Tiger symbolism represents power, majesty, and independence. The large cat is found in the ancient folklore and mythology of many cultures and is native to South and Southeast Asia, China, and Eastern Russia.

What Does a Tiger Symbolize?


The tiger symbolizes confidence. The animal exudes confidence in their habitat since they have no rivals.

Tigers can remind us that even if you aren’t feeling the most confident in a situation, act as if you are confident. You can fake it till you make it.


Because tigers are solitary animals, they symbolize independence. They only come together when it is time to mate or when a female tiger is raising her young. Once a tiger kitten reaches about two old, they venture off to live their own life independently.


The tiger is an apex predator, and therefore, it is a symbol of strength. They are known as one of the “big cats” in the animal kingdom, along with lions, jaguars, leopards, and panthers, and they have no rivals in their natural habitats.


Tigers are symbolic of majesty. Because the tiger is an apex predator, they are considered to be the king of all animals.

They are thought to bow to no one. The tiger reminds us to respect our self-worth, as well as others.


Even though the tiger is associated with death as an apex predator, it’s also associated with immortality. In some ancient Asian cultures, the tiger was viewed as having the power to transform from human to animal and spirit.


The tiger is a symbol of protection because they are ferocious while defending their territory. They are known to stand their ground. In addition, the tiger doesn’t tolerate those who don’t respect its boundaries and what belongs to them. In many Asian cultures, they are symbols of protection.


The tiger symbolizes cunning and shrewdness. Not only are tigers stealthy hunters, but they are primarily nocturnal, and they hunt and live on their own. Therefore, a tiger has to be able to think for themselves. Since the tiger lives on its own, it is also extremely independent.

Tiger Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings


There are many stories and legends regarding tigers in China, as tigers are highly revered. Chinese culture views the tiger as one of four superintelligent creatures. In Chinese folklore, the tiger was viewed as a pillar of justice.

In ancient China, the tiger was symbolic of the protection of goodness, as well as the destruction of evil. Zhang Daoling, the founder of Taoism, was depicted as riding a tiger. The tiger helped Daoling destroy demons so that he would be able to ascend to the heavens.

The Year of the Tiger

The Year of the Tiger is considered a time for change, adventure, and possibly taking a risk or two in Eastern Astrology. Those who are born in the Year of the Tiger are thought to be ambitious, competitive, and naturally courageous. They are also generous and loving, as they want the best for people. The Year of the Tiger takes place every 12 years.

Hindu Mythology

In India, the tiger is revered, and the country is partially known for its tiger worship. Some of the ancient Indian cultures believed that they were the descendants of the animal. For many in India, the tiger is thought to symbolize strength and regeneration. The tiger holds significant positions of power within the Hindu tradition.

Naga Tiger Legend

The Naga People have a tiger legend that tells the story of three brothers. The three brothers were born from the union of the Earth and the Sky.

One brother was a human, the second was a spirit, and the third brother was a tiger. Once the man and the tiger began to fight, the spirit brother remained neutral.

If the man was able to outwit his brother, the tiger was forced to retreat to the forest, which made the spirit brother. In the end, the man loses his connection to the tiger brother and to his spirit brother.


Eastern Russia and the Indigenous Peoples of Siberia consider the tiger to be a protective spirit. They call the tiger the guardian of the forest as he keeps nature in balance while keeping the forest healthy.

Korean Mythology

According to a Korean legend, a tiger and a bear once desired to become human beings. The bear succeeded, whereas the tiger didn’t, as he wasn’t able to achieve his goals. The Joseon Dynasty left behind about 635 records of tigers. One record was a Sansindo painting that depicts the guardian of a mountain riding a tiger or leaning on one. The tiger was considered a messenger, as well as an errand runner for the mountain’s guardian.

Japan Mythology

The myth of Gokotai-Yoshimitsu is one of the most prominent Japanese myths relating to the tiger. Gokotai-Yoshimitsu was a tanto dagger that was wielded by a Japanese envoy. The man was sent to Ming, China, where he, alongside his found themselves surrounded by five tigers. The envoy drew Gokotai-Yoshimitsu, which made the tigers back off.


You can find temples in Vietnam that have been dedicated to the tiger. The Vietnamese also adorn their temples with tiger statues in order to keep evil spirits out of sacred places.

It is thought that Vietnam’s tiger worship might have begun out of fear. There are records that show how tigers sometimes raided Vietnamese settlements, which led to people fearing and respecting the animal. The fear grew into the reverence the Vietnamese have for the lion today.

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