Culture Ministry alerted by religious tattoo patterns

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BANGKOK, 31 May 2011 – The Ministry of Culture is concerned over uses of sacred objects or holy beings in Buddhism and other religions as tattoo patterns by a number of foreign tourists coming to Thailand to have their skin tattooed. 

Citing a survey in Phuket Island, Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat admitted that a number of foreigners coming to Thailand are interested in having their skin tattooed with Buddha images or Hindu god Ganesh in several parts of their bodies such as arms, legs, ankles or chests.

The minister indicated that using religious objects as tattoo patterns is inappropriate according to the Thai tradition and culture as well as affect the faith of people toward those religions.

Religious tattoo patterns are very popular among foreign tourists and can be as expensive as 20,000 baht each. Some of the tourists deem religious tattoo patterns a fashion without any religious respect while some probably have those tattoos because of ignorance.

Mr Nipit stated that the ministry hence asked provincial governors nationwide, especially provinces with foreign tourists such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai to inspect tattoo studios and seek their cooperation not to use sacred objects of all religions as tattoo patterns.

The minister then announced that he will ask the Office of the National Culture Commission to issue a law banning people from using sacred objects or holy beings in Buddhism or any other religions in their tattoo patterns.