Friday, July 27, 2012
A Little About Thai Amulets
Thai amulet market is a billion dollar market, it has made many millionaires. My pal spent not less than USD100k in purchasing rare amulets. He said it is a good investment as the value of his collections has already skyrocketed. I am indifferent as I have seen people losing money by selling their collections cheap below market value to raise funds. So my take is hard cash saving is still the best investment. Oh, please don’t remind me about bond, funds or share market investment.
My Lanna master himself does not wear any amulets. What he has passed to me was a piece of spear, a teacher’s staff and a piece of bear tooth (his familiar spirit). Personally, I do not believe a piece of amulet will have any powers; I believe the power sources of Thai magic are normally manifest by jinn, spirit, gods and the like. This is in line with other practices such as the Kejawen, Malay Magic, Hikmah, Taoist etc.
These amulets are normally made of clay, wood, metals, cremation ashes from famous monks, both animal and human bones, cemetery dirt and many other unspeakable substances.
The Thais believe the older the history of these amulets, the powerful they gets and hence the prices will be proportional higher. The prices of these amulets range from a few thousands Bahts to millions of Bhats.
I have a few pieces of Thai amulets myself, all were presents from friends. I am keeping all amulets in my locker because I do not have the habit to wear anything around my neck. People believe that if you are to wear these Thai amulets, then the number of amulets must be in odd numbers.
It is not surprising that Thais are the main fans of Thai amulet. My Malaysian pal is even more fanatic than the Thais in that he has tattoo all over his body, including his face. He wears a dozen of big and small Palakits around his waist, his right arm is planted with a leklai and on top of that, he has around 9 pieces of big and heavy Thai amulets around his neck. Among those amulets, the biggest one is the Jatukam.
The reasons for wearing Thai amulets are many:
· Protection from evil spirits
· Protection from fire arms
· Protection from mishaps
· For good fortune and business
· And many more unspeakable purposes
There are many legends about Thai amulets. Frankly it is quite impossible to list them all. Below is what I have heard from a Bar owner quite some time ago after had a cup too many. So bear with me if I don’t get it right:
It was said that a Thai collector possessed a Thai amulet with amazing power that was 50 years old but within these 50 years, it had saved the life of 40 owners!
The story behind it was that around 50 years ago, a Long Po pass down a will to his disciples that his body was to be cremated and the ash was to be made into an amulet. This amulet is then given to the people in need.
The rules for obtaining this amulet are:
1. No one can possess it, once a borrower is saved from a disaster; then he/she must return it to the temple.
2. It is forbidden to sell the amulets for a profit.
3. It is forbidden to copy the design of the amulet.
4. The borrower must do merits.
It was said that the amulet had many miracle powers, amongst all was that of invulnerability to fire arms. So said most of the borrowers were either from black societies or armed forces.
The amazing part is that every time when a borrower returns an amulet, some of the ash is missing. Hence after 40 years’ time, this amulet has reduced into nothing; what left is only the outer casing that once holds the amulet. And this collector is currently keeping this empty casing.
I have not asked the bar owner to produce a proof, so suffice as a tea break story.
As there are billions of Thai amulets in circulation, and many more in private collections, one really has to do detailed research before pulling out one’s pocket to make a purchase. Many people said that the best bet is to purchase a real amulet is from a reputable temple. Then and again, some sources said that even big temples are selling reproductions to make a profit.
My take is if you like the piece of amulet and the price is right for you, then purchase it and forget about the authenticity. Otherwise you will be falling into a loop of never ending amulet buying spree. Believe it? Peace J.