Sunday, August 17, 2008

Safety Cloth

Hanging on the ceiling of many Bangkok taxis are incantation cloths which contain chart-like yantra. The cloths are used for earthly wishes and for protection against harm, and each yantra has its own unique "recipe" and way it's used. You can find examples of Thai yantra drawn on cloth, paper, metal, and on skin in the form of tattoos. The idea originates from India, and the Thai yantra contain ancient Khmer writings and symbols, along with representations of various personifications or aspects of the divine.

I asked my taxi driver about his yantra and he told me it's for safety in his cab. The way some Bangkok cabbies drive, I think I'll carry my own incantation cloth and get some yantra tattoos while I'm at it.