Chinese legends, the phoenix was known as "Fenghuang". This bird is the second most respected legendary creature. Only the dragon is more respected. The phoenix is used to represent the empress and was as the leader of birds.
The Japanese word for phoenix is "Fushichō". It is known as "Immortal Bird".
The phoenix holds a rich diversity of meanings and beliefs, not to mention a beautiful design for body art.