A Thai devotee in a state of trance is controlled by guards during the annual Tattoo fesitval at Wat Bang Phra on March 7, 2009 in Nakhom Pathom, Thailand. Some men take on the characteristics of sacred animals that have been carved onto their skin. Thousands of believers from all over Thailand come to take part in one of the country's most bizarre festivals about 50 miles outside Bangkok to pay respect to the temple's monks who are master tattooist. In Thai culture the tattoo or Thai word sak yant is worn as a symbol of spiritual and physical protection, many believe that the tattoo have mystical powers. Many tattoo fanatics choose to have monkeys and tigers as well as the Khmer/Cambodia ancient script on their bodies. (Photo Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A Thai tattoo master, Whaw Hongsakul carves a tattoo on a devotee's back as volunteers hold the woman's back steady during the annual Tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra on March 7, 2009 in Nakhom Pathom, Thailand. (Photo Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

“The monk uses a single long thin needle about 18 inches in length and about four millimeters in width. The tip of the spike is split into two (like a split cane), so that each stab of the spike produces two dots of ink in the skin. There are about 8 of these needles in a pot of a type of cleaning solution. Sometimes the monk will sharpen the needle with fine grade sandpaper before beginning. The monk will then select from several different rubber templates with the design of choice. He will apply the template to ink and then press it on to the recipients back to transfer the design. When ready to begin, he will dip the tip of the needle into a mix of oil, probably palm oil, Chinese charcoal ink, and possibly snake venom. He then begins to trace the pattern. The typical tattoo takes about 3,000 strikes to complete. The monk dips the needle into the ink about every 30 seconds. When complete, he blesses the tattoo and blows a sacred Kata (Ghata) on it to infuse it with power. For men, the monk uses the charcoal ink. For women he uses a transparent ink and will use a glove in order to not touch the female body”. – Wikipedia
27 Jun 2011 10:43:00