Airports in Ko Samui, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh all continue to stock Sacred Skin prominently.
Sacred tattoos, called sak yant in Thailand, have been around Southeast Asia for centuries and are said to bestow protection from accidents, misfortunes and crime.
Every day, young men and women gather in temples and countless tattoo masters’ studios around the country to get inked: Tens of thousands of teenagers, motorcycle and taxi drivers, construction workers, night club bouncers, street vendors, factory employees, boxers and working girls – an entire strata of Thai society – are having a second, magical skin applied. Indian mythology, Buddhism, Brahmanism, animism and common superstition make for a colorful hotchpotch of religious ideas embedded into skin. For the wearers, the tattoos serve as reminders to follow a moral code endorsing positive behavior.
This book is an introduction to the sak yant, Thailand’s spirit tattoos, and the men and women who bring them to life on their skin.