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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The culture of traditional tattoos in NW Thailand - Part 2 - 'Hurrah for Rahu'

‘Wan Wai Kru’ is also the most auspicious of times to become newly tattooed, and Robert decided that this was the day to take the leap. After all, he reasoned, driving his cycle & sidecar on Thai roads requires all the protection he can get. Thanks to daughter Leslie, Rahu was on his helmet protecting his head- so he might as well use the powers of Rahu to protect his skin! Above is the image of Rahu that Ajarn Innsom drew and used for the tattoo. It was too large, so he sent someone off to make a reduction and the copy was used as a pattern, after being applied with a solvent directly to the skin.

It took Ajarn Innsom an hour to complete the design and perform the ‘kaataa’, or magical incantations which bring the power of the image to life. Rahu must have been sleeping because Robert never stirred during this ceremony, tho the ‘kaataas’ were powerful and the help of the ‘reusi’ was invoked. Final blessings were made and Robert thanked the 'kru saak yan' for imparting the power and protection of Rahu, the deity of eclipses and protector of mankind.

We have just uploaded some tattoo-related items on the website, as well as some more photos of local tattoos, and a bit of history and information about tattooing.