Buddhist Tattoos

Sak Yant Chiang Mai

Panumart Tattoo's artist, Menn, has been practicing these tattoos for some years now. If you are in Chiang Mai and are looking for a special memory, contact us to get your tattoo. Below you can see Menn creating these designs using the "bamboo" tattoo method. [pictures of Menn's tattoos]

About Buddhist Tattoos in Thailand

Thailand is a country made up of over 60 million Buddhists, with about 93% falling into this religion. Buddhism is heavily intertwined into everyday Thai life, however, Thailand is a country with a rich, diverse heritage.

Thailand and Southeast Asia as a whole were heavily influenced by India and the Indian sub-continent, namely Sri Lanka. Hinduism, was once the major religion for many parts of Thailand, thanks to the Khmer empire, which took them over.

In fact, the writing that is so prevalent in Thai Buddhist tattoos is actually Khom script, which is actually Khmer sanskrit. That's why some may refer to such designs as "Cambodian tattoos." Surprising, huh?

Additionally, Hindu gods/deities are still worshiped to this day and can be found in Thai tattoos. It's very possible you've seen such a tattoo, such as one with Ganesh or Hanuman.

[picture of Ganesh/Hanuman tattoo]

The history of Buddhist tattoos, however, does not start in Thailand, Cambodia (the Khmer Empire) nor in India.

Sak Yant

When people refer to something as a Buddhist tattoo, they are really referring to a Sak Yant, which is also known as a Yantra tattoo.

History of the Sak Yant

Over 2,000 years ago, tribal people in China and Vietnam began the tradition of performing yantra tattoos.

What's the meaning of Sak Yant?

According to sak-yant.com,

A Yant is a Sacred geometry design incorporating Buddhist psalms and magical formulas that invoke various elements and powers of protection and various blessings.

Are Sak Yant tattoos actually magical?

While this style of tattoo is largely popular today in Thailand, Thais for the most part do not believe in the sorcery that's so associated with yants. For Thais the tattoos are a nice-looking good luck charm with some religious connotations.
Don't believe the foolish spells of becoming bullet-proof by having some ink put into your body.
Does that mean tourists should stop getting these tattoos?
No, not at all. As with any tattoo, we encourage you to get any design that is special for you.