Ed Sheeran’s traditional Thai tattoo fuels soft power diplomacy
Ed Sheeran, the internationally renowned English musician, has seemingly taken on the role of an unofficial ambassador for Thai soft power by embracing traditional tattoos.
Sheeran was in Bangkok as part of his “+-=÷x Mathematics Tour” on Saturday and in the morning after his show, he sought the expertise of Ajarn Neng Koommantrarak also known as Ajarn Neng On Nut.
Ajarn Neng is celebrated for his mastery of “Eight-Directional Yantra” tattoos, which hold deep significance in Thai culture, embodying Buddhist virtues and sacred symbolism.
During the tattooing session, Sheeran took to his private Instagram account, @teddysphotos, to share a video documenting the process with his followers.
Captioned “Got a traditional Sak Yant tattoo in Thailand today …”, the clip captured every step of the process, from homage paid to a spiritual shrine to the recitation of sacred verses, culminating in the application of the “eight-directional yantra” tattoo on his leg.
Sheeran chose his leg for the tattoo due to space constraints on his arms and back, which are already adorned with prior tattoos.
The Eight-Directional Yantra, sometimes known as the Itipiso Eight-Directional Yantra, serves as a protective symbol believed to ward off wild animals and malevolent spirits. It is considered particularly suitable for individuals embarking on extensive journeys or frequenting remote areas.
In Chinese culture, similar yantra symbols are often placed at home entrances to bolster Feng Shui principles and deflect negative energies.
Many opt to have the Eight-Directional Yantra inked onto their skin to attract good fortune, ensure prosperity, ward off curses and find solace and protection in various aspects of their life, thereby spreading positivity and goodwill wherever they venture.