The back has always struck me as the greatest place for a tattoo. As far as the human body is concerned the back is the closest thing to a canvas and gives an artist ample room to create a masterpiece. Enjoy this compilation of 100 provocative back tattoos and tell us what you think in the comments section.
Back and Neck
A piece located in the middle of the wearer’s back leads up to her neck. The design incorporates scroll-work and the edges of the tattoo resemble an oversimplified depiction of a feather.
Red ink is exclusively used to create the image of a rooster and a few falling feathers on the left side of the wearer’s back.
A black mandala bejeweled with gold stones wraps around the wearer’s shoulder blades and down the wearer’s back.
Dragon Back Piece
This large tattoo adorns the wearer’s back, arms, and buttocks with traditional coloring and images depicting a dragon.
The Vantage Point
A black tree runs up the left side of the wearer’s back with rightward running branches. A couple perches upon a branch and looks onto a purple sky and the moon. The right side of the tattoo has a myriad of images, the most prominent being a green marijuana leaf, and an illegible quote runs underneath the piece.
This back piece uses vivid colors to create a tapestry of images, including scrolls and stars, surrounding a pair butterfly wings centered on the wearer’s back. The piece leads to a trio of fairies depicted in black ink on the wearer’s lower back.
Cranes and Flowers
A Japanese Red-Headed Crane is depicted on the wearer’s back and is surrounded by a plethora of vividly colored flowers including lotuses. A few cartoon-styled panda bears adorn the piece as well and lay within the petals of flowers.
Black and Gray Stag
A black and gray stag is located in the center of the wearer’s back while the antlers ascend upward and wrap around the wearer’s shoulder blades. The bottom of the piece is embellished by a star and a pair of wings located on the wearer’s lower back.
Stylized Wings and Graffiti
The top half of the wearer’s back is covered in a stylized pair of wings that incorporate scroll and line-work to create a bold, black pattern in the center of the wings. The lower half of the wearer’s back is covered in a graffiti-style piece that uses negative space to emphasize the letters.
Black and Gray Indian Goddess
The cracked statue of an Indian goddess is pictured on the wearer’s back. The image is adorned with flowers and a strip of cloth that runs across the statue’s face.
A black dragon runs up the right side of the wearer’s back and breathes fire onto a silhouette of foliage pictured on the wearer’s left shoulder blade.
A lotus flower is tattooed between the wearer’s shoulder blades in black ink. The flower is framed by a pair of arcing shapes and grows upward toward the base of the wearer’s neck.
Black, red, and gray is used to create an image that utilizes tribal styling and is centered around a design that resembles the face of a clock.
If you can draw your attention away from this woman’s intoxicatingly beautiful eyes you’ll notice her tribal inspired back and shoulder tattoo that uses scrolled designs and negative space to emphasize the imagery.
Corset and Roses
A black corset wraps around the wearer’s torso and sports gold embellishments as well as red laces. Trios of roses are depicted above and beneath the corset and bring out the color contained in the corset.
Black and Gray Rooster
A rooster is rendered in black ink on the left side of the wearer’s back. The bird’s feathers descend down the left side of the wearer’s back and leads to a design across the wearer’s lower back.
Rose Growing through a Skull
A vibrant red rose grows through a black and gray skull and small rosebuds are shown in the eye-socket of the skull.
Japanese Geisha Girl
This black and gray tattoo shows a geisha girl in a silk robe twirling an umbrella over her shoulder.
Rooster Back Piece
A black and gray tattoo illustrates a rooster and a flower over rolling waves.
A cartoon-style portrait of a girl with flowing hair is surrounded by an ornate gold frame that has a in the bottom center.
A raven is depicted flapping it’s wings on the wearer’s right shoulder blade. The raven’s wings wrap around the wearer’s left shoulder blade while the tail descends the wearer’s back.
The branch of a cherry tree runs across the wearer’s shoulder blades and down the left side of the wearer’s back.
A Koi fish is the centerpiece in this tattoo that utilizes a blue and purple color palette. The tattoo also includes images of a pagoda at the end of a long flight of steps and a lotus flower.
A pair of black and gray wings have a gold scroll that runs across the wearer’s shoulder blades.
A black and gray pair of bird’s wings runs down the wearer’s back. The piece starts near the wearer’s shoulders and leads down to her buttocks.
Stars are incorporated into a design located on the wearer’s lower back and the piece utilizes hot pink to emphasize two of the stars.
Symbols down the Spine
A series of Chinese characters runs down the wearer’s spine. The characters are represented in black ink.
An elaborate pattern covers 3/4 of the wearer’s back in this intricately detailed black tattoo.
Roses with Black Leaves
A pair of red roses with black leaves adorns the wearer’s left shoulder blade.
A pair of tribal inspired curved designs start on the wearer’s sides, just above the hips, and wrap around onto the wearer’s back and around the shoulder blades.
Overlapping diamond shapes start at the base of the wearer’s neck and the diamond shapes are embellished with circles in this black tattoo.
Black Tree Silhouette
A black tree starts at the wearer’s lower right back, the tree’s trunk runs up the wearer’s back and the branches cover top half of the wearer’s torso.
This obscure collections of images pictures the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus. The black and gray tattoo also illustrates a Ferris wheel, a portrait of a mustachioed skeleton, a circus tent, and a group of roses that run along the bottom of the piece.
A black Thunderbird is centered on the wearer’s back and the wings wrap up around the wearer’s shoulder blades.
A vividly colored landscape is tattooed on the wearer’s upper back and pictures a lush field with a stream, a bridge over the stream, a thriving tree, butterflies floating through the air, and a mountain in the background.
Six Guns and Wings
A pair of black angel wings run down the wearer’s back and the top of the wings are adorned with a pair of revolvers near the wearer’s shoulder blades.
Eye in the Mandala
A blacked-out mandala shows an eye in the middle and leads to a stem that supports five leaves.
I Have No Idea…
I have no idea what this tattoo is depicting, if you know, please tell me in the comments section below.
All Seeing Eye, Eye of Rah, and a Dream Catcher
An eye contained in a triangle tops this black tattoo while a triangle containing a symbol is flanked by an eye of Rah on either side. Underneath the second triangle a dream catcher and feathers dangle.
Stylized Bird over a Red Swirl
A stylized depiction of a bird is rendered in black, gray, blue, and green over a red swirl. Just above the bird’s head, near the base of the wearer’s neck, a circular symbol is illustrated in black ink.
Multiple Dream Catchers
This black and gray tattoo shows a necklace wrapping around the wearer’s shoulder, two dream catchers and a couple of feathers dangle from the necklace and down the wearer’s back.
A black and gray rope-wrapped anchor is pictured at the base of the wearer’s neck.
A myriad of images are depicted across the wearer’s back. The tattoo includes images like diamonds and flowers and splashes of vivid colors make the piece pop.
This black and gray tattoo depicts a rose bush that sprouts from the wearer’s lower back and ascends up to her shoulders.
Half Circles over Shoulder Blades
Black half circles with an interior pattern have a series of triangles that protrude from the rounded side and adorn the wearer’s shoulder blades.
The shape of a butterfly is created by clumping together asterisks in this black tattoo that sits between the wearer’s shoulder blades.
Unfinished Ode to the Day of the Dead
This intricate piece shows two winged skulls painted in a Day of the Dead style top. Underneath the skulls a heart shaped locket sits above an un-shaded hourglass and a trio of roses. Scrolls come descend below the roses and are embellished with a few nautical stars.
A black mandala pattern starts at the base of the wearer’s back and descends down to the middle of her back.
Black Butterflies and Sheet Music
This black tattoo shows a pair of daisies growing over a bar of music and butterflies ascending from the lower back and up the wearer’s back to the wearer’s shoulder.
A black tribal style design is located on the wearer’s lower back, the design is centered around a circle with three overlapping sections.
The wearer’s right shoulder blade shows a black portrait of a girl watching her heart shaped balloon float into the distance. The concept and execution of this tattoo create a powerful image with simple design.
A lotus flower with a mandala pattern is rendered in black ink between the wearer’s shoulder blades in this tattoo.
Traditional Eagle and Roses
Lightning strikes over a traditionally styled and colored eagle clasping a pearl necklace in it’s talons covers 3/4 of the wearer’s back. Red and white roses are pictured underneath the eagle and the tattoo is tied together by a purplish cloud.
Skulls and Roses
Roses and skulls are pictured down the length of the wearer’s back starting at her right shoulder blade and traveling down to her right hip.
Quill Pen turning into Butterflies
A small boy is pictured writing with a quill pen, the peak of the quill pen is shown turning into butterflies that ascend over the wearer’s shoulder, the piece is highlighted with oranges, reds, and yellows.
Black Mandala Pattern
This elaborate black tattoo imitates a mandala pattern in the middle of the wearer’s back.
The flamboyant peacock is depicted in full color in the center of the wearer’s back. A banner sports a quote at the top of the piece while a few flowers add a flourish to the bottom.
Raven in a Tree
This beautiful piece has a great sense of depth as it depicts a raven perched in a tree with a trunk that resembles a skull.
Eagle and the Eye of Rah
This black and gray piece, depicted on the wearer’s left shoulder blade, shows an eagle wrapping it’s wings around an elaborate illustration of the Eye of Rah.
Blood’s Thicker than Water
The wearer’s left shoulder blade is adorned with a heart embellished with a set of horns and a devil tail. A quote reading, “Thicker Than Water,” is inked inside of the heart as red, white, and blue blood drops fall from the devil tail.
Angel Wings and an Elaborate Lower Back Design
Black and gray angel wings adorn the wearer’s back, starting at the wearer’s shoulder blades and descending down to the wearer’s hips. An elaborate design is pictured in the middle of the wearer’s lower back between the wings and is depicted in black ink.
A black and gray mandala is located on the back of the wearer’s neck and descends onto the wearer’s back, falling just short of the wearer’s shoulder blades.
Stylized Geisha Girl Portrait
A stylized portrait of a Geisha girl is depicted on the upper half of the wearer’s back. The portrait subject is pictured with puckered lips, a crown, and a plethora of linear objects sticking out of her hair.
Flock of Silhouettes
The black silhouettes of a flock of birds is shown flying across the wearer’s back, starting underneath the wearer’s right armpit and ending near the wearer’s left shoulder.
A nude humanoid woman with shelves in her chest and right thigh is depicted on the right side of the wearer’s back and a red flame flares up behind the figure.
This striking piece depicts an angel in black and gray ink in the middle of the wearer’s back. The angel is doubled over and rubbing it’s shin while it’s wings stretch outward over the wearer’s shoulder blades.
Two goldfish are depicted on the left side of the wearer’s lower back. An orange goldfish sits above a black bubble-eyed goldfish and both fish swim downwards. Notice how the negative space creates the detail in the black fish, inexperienced artists will lay down an overwhelming amount of black that makes a primarily black piece look like an amorphous blob.
Base of the Neck Mandala
A black and gray mandala with lotus flower embellishments is located at the base of the wearer’s neck between the wearer’s shoulder blades. The lotus petals ascend up the wearer’s neck and contain an ornate cross-hatched pattern.
Pine Tree Vignette
A pine tree is depicted over a black circle between the wearer’s shoulder blades in this simple, but appealing, tattoo.
A hyper-realistic zipper is pictured running the length of the wearer’s spine. The top half of the zipper is open and reveals another open zipper beneath. While this piece is creative and well-done, most people will not find it particularly attractive.
An elaborate design that utilizes scrolls and line-work is located between the wearer’s shoulder blades and depicted in black ink.
Abstract Tree Outline
A black outline of a tree is depicted on the lower half of the wearer’s back and shows a series of Egyptian symbols running up the trunk.
Full Color Birds on a Tree Limb
This vividly colored piece depicts a tree limb, rich with foliage, and two realistically colored birds on the wearer’s back.
Elephant with Mandala Pattern
A simplified outline of an elephant, pictured in black ink between the wearer’s shoulder blades, is filled with a mandala pattern in this tattoo.
A black crescent moon is depicted between the wearer’s shoulder blades.
A series of circles runs down the wearer’s spine. The circles are gradually filled with more black ink until the center circle is filled in completely. At that point the circles contain gradually less ink until the bottom circle is completely empty.
This piece depicts an opulent design is illustrated between the wearer’s shoulder blades in black ink.
A lopsided triangle encapsulates a simplified portrayal of a mountainscape with a flower emitting rays of light replacing the sun above the mountains.
Panda Head with Mandala Pattern
Black ink is used to illustrate the head of a Panda bear covered in a mandala pattern between the wearer’s shoulder blades.
Bow with Initial
A bow, depicted in black ink at the base of the wearer’s neck, is embellished with the initial “S” on the piece of cloth that hangs down the right side.
Full Color Shoulder Blade Pieces
The portrait of a woman in a head wrap, sun hat, and day of the dead face paint is depicted in a myriad of colors on the wearer’s left shoulder blade. The right shoulder blade displays a vividly colored bouquet of flowers and pearls are used to embellish both pieces.
Masquerade Portrait with Roses
This full length back piece is created using black and gray ink and shows a woman in a masquerade mask above a pair of hyper-realistic roses and a group of butterflies.
Stylized Sun and Crescent Moon
A sun and crescent moon are depicted with faces, in black ink, between the wearer’s shoulder blades in this tattoo. The rays of light are detailed by a vertical line dividing the lines with blank space on one side and line-work on the other side.
An extensive color palette is used to create a series of colorful snowflakes that utilize gradient coloring on the wearer’s lower back.
An acoustic guitar is illustrated on the wearer’s back with the bridge located near the wearer’s lower back and the neck and strings of the guitar ascending upward onto the wearer’s neck.
A lotus flower is embellished with a mandala pattern and hanging beads. The tattoo is depicted in black ink between the wearer’s shoulder blades.
The word, “Parasite,” is inked on a banner that wraps around an old-school microphone with red bird wings, a pair of blue roses sits beneath the banner in this scatter-brained tattoo.
Full Length Back Mandala
A black and gray mandala pattern is depicted over the entirety of the wearer’s back in this highly detailed tattoo. I can only imagine how expensive this piece was given the size and detail required to create the piece.
Root Side Up
This black tattoo, depicted at the base of the wearer’s neck, shows an upside down tree with upward facing roots.
A collection of symbols are enclosed in a circle located between the wearer’s shoulder blades. The piece is depicted in black and the symbols look reminiscent to the symbols shown on electrical diagrams.
“I am the architect of my own Destruction.”
“I am the architect of my own Destruction,” a quote from the Prince of Persia video game franchise, is depicted between the wearer’s shoulder blades in black ink.
A white mandala is depicted between the wearer’s shoulder blades in this vivid tattoo.
Celtic Cross and Marijuana Leaves
A Celtic cross is created using interwoven lines and the points of the cross are embellished with marijuana leaves. The tattoo uses black, gray, and green ink and is located between the wearer’s shoulder blades.
There’s a Lot Going On
A myriad of tattoos are depicted in black and gray on the wearer’s back in this photo. Diamond encrusted brass knuckles adorn the wearer’s lower back and are accompanied by a pair of revolvers with a gun on either side of the diamond studded weaponry. In stark contrast to the instruments of death located on the wearer’s back we see a pair of angel wings running along the wearer’s shoulder blades with a star design located in the center.
An owl, depicted in black and gray ink, is illustrated on the upper half of the wearer’s back in this tattoo.
Tribal Stamp with Heart Shape
A red heart is located in the center of the wearer’s lower back and is accentuated by black tribal designs on either side.
Black and gray flowers are tattooed on the right side of the bottom half of the wearer’s back in this photo.
A design using bold lines and shapes is depicted between the wearer’s shoulder blades in this tattoo.
Black and Gray Dragon
A dragon, depicted in black and gray, adorns the wearer’s left shoulder blade as the tail of the beast runs down the wearer’s back and curls at the end.