What Is a Thai Tribal Tattoo Design?


Quick Answer

Popular Thai tribal tattoo designs include ongk phra, which translates to Buddha's body; ha thaew, translating to five rows (of blessings); suea, a design depicting twin tigers and kao yord, or the nine spires.

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Full Answer

Thai tattooing is called yantra tattooing or sak yant. The art traces back to the 13th century. Traditional Thai tattooing employs a bamboo stick that is sharpened to a point at one end. These tattoos are done by a Ruesi, which translates into English as "magic man," or a Buddhist monk. Thai tattoos are given during a holy ceremony where the Ruesi performs an incantation spell. This practice is believed to give the tattoo special power and sacredness.

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