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TATTOOS: ASIAN INFLUENCE & STYLE.

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Looking for Asian/ Oriental style tattoos with style beyond compare? Look no further. 

Asian tattoos provide a look and feel beyond compare. The artistry, detail, and rich cultural heritage that stands behind the art is simply incredible, and the interpretations of the imagery powerful and mystical. Seen here, is the latest piece by master tattooist, Robert Pho. The depth, accuracy, and detail of the piece is strikingly incredible and it’s proof once again that there are levels to the game.

Regardless if they are Chinese, Japanese or Cambodian tattoos, they are commonly referenced to as Oriental tattoos and they have long been a raging phenomenon among tattoo enthusiasts of the western world. Chinese tattoos offer beautiful characters with a sense of the exotic and often much deeper meaning than that which lies on the surface.

Often referred to in China as Ci Shen (Or Wen Shen), which literally translates to “puncture the body”, tattoos have not always been looked upon with good grace, but the times are slowly changing and conceptual and societal perceptions are changing.  Do some homework and you’ll find that the vast majority of Chinese groups have become more accepting, but for the minority, they are not only a tradition but a traditional part of life – take for example the Dulong and Dai tribes, along with the Li people of Hainan Island.

For these tribes and smaller part of the community, tattoos are an important part of life. They mark achievements, accomplishments and at times mark the entry into adulthood.

FOO DOG TATTOO: IMPERIAL LION

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There’s a reason why so many have referred to artist Robert Pho as a master tattooist.

Asian style tattoos have long been a staple in the world of tattoo. Regardless if the work is done in black and grey or color, it’s not necessarily the medium which dictates it’s impact, but the style. Asian art in itself is unique because of the ritualistic images and mediums found in the art. There’s a rich cultural heritage behind the imagery, and it comes as no surprise that this timeless style has impacted the lives of many.

The tattoo above was done by Robert Pho and his work speaks for itself. The central focus of the tattoo is the Chinese guardian lion, which is often referred to as an Imperial Guardian Lions or in Western culture as a “Foo Dog”. The lion has become common sight and the lion is said to safeguard the health and wealth of those who own or wear one.

They were traditionally found in front of Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. They are also used in other artistic contexts, for example on door-knockers, and in pottery. Pairs of guardian lion statues are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other structures, with one sitting on each side of the entrance.

HANNYA MASK TATTOO

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Oriental tattoos by Andy Pho

Asian tattoos, Oriental tattoos, call it what you’d like but this style is simply timeless. The tattoo above was done by tattoo artist Andy Pho, and the full wrap around leg sleeve came out absolutely incredible. In addition to adding the clouds and the Hannya mask, the tattooed leg sleeve also has a portrait of Geisha girl as well as many other asian themed subjects and images.

If you’re interested in some of the cleanest asian style tattoos in the game, then be sure to drop by Skin Design located in the Chinatown District of Las Vegas, NV. With over 40 years of collective experience, Skin Design is hailed as one of the best tattoo shops not only in Las Vegas but all throughout the world.

Our staff of highly trained artisans have won some of the highest accolades in the industry bu we’re more proud of setting a benchmark for the ultimate tattoo experience. Stop on by if you’re in or around town and if you have any questions please feel free to drop us a line.

KHMER TATTOOS: ROBERT PHO

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Khmer style tattoos or Cambodian art have become increasingly popular. 

Tattoos of Cambodian or Asian influence are strikingly detailed and exotic. They are beautiful, enticing, provocative and mysterious in ways that have increased their popularity, and the deep-seated history behind the art is rich with cultural heritage.

Stretching back centuries, the history of Cambodian art spans many mediums which includes symbolic artifacts as well as textiles, stone-carving and wat murals. Beginning in the mid-20th century, a tradition of modern art began in Cambodia, though in the later 20th century both traditional and modern arts declined for several reasons, including the killing of artists by the Khmer Rouge.

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Some photos of Robert Pho working on his brother Andy. This is the beginning of a full body suit tattoo which will be sure to please. 

 

The height of Khmer art occurred during the Angkor period; much of the era’s stone carving and architecture survives to the present. In pre-colonial Cambodia, art and crafts were generally produced either by rural non-specialists for practical use or by skilled artists producing works for the Royal Palace. In modern Cambodia, many artistic traditions entered a period of decline or even ceased to be practiced, but the country has experienced a recent artistic revival as the tourist market has increased and governments and NGOs have contributed to the preservation of Cambodian culture.

To continue the tradition of this history and art, Khmer tattoos of this nature also happens to be a specialty art here at Skin Design Tattoos. While our founder Robert Pho, is a specialist in portraits, one of his passions are Khmer tattoos, and his ability to recreate these visual masterpieces become quite evident in the display of his work.

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Some of Robert Pho’s work. To view his full gallery and bio click here

 

Whether it be black and gray tattoos, or even paintings, his passion for his heritage and cultural artifacts is one he studies with a passion. He studies the lines, mates them to the contours of your particular body parts and for over 20 years, his dedication to the art has become world-renowned and his artistry is one which is defined as art for “those in the know.”

Void of mainstream commercialism and ad hype, Robert Pho has become a gem for those who know of his work. With a current waiting list of roughly 6-months his clientele spans all across the world and his work is one which is easily appreciated and respected.

 

GARUDA TATTTOO: WHAT DOES IT SYMBOLIZE?

So what is a Garuda? The Garuda is one of the three principal animal deities in the Hindu Mythology that has evolved after the Vedic Period in Indian history. The other two are Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of the goddess Durgha, and Hanuman, the monkey god. It is after Garuda that the Indonesian National Airlines is named. Even today, Garuda is much revered by devout Hindus for his ethics and his strength in applying his ethics to correct evil-doers.

Garuda is the king of the birds. He mocks the wind with the speed of his flight. As the appointed charger of Vishnu he is venerated by all, including humans. Garuda is the son of Kashyap, a great sage, and Vinata, a daughter of Daksha, a famous king. He was hatched from an egg Vinata laid. He has the head, wings, talons, and beak of an eagle and the body and limbs of a man. He has a white face, red wings and golden body. When he was born he was so brilliant that he was mistaken for Agni, the god of fire, and worshipped.

Garuda was born with a great hatred for the evil and he is supposed to roam about the universe devouring the bad, though he spares Brahmins as his parents had forbidden him to eat them. Garuda is also well-known for his aversion to snakes, a dislike he had acquired from his mother, Vinata. There is a story behind this hatred of Garuda’s mother. As it is quite interesting it is told hereafter.

 

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Kashyap, Garuda’s father, had two wives: Kadru, the elder, and Vinata, Garuda’s mother, the younger. There was great rivalry between the two wives. They could not stand each other. Once, they had an argument over the color of the horse Uchchaisravas, produced during the Churning of the Ocean just after the time of creation. Each chose a color and laid a wager on her own choice. The one who lost would become the other’s slave. Kadru proved to be right and, as part of the agreement, imprisoned Vinata in the nether regions, Patala, where she was guarded by serpents. The serpents are, according to another myth, the sons of Kadru herself.

Garuda, on hearing of his mother’s imprisonment, descended to Patala and asked the serpents to release Vinata. They agreed to do so and demanded as ransom a cup of amrita (ambrosia). So Garuda set off for the celestial mountain where the amrita was kept. Before he could get to the amrita he had to overcome three hazards set up by the gods to guard the celestial drink. First, Garuda came upon a ring of flames fanned by high winds. They roared and leapt up to the sky but Garuda drank up several rivers and extinguished the flames. Next, Garuda came upon a circular doorway. A very rapidly spinning wheel with sharp spikes on the spokes guarded it. Garuda made himself very small and slipped through the turning spokes. Lastly, Garuda had to defeat two fire-spitting serpents guarding the amrita. He flapped his wings rapidly and blew dust into the eyes of the monsters and blinded them. Then he cut them to pieces with his sharp beak. So Garuda finally reached the amrita and started to fly back with it to the nether regions but the gods anticipated his purpose and gave chase. Indra, king of the gods, struck him with his thunderbolt but Garuda proved a superior warrior and defeated the gods and continued unscathed on his journey to Patala.

When the serpents got the amrita they were overjoyed and released Vinata. Garuda got his mother back but he became an inveterate enemy of the serpents, the sons of his mother’s rival Kadru. Also the serpents, the Nagas, symbolized evil and that automatically invoked Garuda’s hatred.

As end-piece to this myth it must be told that, as the Nagas were about to consume the amrita Garuda had just brought them, the chasing gods entered Patala and Indra seized and took away the cup of amrita. Anyway, the serpents had just had time enough to lick a few drops of amrita and this was enough to make them immortal. Also, since the celestial drink was very strong, their tongues were split and that is why, to this day, serpents have forked tongues.

 

by Sumanta Sanyal

THE ART OF A BODY SUIT TATTOO

In Japan there’s an art form that by any standard would be considered extreme where the paint brushes are made of two dozen needles and the canvas is human flesh. This segment on Japanese full body tattoos talks about the life long commitment these tattoo collectors take on. Costing 10’s of thousands of dollars and some even reaching well into the six figures, body suit tattoos are not for the faint of heart or finance.