Thai Magic Tattoos


White Belt
Mar 22, 2005
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Posted this in P&M, but maybe you fellas are better equipped to help me out...

I'm looking into the traditional tattoos that old-school Thai fighters used to have, and specifically want to get some meanings, translations, and high quality images... Anyone up to the challenge?

Here's an example:


Cheers fellas

Are you thinking of getting one?
I did do a bit of research a while ago on them. They are still done in Thailand, Cambodia & Philipines.
I like the idea of tattoos for a purpose rather than the western art purely for ego & style, although i can't see them working.
Mostly soldiers, police & bodyguards have them done. They are used for protection against physical harm, illness, bad spirits also to increase strength, intelligence etc.

The traditional ones are still done by medicine men or monks, who use needles made of bamboo (yep, v painful, dot by dot). The tattoo's are drawn on a part of the body in relation to the desired effect, also the type is defined by the benifit you want.

The tattos are usually a mix of holy symbols & writings &/or animals. The person who wants the tattoo doesn't get a choice of what or where the tattoo is, it's entirely up to the artist's discretion.
There are also always conditions for keeping the magic e.g. prayers, celebacy, not allowing your head to be touched. If you do break the rules set by the tattoist then you can go to a monk to have the tattoo blessed.
The symbol you supplied is a Yantra, i did find a site with some pics & examples:

Also some pics of actual tattoo's
Thanks for the info pistachio, some cool stuff there. Looks like a very intense process.
No probs.
When i was first looking into it, i found an article by a tattooist who went to Thailand to get one done. He did a pretty good job of describing the process & the history.
I've tried to find his site again but it must of been taken offline.
One thing he did make blatantly obvious was how much it hurt & this guy was no stranger to tattoos (he had so many, from a distance he looked blue).
I will carry on looking though cus' it makes very interesting reading + he had a great selection of authentic designs.
But incase i can't find it, here's another site you might find interesting: