In Thailand, everything is connected to Buddhist culture, including their traditional Sak Yant tattoos.
What is a Sak Yant tattoo?
Sak Yants the Thai name for the Tattooing of Sacred geometrical designs on the skin. Yant (or Yantra, as they are call them in the west), are normally tattooed by Buddhist monks, or Brahmin Holy men . The Yant tattoos have developed over the centuries under the influence of several different religious philosophies. The Yantra designs that already existed in Hindu India were adapted by the Thais as Buddhism arrived from neighboring India.
Sak Yant tattoos are given by monks or masters and are believed to bestow mystical powers. They have become a combination of Buddhism and art. Modern Sak Yant tattoos that are improved by senior monks are said to offer benefits such as wealth, luck, power or charisma.
Vice Asia followed A Long, an amulet dealer from Guangzhou, to visit some Sak Yant masters, he then visited the annual Wai Khru ceremony which turned out to be crazier than a metal music festival. The Sak Yant tattoo wearers come to the ceremony annually to pay tribute to their masters, many of them got ‘possessed’ by deities and went on a rampage, it was really a hardcore scene to see.