For more than 1000 years superstitious members of Thai society have been adorning their skin with sacred tattoo’s, known as sak yant, believing they will be protected from harm. The intricate designs - which often feature Buddhist texts, numerology charts and mythical beasts - are applied during special ceremonies by monks and tattoo masters using sharpened bamboo sticks to tap ink into the skin. Tattoo masters train for years under the guidance of and elder until they have mastered the technique and learnt the mantras that are chanted during the process. While tattooing, the master wears an elaborate mask as an indication that he is in a state of trance, supposedly taken over by spirits. Once the tattoo is completed he “tests” its protective power by running a sword across the neck of his latest human canvas. In recent years this unique style of tattoo has become popular with western tourists - famous bearers include Angelina Jolie. But Thai ministry of culture is considering banning foreigners from getting inked over concerns that few of them consider the religious significance of the ancient art form.