Bangkok Photographer Cedric Arnold, recently did a series called “Sacred Ink”. Enjoy the photos.
A body, used as a canvas, every inch of skin filled with sacred text and figures of mythical creatures, all forming a protective shield. A boxer, a monk, a construction worker, a police man, a soldier, a taxi driver, a shipyard worker, a shaman, a tattoo master; men, women and their inked protection from evil spirits and bad luck. Enter the world of Thailand’s spiritual “yantra” tattoo tradition.
For centuries, Thai men have covered their bodies with protective tattoos. Old temple murals show epic scenes of swords breaking apart when hitting a tattooed soldier’s skin. The tradition has been handed down generations of both monks and laymen who create the tattoos and empower them with special prayers.
The ink (believed to be a secret combination of Chinese ink, snake venom, potent herbs, and ash) is applied with repeated fast jabs of the needle, which is about 40cm long ad has a tip resembling that of a fountain pen.