Some thoughts on Amulet / Pendant Casing and Framing Services
Holding an amulet be wearable for individual perhaps has gone through a long spell in its development. Some would say it can simply be treated as an art form. But I guess through demands, we created solutions. The old Thai folks way of wearing an amulet uses robes and strings. It has evolved with changes in society that at later stages, steel, silver and gold frames were used and more recent times, we see mass market needs of plastic casing which is affordable and most of all waterproof to protect the prized possessions And it is known a properly cased amulet will show its true essence and ..errr....reflecting the taste of the owner as well.
It is also not exaggerating to quote amulet casing has also became an fashionable item and due to nature of local beliefs, it may even rival or supersedes the likes of high end jewelry. So, to summarize all in a sentence, it is all depending on spending power as well as individual aspiration how you wanted your amulet to be showcased, other than satisfying personal desire. The few metal based amulet casings at the left hand side are some of my previous collection and new owner preferred a re-framing. Well, I just love some of these old casings as they represent a different era and the delicate details are hard to replicate even with modern days technique.
Many of the older amulet casing can be easily opened for maintenance and/or detail viewing - looked like they have been specifically designed to permit the owner to open for inspection and/or restoration conveniently. They usually need a pin to lock the case. I have not seen a unit in this kind of setup that encases the primary in waterproof housing but I still think it is possible to do so, but I guess those who prefer this kind of formation unlikely they wanted their possession to be conceal entirely inside the plastic lamination.
Classic Bronze design, rear usually plain
Classic Silver case design, rear can be different
Classic Silver case, beautiful Buddhist Art in metal
Newer Silver case design, rear can be transparent
Another Classic simpler bronze case, plain back
New design with gems decoration, half silver, good design
Does an old amulet needs an aged, classic case to show its original essence and true flavor as a collectible ?
No. Most people don't bother at all. I guess the word BEAUTY can just be a personal interpretation. From the perspective of a collector, classic cases do help to enhance a state of a prized collectible as they represent a difference of space/time in reflectance of the time of produce how the general public reacted to this kind of religious behavior. Probably you may add another layer in the age group preferences where all these elements can be differed from person to person (Some even "Pandang" of using old amulet without knowing how to track its historical background of previous owner. Well, you can just treat this site for pure leisure browsing. ANYWAY, these are just a mini showcase of the few cases that I owned, you can easily find these in a mid size amulet retail outlet (I guess their ever-ready stock will easily beaten me down to the floor - mine hands down), hehe ...
Shown below are two beautiful replicas of the old form (made for Pongsuphan specific image form) ; while the bottom right is the rear section of typical old, classic amulet case used during the old days where all these are made in silver than the more pricey gold metal. Unlike the more weather or corrosive resistance metal properties in the likes of gold or even the cheaper alternate steel cases; silver metal-based cases always tend to oxidize over time and you may require periodic self maintenance. But once you have clean them right, WOW.. they simply look fantastic. Depends on amulet type, silvery cases does has its own strength and metal character to bring the host standout.
Recently, when Uncle Wichien came to KL; I have shown this sparkling silvery case to him and he just signed ..".. absolute beauty ! they don't made this anymore and all those old craftsmen were also can be regarded as top guys of Thai Buddhist art ...". I couldn't agree with him more...
- leofoo, 11.2006 -
Shown at bottom left section is an old, antique look of a Buddhist amulet case (courtesy of Mongkawan); wondering if they still produce these kind of classic amulet cases anymore.. so, during a recent trip to Bangkok, Mdm Wannee brought me to Banglumpoo area (near Bang Khun Phrom district) to find some amulet cases, in a tiny shop, I spotted a few very nicely decorative amulet cases; there are silver based case but artfully designed (or probably hand painted); I bought a few of these. When it compares to gold frame, it is so much more cheaper. As a guide (BARGAIN with them) - Wannee talked the price down to just MYR150-00 each from MYR230-00 - similar silver cases are even cheaper (MYR110-00); as at 12.2006, price of gold cases (inclusive workmanship at Bangkok is around 1,100 bahts per is almost 60% cheaper. Further, the new case requires no pin to lock. Nice isn't it ?
This rare and very old piece of a Jhok Khun Phun which has an abnormal size (huge, measuring at 5" length vertically) whom I gave to my China friend was asked to be gold framed, despite I keep the back opened, it still weighs 11g. cost ? MYR830-00 ! so, silver has become a wise alternative investment for now.
- leofoo, 11.2006 -
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As we all know, with the rich historical background in both the development and cultivation of wearable amulets for the Thai public, Thai amulets can be have hundreds of forms with different sizes, forms, shapes and even they can come in different thickness. The industry for casing manufacturing is considered to be a mature industry in Thailand. Partly, the jewelry industry has also benefited greatly from this long local tradition. Ever ready frames are made available in different varieties and grades. Thereby, services at amulets shops as well as gold smith shops always have secondary services on their to entertain customers on specific needs. Some quick minded even have amulets ready inside a gold frames as merchandise items. For the standard versions like one of those Benchaphakhi set (Soomdej, Soomkor, Nang Phraya, Pongsuphan and Phra Rod).
The top five native, original Thai creation shown above are some of the showcased items in our site and they have individual presentation in their respective casings Seemingly gold is the preferred choice of materials for the frame as other than mirroring a state of preciousness; making them also involved pre-laminating the amulet in a waterproof plastic.
However, for amulet enthusiasts, this may not be the rightful way as most often, one would prefer to enable the casing be opened for occasional viewing or even sharing its details with friends and fellow collectors. This lovely Soomkor with a diamond clustered external frame can be opened, permitting the owner to show its details.
Although MOST images under the classification of Benchaphakhi category are more of less following the standard shapes but there are variations that may come in different sizes, thickness; however, due to popularity and great demand, you can easily find a fittingly ready case in many amulets or goldsmith shops in Thailand for any of these forms.
To go one step beyond the popular images range, you may still be able to get a readily available casings for a long lists of popular image forms such as Khun Paen standard shape, Wat Paknam, Luong Phor Ngern, Luang Phor Thuad, Luang Phor Parn etc. I would strong believe casing suppliers are probably experts on amulets and within the popular series of Thai amulets, they can produce practically any sizes or shapes in anticipation of demands from the public. Overall, as I said, it is a matured industry on its own and if you are looking forward to get a casing of any quality and material source, you just have to go Thailand to sort these things out.
The shown images are also considered to be quite popular (Phra Kring, Mid size Soomdej, Classic form Khun Paen, Phra Kong, LP Derm, Nak Prok, Luong Phor Ngern mini statue, a Chao Khun Ngor which shares many mid size Soomdej, Phra ROD, small rectangular shape LP Sodh's Wat Paknam, LP Parn and LP Thuad. Most of these popular images among the Thai community also may easily be available.
Many years ago, I heard of an old Thai monk commented amulets are "best" to be attached with the owner's body; let it feels the body warmth, sweat and the "QI" in you and so forth. But this theory may have not been practical anymore in modern days and even some of my Thai friends felt funny when was told with such an amulet wearing theory. I guess it is more of a personal interpretation rather than treating such a concept as a truly desirable solution. Well, I guess most people will and should have a personal favorite or so, how are you going to use your OWN image(s) can be a rather a subjective matter. But undeniably, NOT ALL AMULET USERS ARE COLLECTOR and it can be a very bloody costly "exercise" transformed to be a seasoned collector but consolation is, one ought to be a Buddhist before became a collector; so, the objective is still the same and the guru collectors serve to continue the tradition and double as a role for authenticate for the newer collector and/or users. However, learning from the Guru may sometimes cost a bomb for many, I would suggest adopt a cautious approach, spent on budget wisely and always do within personal financial capacity
My niece who works as an air hostess, uses a locally wrapped plastic laminated amulet, looks good, isn't it ? Partly, due to work nature, she cannot be hooking an amulet externally on the uniform.
ME ? Personally, I accept both approach and interpretation because I wish distribution of amulets be as broad as possible as a form of lead for entry for people into Buddhism. Besides, not all people have the budget to go for gold framing or an even luxurious kind of presentation; so there is NOTHING WRONG going with a plastic or steel framed casing, right ? On whether should the rear section of an amulet be fully concealed - on this point, I would prefer it to be opened. Personally, I simply like cases that can be opened or interchange with others (if size permits them to be shared among few). The only issue you need to consider is whether the base materials of your amulet is powered, wood, metal or clay. Each reacts differently to changes to water/vapor, dust penetration, My preferred choice may not be acceptable to some but it is just a personal desire for my own collection, that is all.
However, there are just too many amulets of irregular sizes, thickness and forms and when it extends to choice of materials, it can be plastic, gold, silvery, diamond outfit or even in various combinations. So all these could present a real issue for the owner when deal with these categories of amulets. Shown are just some of the odd shape amulets that are extracted from our site. MOST are cased and protected but some (like the Khun Paen I used) just framed along its outlines but retains its physical contact with the owner I guess old days Thai never cased their amulets with protective casings and hence, many oldies usually didn't show their original state due to physical worn, direct body contact, sweats etc. In modern days when someone begin to take notice of his value possession and may start paying attention and/or as a way conveying personal respect to their spiritual possession; hence, the owner will usually request amulet wrapping technician cased their amulet. Generally, if gold is the medium, they are usually pre-wrapped inside with a layer of plastic waterproofing material. For general, affordable package, usually a steel frame is used. Well, a waterproof case is often practiced because IT LASTS, RETAIN AN ORIGINALITY and for the merchant, it preserves value.
<<<--- Take the case of my personal Khun Paen (Uncle Wichien's first gift 18 years ago) was originally shown at its current form, no case except for external contour holding with a gold frame. It has worn a lot and the facial details are gone with age but I don't bother. So, you can say how it is shown or used, it is just a personal preference.
I like how the Northern Thai folk's way of casing their amulets. Generally, places like Chiangmai can be regarded as a cultural and art centre on Northern Thailand. They have a very tasteful way of appreciating things around them. The amulet casing has also used to exhibits their talent and some of the framed collections I have seen are among the most impressive series.
The Pidta here can be tricky to be cased; eventually, it looks like THIS. The technician uses the laminated plastic to followed its highly irregular outlines but the case is just a a standard casing.
After an amulet is cased; there are options how you wish it to be wear. The easiest is pin/clip. But once you have amore than two onwards, a string is more convenient and secure. Steel, robes, strings, beaded are common practice. Take the case of the necklace which was a gift from my friend Weerapong where he personally grinned, grilled, polish and chained each bead as a necklace (I have one too); Well, thankful in my heart, I know ALL in his mind was to create something for a good friend that can help to enhance the presentation of just an amulet putting on the neck - so, it steps beyond boundary of a necklace, it is a work of love and passion - not money. You won't find many Thai with this kind of mentality nowadays. Yeah, even when I am in Bangkok, many Thai friends tend to appreciate the necklace more than my amulets and they can visually tell you it is only from Northern Thailand.. haha ..
Well, it is just an introductory on a common topic we may face each day. It is perfectly all right how you wish your own collections to be shown, used and protected This was just a momentarily thought when I met an amulet casing technician and I begin to interrelate the issue of getting a layer above conventional amulets framing is also an issue faced by fellow Malaysian and Singaporean with this kind of interest. So, I guess I should compile a section for places or individual who can offer this kind of specialize services for all of us to share. I will leave this to our soul brother, Chng Hoon Hoon < E-MAIL: email@example.com > to maintain the update of this listings from now.
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Amulet wrapper and/or Frame services - Direct Service
* Kuala Lumpur
1. A small shop at Selayang Capitol 1st floor - recommended by brother Anthony Koh 2. Mr. Lee : 019 2615528; 03-20262988 address: 44 Jalan Sultan, 50000 K.L. Road Guide:- just opposite Shanghai Book Shop / Furama Hotel and a few shops down the road after the famous Nam Xian Chicken Rice shop. Note: Parking space can be a bad experience in that area but you can try one at the basement car park at Furama Hotel or the Basketball Indoor Stadium headquarter which is another 30 yards up the slope towards Merdeka Stadium. Lee offers plastic and water proof casing only, golden framing requirement needs to send to his partners in Thailand. 3. Pudu Plaza, 1 St. floor. On the roll of shops that sell amulets, third shop at your left as well as another bigger shop just opposite - both offer plastic and water proof casing only 3. At the side of Wat Meh Liew, Kuala Lumpur, also offer plastic and water proof casing services only 4. Around Pudu Plaza (Behind the Caltex Station along Jalan Pudu, the road turns into Pudu Plaza, a corner shop barely 30 yards away from the main trunk Jalan Pudu road) which also offers plastic and water proof amulets casing/framing services. Run by a sweet lady Miss May or Mr. ANG. Address is 1B, Ground Floor Jalan Brunei Selatan, off Jalan PUDU. 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 603 21488969 hand phone 012-3736198. Other than amulet framing services, the shop also sell many small popular amulets, ut they also sell many mid to large scale Buddha/Monk Buddhist statues. Due to convenient parking, this is my often drop-by location for small purchases of accessories. Well, I have been keep on persuading them to carry some stocks on gold or silver frames, hope they can see the vacuum here in Kuala Lumpur for these demands. 5. For those who live around the Pandan Jaya / Pandan Indah housing estate, there is a shop 29-G Jalan Pandan 2/2, Pandan Jaya, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 92825944 apparently the head office was in Melaka. The gentlemen in charge is "master Pang" h/p 016- 2115944. 6. For those who thinks Pudu Plaza is too far for a small purchase or services for your amulets, you can go to Jalan Alor, just opposite the New Chui Keng restaurant, it is a small shop but offer framing services too. No contact is available.
* Other States
1. Fu Lo Shou Complex. Amulets, Silver and Gold casings - Suggested by Brother Jimmy Lee
1. Sheng Wen Kok Enterprise No. 174, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia. Tel 606 2810073, they also has a branch at No. 60, Jalan Munshi Abdullah, 75100 Melaka. Tel: 606 2832091. Primary businesses: amulets, chanting and framing services. Similarly the shop mentioned at Pandan Jaya, Kuala Lumpur is their branch in Kuala Lumpur.
IF you have any recommendation(s) of shops in your area that offer these kind of services,
please make use of the MESSAGE BOARD to relay to us with address, telephone number and peferably the name of owner. We will improve/update this listing accordingly.
Another topic - Some basic info on Molds for producing Amulets -
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Credit: To all the good people who have contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough in granting us the permission to use their images that appeared on this site. Mr. Wichian Phetratanamunee® (+6-012-2612207 (Malaysia);+66(0)74-421248 Thailand), my master and mentor all these years. My friend, Mr. Ho Fook Sang® from Ipoh, Perak (+06-0125388633, +605-5415433) who has been helping me all this long with wonderful source of information on Thai Buddha Imageries; my partner, Mr. Paul Lim, who shares the same passion together with me. Uncle Lim®, from TONG SOON Trading, Pudu Plaza (+06-012-9128391) who has given me some guidance relating to the background of some of the Thai amulets and lastly, Miss MaeV who helped me edit and patching some mistakes found on some of the pages in this site. Mr. Alan Tan "Arohka®" who contributes some of his excellent articles fro this site, Mr. Weerapong Srivichai®, (+6609999974) from Chiangmai News Co. Ltd. who has inspired me with so many new findings on Thai Amulets; Mr. "Ben", Col. Samay, Mdm Wannee, Mr. Adisak® & many others (such as Stan Thong (StanSLThong@yahoo.com), Raymond Goh(firstname.lastname@example.org), Tony EH (email@example.com)etc... who share so much passion towards construction of this website and not to mention all the time and effort spent by volunteered Co-Maintainers of the Message Board. Note: Certain content and images appeared on this site were taken by using a Canon PowerShot Pro-1, G2 and Sony digital cameras. Some materials appeared on this site were scanned from some leaflets, brochures or publications published in Thai and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. Site made with an Apple IMac.