The sacred tattoo, Buddha tattoo or Yantra tattoo, which is very common in Thailand, where it`s called Sak Yant, let many Westerners shake their heads, but most Asian people are very superstitious and believe in a lot of things, which are out of the common for foreigners.

Sak means tattoo, whilst Yant means Yantra, a mystical ornament. There are lots of designations for this “holy tattoos”, like Buddha tattoo, sacred tattoo, brahmin tattoo, Sanskrit tattoo, blessed tattoo, temple tattoo or Buddhist tattoo. A Buddha tattoo (Sak Yant) has to be made by a Buddhist monk, a Brahmin (Brahman) priest or a scholar, in Thailand called ajarn. The words on the tattoos are mostly written in Sanskrit, the old language of the Brahmin, in the Khmer writing, the ancient Lanna script or in Laos in the Lao Tham script. People in Asia believe this tattoos will make them invulnerable and give them strength, this is why “Buddha tattoos” are very popular with Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) fighters. In general Sak Yant should protect its wearer, bring prosperity and good health and ward off evil and hardship.

The ancient designs are often modified for personal needs and are traditionally tattooed with a bamboo stick (mai sak) or a metal spike (khem sak). The used tattoo-ink is often self-made from stones and minerals and should support muscles and bones. Sak Yant has became very popular as Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie got a Yant tattooed by Thai Sak Yant master Ajarn Noo. Whilst most Yantra tattooists work on a donation basis, prices for a Buddha tattoo made by Ajarn Noo exceeds a 1000.- US$ nowadays. Yantra tattooes are, without doubt, no fashion tattooes. Whilst finished, the tattoo is blessed and rubbed with a secret herbal oil. According to the chosen design, its wearer has from now on follow a few rules or the Yant will loose its power. Some of the most common rules are, no bad speech, restrain from drugs and don`t harm living beings.

Buddha Tattoo , Sak Yant, Sacred Tattoo
Photography © Asian
Image: Buddha Tattoo , Sak Yant, Sacred Tattoo
Photographer: Kitisak “Nat” Jaidee

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