Thai bamboo tattoos have deep roots in Thai culture. They are sometimes given using long bamboo needles that are repeatedly dipped in ink, which is how they got their name. The ink is traditionally made with a mixture of snake venom and dyes. There are many different designs, and each has a unique meaning. Some give the owner strength, power, or even protection from ghosts. Ghosts are an integral part of Thai culture, and a number of Thais believe that certain symbols will offer protection from these spirits. After being tattooed, and individual will go to a Buddhist monk to have it blessed.
Krit, the owner of Thai Bamboo Tattoo and a tattoo artist, has adapted this art form to a modern tattoo studio, and he uses sterilized metal needles and conventional tattoo ink to create beautiful designs on his customers. He was gracious enough to let me photograph one of his sessions. Allie Holtzer and Elora Herberick are featured in this post, and I greatly appreciated their willingness to let me photograph them.