Sacred tattooing with gold leaf

Ferank (, a handpoke tattooist who I’ve written about here before, points out that humanity has always had a close relationship with metal, not just as an object of wealth that never tarnishes or oxidizes, but also as a magical metal with healing properties — Ferank recalls his grandmother being given gold injections for her arthritis. Longterm readers may recall back in 2006 when I wrote about Islamic gold implants, and there are also Eastern monks who perform gold implants for a variety of spiritual reasons. Up until the early 1900s, Western doctors would sometimes implant a small piece of metal near an inflamed joint, and even today gold nanoparticles are being injected to fight prostate cancer!

Whether you believe this is placebo medicine, spiritual medicine, or hard science, it is undeniable that gold has an intimate and profound relationship with the human experience that few materials have, so he set out to tattoo himself with gold. This wasn’t easy because gold leaf is far thinner than paper and disintegrates easily — if he had tried to suspend it in a liquid solution like a traditional pigment solution, it would practically disappear, so he picked it up the gold leaf with a needle grouping and pushed it into the skin, which seemed to work.

He admits it sounds a little crazy, but he honestly feels that his consciousness has been altered through this ritual act. The first photo is fresh, and the second photo was taken about a week after the procedure, at which point you could still see a bit of sparkle. The last photo is well over a year old. Ferank plans on experimenting more with tattooing in gold.

ferank1t ferank2t ferank3t

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Sacred tattooing with gold leaf

  1. hey shannon

    this guy doesnt have a real website, but he hand pokes alot of people in portland and does an amazing job. he used to work in shops using machines but now works out of his home doing irezumi style hand poked stuff- his shack home– that he actually built, also builds dbl decker bikes and is just an amazing human all the way around. i have been tattooed by him and it was a lovely experience. He is really dedicated to the art form. he may already be on bme. i’ve never checked.

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