Here is an overview of the important Thailand amulets, as well as the state of amulet selling and buying in Thailand. We have a few different amulet sites, and, while we’re not world renowned experts on the amulets of Thailand – we have learned some things over these few years of selling them online and in our Thailand store.
How are Thai Amulets Worn?
Thai amulets are usually worn around the neck by Thais in Thailand. Some Thais wear one amulet, and some wear as many as 7 – one hanging down in the middle of the necklace, and 3 on each side. We rarely see any more than 7 amulets on one necklace, but we’re sure they are out there. Thais, as all Asians can be, are quite superstitious. Amulets arose out of this superstition. As such, there are amulets that came out of Animism – Thailand’s early religous roots, as well as Buddhism, Hinduism, and black magic type beliefs.
Some Thais hang their amulets from the mirror in their car. Some have shrines setup in their homes where they have dozens or hundreds of Thai amulets from every temple they’ve visited, and every Thai holiday they’ve ever witnessed at these shrines.
Thais believe that all amulets should be worn at head/chest level, and not kept in the pocket. Amulets should never be worn around the waist, legs, or feet – as this shows disrespect to the religion and the followers. In a similar way, images of the King of Thailand should never be worn near the feet.
What Historical Figures Are the Subject of Thai Amulets?
Typical Thailand Buddhist amulets have figures such as: Buddha, Kwan Yin, and some famous monks like Luang Phor Tuad, Luang Phor Klai, Phra Bit Tar (Biddar) and others. Sometimes the Kings of Thailand (Rama 1-9) are featured. We even sell an amulet that has portraits of all 9 Thai kings on it. Thais do love their kings, and many amulets feature King Rama V, and IX – Thailand’s current king, King Bhumibol.
The Hindu influence on Buddhist amulets can be seen with Ganesh (Ganesha) – the elephant amulets, Shiva, and other gods and goddesses.
There are such colorful characters as Lersi, Tigers, Demons, Guman Thong, and others that give a wide-breadth of figures. There is an amulet for everyone, from child to an elderly Thai on his deathbed.
By far Buddha amulets are the most popular and the most worn amulet Thais purchase. I would say then, Luang Phor Tuad, Thailand’s most famous monk – has the 2nd most wearers in the country.
Where Do Thai Amulets Come From?
Keep in mind that Buddhist amulets found in Thailand are two things… one, a religious symbol to those that believe in Buddhism, and two, a money-making scheme for dishonest companies to take advantage of good Buddhist followers.
Amulets are sometimes given directly from monks. We have some amulets that were given to us over the years from monks (Phra) at our local Buddhist temples. These are not to be sold, and most Thais hold them in special esteem. If you visit Thailand and see a bit of the country, not just one area – you will find that some monks are into amulets as lucky, bringing health, fortune, or love, and some are not at all. In fact, western monks like those found at Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, Thailand – Ubon province, do not have amulets at all. There are no amulets sold there at the temple, and they do not talk about special powers of amulets – choosing instead to focus on what Buddha said and did – as the way to reaching nibbana (nirvana).
Wat Suan Mokkh in Chaiya, Surat Thani province is another temple that does not even sell 1 amulet for visitors. Buddhadasa Bhikku, the first monk and founder of Wat Tum Sua didn’t believe in amulets as having any power at all, and frequently called them a product of superstitious minds. Buddha himself was not known to wear amulets.
Other monks are well-versed in the powers of amulets, and when they bless an amulet – it gains even greater power. Wat Tum Sua’s Ajarn Jumnien (Teacher Jumnien) is one such monk of Chinese lineage that is now often known as Thailand’s good luck monk. Aj. Jumnien wears dozens of amulets at a time, and is sought after for his blessing and amulets – which are known to be exceptionally powerful. Chinese people mostly, from China, Malaysia, and Singapore come from far away to see Abbot Jumnien and donate money for his temple in Krabi, Thailand.
Wat Tum Sua is our home temple, and where we get the majority of our amulets from. The temple is beautiful and well worth a stop if you happen to be in southern Thailand.
What Are Amulets Made Of?
Thailand amulets are typically made of hard materials like: iron, tin, brass, copper, bronze, silver, pewter, marble, jade, crystal (rarely), granite, petrified wood (very rarely), glass, wood, ceramic, clay, and other materials.
Fake versus Real Amulets
Amulets from Thailand are easy to replicate as fakes, and this is a giant business, not only in Thailand, but, across the globe as companies are formed to take advantage of well-meaning Buddhists that want to protect their families’ health, or ensure good karma. It is not difficult to manufacture fake amulets, because the expensive amulets – the genuine amulets from many years ago, were made with simple technology and there are no real secrets any longer about which is a real or fake amulet. The experts cannot tell fake amulets from real in many cases. In fact, recently some very expensive and rare amulets were judged to be fake at a conference of “experts” and later proven to be genuine amulets with great power. A collector bought them before the discovery – for very little money, and was rewarded with millions of Thai baht as a result.
We spent 2-hours yesterday looking at amulets that were being sold on eBay and we were appalled. Amulets that are found for $3 are selling for $150. Amulets that are no more than $10 to buy in Thailand in rip-off amulet stores – are selling on eBay for $250 and we even saw one for more than $400.
The state of the amulet industry is rather sad. How can someone from Canada, Australia, Tahiti, Spain, UK, or Czechoslovakia buy genuine amulets from real Buddhist temples?
Here at www.ThaiAmuletSales.com we wanted to come up with a way for Buddhists across the world to buy genuine Thai amulets from Thailand, without any chance of forgery or ill-intent. We came upon a simple solution.
We offer Thai Buddhist amulets only bought at the Buddhist temples in Thailand.
That’s it. We don’t buy from non-Buddhist sources.
You can be absolutely sure that the amulets you’re buying are genuine articles, crafted from Buddhist hands.