Taiwan’s tattoo magazine Extreme Tattoo featured an 8 page spread on Sacred Skin in its December Issue!!! The spread includes many images from the book and an interview with photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat.
Sacred tattoos, called sak yant in Thailand, have been around Southeast Asia for centuries and afford protection from accident, misfortune, and crime. Young women get tattooed with love charms in order to attract better partners, while adolescent men use the protective power of their yants in fights with rival youth gangs. For most though, the tattoos serve as reminders to follow a moral code-endorsing positive behavior. At the time of the application of a sak yant, the tattoo master establishes a series of rules that his tattooed disciples will have to follow for the rest of their lives, usually starting with Buddhism’s first five precepts. Failure to observe the guru’s instructions will cause the sak yant to lose their power. Yet there is more to this than the written word. It goes deeper. This book serves as an introduction to the sak yant, Thailand’s spirit tattoos, and the men and women who make them come alive on their skin.
Sacred Skin, published in July 2011, has garnered more than 30 reviews and is available at many good bookshops at from amazon. Photographed by Aroon Thaewchatturat, Text by Tom Vater, published by Visionary World in Hong Kong.