Thai Tattoo

Symbolism of the Traditional Thai Tattoo: 3 Things You Didn’t Know

Tattooing has a large and deep history in Thailand, and the traditional Thai tattoo known as Sak Yant is the perfect example of it.

This art began several centuries ago in Buddhist temples where monks would get tattooed religious texts using bamboo. Likewise across history soldiers came to temples in order to be tattooed and be blessed with spells of vitality, strength, protection and invisibility.

The traditional Thai tattoo is more than simply beautiful as it carries a strong and important symbolism. This article will take care of sharing 3 things you didn’t know about it, so let’s start!

#1 – It Is Meant To Be Powerful:

As you can understand from the introduction the Sak Yant tattoo is more than simply beautiful and exotic, it carries plenty of meaning and it was very important for warriors across centuries, that’s why monks had the job of tattooing them in order to get them ready for battle.

Thailand was the unique country in Southeast Asia that never got conquered by Europeans. Not in vain Thailand is known as “the Land of the Free”, and it is popular to say that it is because Thailand is guarded by ghost warriors who cannot be defeated nor seen by the enemy thanks to their protective Sak Yant tattoos.

Legends also say that if the person who receives the tattoo gets it from the best tattoo master, then that person will be able to ward off bullets.

As you can see this kind of tattoo is very special, and if you come to Bangkok, then you should visit All Day Tattoo. There are many designs where to choose from.

#2 – It Goes Beyond the Ink:

Traditional Thai tattooists agree that a decorative tattoo doesn’t have any kind of power or protection, because the process of getting a Sak Yant tattoo goes beyond simply inking your skin, as it is accompanied by chants and prayers which are concluded when the tattoo is done.


If you are up to doing it the traditional way, then you might want to give bamboo tattooing a try. Just be aware that it is very painful, but according to traditional tattooists it is completely worth it, as it will transfer powers and protection to you.

So, if you want to get the full advantages of the Sak Yant, then get it the traditional way.

#3 – Different Designs Have Different Meanings:

There are hundreds over hundreds of different designs. Here you have some of them:

  1. Yant Bpanjamukhee (five-faced shiva yant)
  2. Yant Pahung
  3. Four Spires Yantra
  4. Yant Maha Amnaj
  5. Square Yantra

The Yant Bpanjamukhee for example has a strong symbolism. This particular five-faced emanation of Shive is known under the name of “Bpanjamukhee Arokapay”, which is used to protect the person from dangers and illness.

Then we have the Square Yantra, which uses a mix of sacred geometry, numerology and incantations. And when we talk about this kind then we can always divide it into different groups:

Buddhist, Brahman, Necromantic and Animist. These last two put more emphasis on sacred geometry and incantation and less on numerology.

Final Words:

As you can see the traditional Thai tattoo is more complex than it seems. It has plenty of history, variety and a strong symbolism.

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