<p>Tattoos, piercings, and body markings have played roles in many cultures for millennia, serving as identification, protection, and decoration.</p><p>Here, a young monk is tattooed with a sharp rod near a Buddhist temple in Thailand. Tattoos are believed to bestow the monks with ancient Khmer prayers and the spiritually protective power of animal images.</p>

Buddhist Monk, Thailand

Tattoos, piercings, and body markings have played roles in many cultures for millennia, serving as identification, protection, and decoration.

Here, a young monk is tattooed with a sharp rod near a Buddhist temple in Thailand. Tattoos are believed to bestow the monks with ancient Khmer prayers and the spiritually protective power of animal images.

Photograph by Stephen Shaver/AFP/Getty Images

Tattoos, Piercings, and Scarification

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