Sak Yants, The Traditional Tattoos of Thailand

Gao Yord Sak Yant by Thai Sacred Tattoos

Around 10 years before I got my first tattoo, I wasn’t at a point of even considering or looking for potential tattoo artists. To be honest, I pretty much forgot about the early ink I saw on people around me and those designs which appealed to me. Then I came across a Thai movie which was just released (Yamada: The Samurai Of Ayothaya), and it featured what was to become my introduction to traditional Thai tattooing, otherwise known as Sak Yant.

At the time I was working a job which did not allow for me to afford the cost of the trip or the tattoo itself but my interest in receiving a tattoo was freshly sparked by this discovery. There was one apprehension I had though, what if I made the trip out there and discovered that my pain threshold was low and that I would not be able to go through the entire process? I had no idea what to expect in terms of the level of pain or discomfort, but my mind had been made up. I wanted this style of traditional tattoo and 10 years later I was on a plane to Bangkok to make it a reality. It was also around this time that I started discovering the traditional tattoo styles from many cultures around the world, I had no idea that tattooing had such an extensive history and I spent many hours researching the designs and methods of these cultures and what tattooing meant to each of them. An excellent resource for historical tattoos is the book Ancient Ink by Lars Krutak as well as the documentary series he produced.

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