Watching Your Back

Thai Tattoos

Inking a temple on your back?

Each of the different Sak Yant tattoo designs is said to carry a certain protection or charm. Many Thais and non-Thais alike, believe that when a design like this is inked onto your skin by a Buddhist monk, you would be imbued with that protection of a temple. Like amulets, Sak Yant tattoos need to be blessed before they can exert their powers.

Some designs are meant to give the owner the power to charm a lover or become wealthy while others offer protection against enemies. I’m not sure how to tell them apart, but in Thailand, charm often has more to do with physical attraction and emotional bribery than magic.

Chan Joon Yee’s book on tattoos Leaving The Pain Behind

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