Introducing Wan Shi Tong

Tonight I received my third tattoo, and my largest piece yet. The piece is the character Wan Shi Tong, from the show Avatar: The Last Airbender. I chose this character for a couple of different reasons. First, I am a big fan of the show, and loved the character of Wan Shi Tong. He was only in a few select episodes, but his personality was always interesting to me. He is the keeper of an ancient library, containing vast amounts of knowledge. His name in Chinese (萬事通) can be translated literally as “He who knows 10,000 things”. He is however, pained when people use that knowledge to harm others, and a focal point of his story is his desire to secure his knowledge so that no one can use it for evil ever again.

The second reason for choosing this character, is because I wanted an image that honors my academic nature. I’ve always loved learning, and knowing as many things as possible. Hence my proclivity to collect academic degrees, even when I don’t need them. I wanted a depiction of that aspect of myself for this tattoo, and the character of Wan Shi Tong honors that. It also mixes with my geeky side, as not many people will probably know this character.

This was a rather large piece, covering my entire upper arm, and containing a lot of details and shading. The image at the top is still very bright red from the process, and I’ll post a better one in a week or so, once the peeling and swelling has stopped. It took over 3.5 hours in the chair, but thankfully, my artist and I get along really well and have a lot in common to chat about (plus a girl scout showed up selling cookies, so I got a box of thin mints too!).

I’m enjoying using my body as a canvas a little bit, now that I’m old enough to actually make thoughtful and informed choices about what to put on it. This might end up being the largest piece I ever get, but it probably won’t be the last.


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