What is Bamboo Tattooing?
Also known as Yantra, it originates in Thailand where it is commonly practiced, this is also common in Myanmar. Bamboo tattooing is the art of tattooing using very fine needles attached to the end of a thin piece of bamboo. Commonly, 5 needles are used but this can vary according to tattoo type and size. The needles are put in a line instead of gathered in a round pattern, so that a very fine line can be achieved. This is then gently tapped into the skin. This is usually performed by ruesi, wicha (magic) practitioners, and Buddhist monks.
How does this process differ from modern tattooing?
With bamboo tattooing, the skin is punctured but not torn, which results in a significant reduction in pain and bleeding. This results in little to no scabbing, unlike most machine tattoos. This allows the tattoo to heal more quickly, about 4 days. And because there is less trauma to the the skin, there is less bleeding which can push the color out of the skin. This allows the to ink settle deeply and no color is lost. Bamboo tattoos tend to maintain their color very well, staying bold and bright. Due to all these factors, there’s no problem going into the sun immediately following the bamboo method of tattooing. Many agree that this method is 90% less painful than machine tattooing. This varies person to person, some find it to be more so than machine tattooing, it all depends on your body and the area you are tattooing.
Bamboo tattoos are recommended for delicate areas to tattoo such as feet, which are not ideal areas for the machine to tattoo due to inevitable rubbing and fading caused by wearing socks and footwear. Also, this area is very thin skin over bone, which is widely known to be a very painful area to tattoo.