The black panther is the jewel in the crown of old school masculine tattooing. The snarling black panther is a classic American tattoo design: in a time where tattoos helped define an "identity," the black panther let everyone who saw it know that the wearer was a tough guy.
Its popularity waned over the years, thanks in part to Shotsie Gorman's NO BLACK PANTHERS stickers, as well as a general move away from traditional American tattooing. The panther is regaining popularity, riding the wave of the new "old school/new school" throwbacks. It is not uncommon to see the panther reinterpreted to suit the times.