WELCOME TO Che-Buratino TATTOO

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Тhai Protection TATTOO

Wat Bang Phra, about 50 kilometres outside Bangkok, is the location for an annual event quite unlike any other that I’ve witnessed. Each spring, devotees gather to pay respects to their religious teachers in a ceremony known as Wai Khru (Honour the teacher). Spectators at Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) matches will have seen fighters pay respects in a similar fashion before each bout and Thai school students also perform similar rituals at the start of each school term.

Traditionally, Thai tattoos are believed to be more than just a decorative art. Recipients believe that each tattoo carries protective properties and it is in search of these that people gather at the temple every spring. The rituals are a complex mix of Buddhist, Hindu, Brahman and Animist beliefs. Devotees come to pay their respects to their religious teachers and to receive tattoos that are created at the hands of these spiritual leaders. It is not only the application of the tattoo that has significance, it is the magical activation of the designs that believers seek. Once applied, the tattoo is believed to offer protection and in a country with an unpredictable political future, such protection is increasingly in demand.

Inside the temple complex are various rooms where people queue quietly to receive their artful talismans. Outside, a crowd gathers to listen to the invocations of the temple abbot. The spirits contained in the tattoo designs are awakened and prompt the human host to enter into a trance-like state. Often the believer will begin to shake and growl, assuming the characteristics of their animal spirit. Eventually they will be drawn towards the front of the crowd, perhaps slithering along the ground like a snake or an eel or sprinting through the crowd like a tiger. Some become bird-like, others clench their fists or hold out their hands like claws.

At the front of the crowd, volunteers wait to restrain and subdue the devotees, vigorously rubbing their ears to bring them back to their senses. Despite the apparent chaos and what seems like a potential for injury, the events are in fact well-controlled and there is a sense of great respect throughout the gathering.

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Che-Buratino thanks Gavin Gough

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Tattoos are created by hand with a long needle

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These Yantra tattoos are believed to have strong magical properties

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Devotees believe that their tattoos have the power to deflect attacks from bullets and knives

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Each tattoo is created from thousands of strikes into the skin using a special ink, reportedly containing snake venom

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Outside, crowds sit in the full heat of a Thai morning, focussing energy into the spirits depicted in their magical tattoos

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Entering a trance-like state, animal spirits take over their hosts’ bodies prompting them to take on their animal characteristics

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Some become spirit embodiments of Hanuman, the Monkey God, others become tigers or lions

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Those in a trance begin to growl and yell, lurching towards the stage at the front in response to their master’s summons

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As the intensity increases, people begin to sprint through the crowd, paying little attention to those who are in their way

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The combination of animalistic shrieks and wild-eyed expressions makes for an intimidating spectacle

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As the festival reaches a climax, participants rush towards the stage together and are caught and restrained by waiting volunteers

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Despite looking and sounding like an all-out battle, there is remarkable control and the devotees are quickly subdued

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Volunteers pinch the ears of those in a trance in order to bring them back to their senses

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As the festival concludes, the abbot sprays blessed water onto the crushing crowds

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Arms reach out as those in the crowd try to catch blessed objects thrown by the abbot

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GALLERY OF ASIAN Protection TATTOOS

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Яндекс.Метрика