The wing tattoo depicted in the picture is indicative of an angel motif. An angel tattoo design is an overtly religious symbol while the angel wings by themselves may not necessarily be so. An angel is a symbol of devotion, spirituality and faith and signifies a strong relationship with God or the divine. Angels personify divine will and are the messengers of God. As tattoos, the angel wing design is often infused with inspirational or spiritual significance to the wearer. Angel wings in particular are often used as the centerpiece of a tattoo that is intended as a memorial to someone that the wearer has a close personal relationship or someone who has since died. The most common place for a wing tattoo to be placed is either above the heart, or more commonly on the back. That’s because wings on angels are always on their backs. While eagle wings often symbolize power and speed especially as it’s concerned with physical activity, angel wing tattoos are almost always a softer approach to the entire motif. While it’s not as popular as some other designs such as tribal or stars, wing tattoos are starting to gain in popularity.
The wing tattoo portrayed in the picture is one that often symbolizes a strong desire toward inner spirituality or the need for inner peace. Similar to angel wings because of the plumage, those who have bird wings on their backs are quick to point out the difference. These are generally people who celebrate spiritualism and the unknown powers of Mother Nature as tattoos. The wing design is often infused with inspirational or spiritual significance,as in the angel motif for instance, which is a symbol of guidance and protection. For those who dream of soaring the skies like a bird, the wing symbol takes on the feathery aspect of a bird. As a tattoo design it can reflect the power of the eagle or the lightness of the butterfly. In the ancient world, wings represented power and speed. Many statues and images from ancient civilizations depicted an animal, such as a lion or horse, sporting wings. The gods were sometimes "winged" as well, symbolizing their power to fly through the air. The Greek God Hermes had wings at his ankles, as did the Roman God, Mercury. Over the centuries, many of the ancient wing symbols were incorporated into modern cultures and religions.