There's a lot that can be said about the power of ink and the written word and art and its connection to the supernatural, but for the time being, I'll let Krutak's article speak for itself. It's excellent as inspiration for writers seeking to understand the many different customs and beliefs one might encounter in Laos and Southeast Asia.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Lao Steampunk: Tattoo research
Over at Vanishing Tattoo, Lars Krutak has a well-researched article on traditional tattoos and customs of Southeast Asia, including Laos, with a number of illustrations and photos of tattoo examples from the early 20th century.
As Krutak points out, tattoos in Southeast Asia were not sought for strictly aesthetic reasons but for spiritual protection. He writes: "Largely administered by holy monks, sagacious tribal elders, and layman tattooists, the esoteric art was not only believed to provide its wearers with indelible protection from a variety of misfortunes, but also the mystical power to influence other peoples’ behavior, carry the deceased safely into the afterlife, or simply increase a person’s “luck.”