Sak Yant Tattoo ~ Thailand

A Sak Yant Tattoo on a Thai man's back in Thailand


Did you know some tattoos can stop bullets?

Sak Yant tattoos (also known as yantras) are a form of sacred tattoos practiced in South-East Asia, mainly in Thailand. They originated at around the 10th century and are usually a mixture of ancient Khmer script and original Buddhist Pali script.

Sak Yant can only be tattooed by Buddhist monks or sacred practitioners. The monk uses needles (although many places are being modernized) to draw the pattern on the back and rubs ink while chanting prayers to empower the charm inside the tattoo. It is a very painful ritual.

After the inking is finished, the monk places his hand on the person’s eyes and forces his head back, then draws a ritual knife across the throat (no blood) and stabs his back lightly.

Sak Yant are believed to protect from any physical harm. Even stopping bullets. They also strengthen the will, courage and spirit of the person.

Many foreigners today are starting to get yantras because of one famous actress who got one tattooed on her shoulder: Angelina Jolie.


Things I love today:

The smell of strawberries

The taste of white chocolate with cookies

The sight of flying lanterns

The sound of harps

The feel of having a load taken of the shoulders


Quick Tips:

On cloudy days, take advantage of the weather and go out to shoot portraits. The cloudy sky will act as a gigantic soft box and the light will be much softer with no shadows than on sunny days.


Are you interested in improving your photography? Would you like to have an honest opinion about your work? I have launched a new feature on Canvas of Light: FREE PHOTO CRITIQUES! Just go to this Photo Critique Page, follow the procedure and I’ll gladly share my knowledge with you and help you improve as much as I can. Enjoy!


Comments (15)

  1. Priyank

    Hello Daniel,
    I loved the picture! The beauty of the subject, tattoo and water are very appropriately captured in that lighting! Amazing…

    • Daniel Nahabedian

      Thanks Josh! Yeah sometimes I wonder if I should get a smaller version of these tattoos. They have beautiful small ones too.
      Oh, and after researching a bit, I found out that the most famous Sak Yant Tattooist monk in Chiang Mai passed away a few weeks before I wrote this post. Damn!

  2. Paul

    Very nice photo, Im planning on getting a full yantra back piece i already have gao yord 9 spires and was woundering if you had a head on shot. Many thanks Paul