Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Posts tagged religion

Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos – A Secret Tradition Goes Global

My article in this month’s InDepth Magazine on Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos with images by Aroon Thaewchatturat, co-author and photographer of Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos, the first English language book to look at Sak Yant. On a sultry Monday morning, Ajarn Neng Onnut’s studio, known locally as a samnak, which sits tucked away in […]

Sacred tattoos in the Nikkei Asian Review

I just wrote a new article on Thailand’s sacred tattoos in the Nikkei Asian Review. Photographs by Aroon Thaewchatturat.

Sacred Tattoos and Secret Lifestyles

Last month, we had a visit from veteran tattooist Bruce Bart and his wife Jennifer. They were on an Asian road trip and were looking for a tattoo master in Thailand. Their search, quite an adventure, eventually led them to Sacred Skin and to the house I share with my wife, photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat. This […]

From the Archives: Wai Khru Day – The Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival in Thailand

Every year in March, thousands of Buddhist devotees gather at a temple an hour west of Bangkok to worship and celebrate one of Thailand’s strangest cults: At Wat Bang Phra, Buddhist monks use long needles to tattoo magic images and prayers on the believers’ skin. The tattoos are believed to give the wearer protection, especially […]

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