Dangit..........I was about to create this thread but, somebody beat me to it!!!
From my observations of Aang's TLA tattoo, the "Real Life" inspiration
for it comes from the Sak Yant (Yantra) tattoo's
of Southeast Asia Region.....which originally was worn by Angkorian Kings & Warriors of the Khmer Empire....my Ancestors BTW
(present day Cambodia) over two thousand years ago & continues to this day in present day Cambodia, Thailand & Burma.
Not everybody can get a Sak Yant tattoo & not everybody can do the tattoo......it's a very ancient religious art form. Sak Yant tattoos are considered "magical tattoos" & only a tattoo master can determined if a person seeking the Sak Yant is right for the tattoo & what type of Sak yant that person is going to recieve.
There's alot of rituals involved including fasting, cleansing both physical & spiritual, prayers on both the master tattooist & person recieving the tattoo's part; inorder for the the the magic to be imbued onto the tattoo & serve it's purpose of "protection" both physical & spiritual, "luck", "fortune" & etc.........There are sets of rules to abide by after recieving a Sak Yant tattoo or else the magic imbued into the Sak Yant tattoo will dissipate/ disappear.more info on Sak Yant tattoo:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yantra_tattooingSak Yant tattoo pictures:http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/i ... too&sz=all