A brief Information on Molds for making amulets

 
 

Various moldings block for making the famous Wat Phra Singth Phra ROD images back in 2496
Weerapong Srichai at the recording studio of Nation Channel TV as TV host, once a day commentary  on development of Thai Buddhism in the country
I guess sometimes when you are a public figure simplifies complicated things and makes access to information rather conveniently. This rare photo of the various molds for making Phra ROD Buddhist amulets was sent to me by my Chiangmai friend, Weerapong Srivichai who now hosting the Chiangmai Nation Channel TV news and focuses on development of Buddhism in and around Thailand. This rare glimpse of the various molds are with courtesy from various temples in Thailand which one way of another, had produced Phra Rod images over the years. NOTE:- It is always a big event when a temple produces amulets. And usually the mold will be kept by the custodian of the temple.

< C O N T A C T >

" ... Phra Rod Lumpoon are the most famous of all amulets of Lumpoon province. Said in old time that once Phranang Jarmatavee (lady who rule the northland part of Thailand) built four (4) temples for good fortune and protect the city. She invited 4 hermits for ceremony, in that time hermits create "Phra Sukaputtapatima" by each own and keep safe in 4 temples North, South, West, East. In meaning to expand Buddha religion.

"Phra Sukaputtapatima" is Amulets which made by Hermit. Ex. Phra Perm, Phra Bang, Phra Khong, Phra Liang and Phra Rod. These amulets made since B.E.1223. Lumpoon province have legend say : This land use to own by "Mengkabutt", a tribe of Cambodian Once Prince Sintatta (Lord Buddha) have travel though this land at Ghontararm and Charorarm village which locate south of Trakarnmeng town. Lord Buddha said "In future, part of "Phra Baromsareerikatarth" (Lord Buddha ash/bone) will be here and King Arthitrarthjao will keep safe in Jaydee (a pagoda that is round in shape)". In B.E.1008 there are 5 hermits, they use to lived in monk hood. They exited monk hood and study meditate until success Arpinya 5th Samabut 8 ( Yarn=Class of meditate)and were travel around all over Thailand 1. Phra Vasuthep 2.Phra Sukkatunta 3. Pumarnsree 4. Puttachadin 5. Phra Suddchanarai. Once Phranang Jarmatavee built 4 temple are 1: Wat Dongaw on east side, later called Wat Chetawan (famous temple); In B.E.2484-5 people have found Phra Perm, Phra Bang, Phra Khong, Phra Liang etc. accept Phra Rod. 2: Wat Phra Khong on north side, later called Wat PhraKhongrorsee. Said that 4 hermit have plan on building Haripoonchai city here at this temple, people have add the word "rorsee" to temple name (rorsee=hermit). 3: Wat Mahawan on west side, this is the temple which found Phra Rod amulets. 4: Wat Phratoolee on south side, use for escape route purpose in war time as "Phratoolee" mean door for retreat. These 4 temples have all of Lumpoon province amulets and have been found at later time. From this information. 4 hermits have keep their amulets in Wat Dongaw, Wat Phra Khong, Wat Mahawan, Wat Phratoolee. These amulets are beautiful with art of Haripoonchai/Lumpoon province.

History say that once Sutavarorsee (Phra Vasuthep) hermit invite Phra Sukkatunta to discuss about area to build city (Lumpoon). Once the city was built, Sutavarorsee invite Phranang Jarmatavee to the throne of this city. This lady is a child of Rich family from Nongdoo village Lumpoon province. With her birth time/star prove that she have great karma and will be well known to everyone, she will help the level of Buddha religion in Thailand Her family rule this city until B.E.1330 was loss to Ramum Royal. Then again in B.E.1824 by King Mengrai 1st, city was destroy. Later time the city was rebuild by King Mengrai 11th. As Nakhonphing (In present call "Chiangmai") loss to Burma, also Lumpoon as well. Until Lanna era, King Thonburee. Lumpoon province back to part of Thailand Lumpoon province are one of old place in Thailand which built more than 1300 years, people have found many antique thing and many amulets. "Phra Rod" this name came from "Narata Rorsee" or "Rorsee Narata" this hermit name was "Narata" change to "NaRod" in later time. Once people found this amulets at Wat Mahawan, they start to call "Phra Rod". Legend said that Phra Sukkatunta and Sutavarorsee have meeting with 108 hermits in ceremony to create Lumpoon's amulets by bring 4 clay from different land, 1000 medicines, 1000 herbs, many flowers. All mixed then put in molds, then chant with spell by 108 hermits. These amulets were given among Thailand soldiers and people. Phra Rod are smooth clay have white, red, green, brown colours..." - Extracted from Tales of Wat Mahawan -

Originally, he just thought of putting the images for our site as a site update but not knowing I do have another two molds on Pongsuphan and Nang Phraya. So, since we are in this, might as well just go through briefly some background on its process and method of producing Buddhist amulets. Actually, I am not sure if Weerapong kept any pictures of those processes; if he didn't - visually you can just use this section for casual browsing.

Benchaphakhi, Top Five Thailand original amulet image forms
As this could have covered 3 of the TOP FIVE Benchaphakhi set (Soomdej, Soomkor, Nang Phraya, Pongsuphan and Phra Rod). IF anyone of you have other visual for SOOMKOR and SOOMDEJ - you may consider to send me pictures so I can put them orderly.
Phra ROD Wat Mahawan Phra ROD Wat Mahawan Phra ROD Pim Toe Pra ROD from Wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai Another private collection of Pra ROD, Wat Mahawan An old, antique Pra ROD image from Wat Mahawan, Lumpoon, Nothern Thailand Pra ROD from Lampoon

Wat Mahawan

Wat Mahawan

Phra ROD Pim Toe

Wat Phra Singh

Phra ROD

Wat Mahawan

Phra Rod Lampoon

             
             
Credit:- Here are a series of very old, extremely high quality PHRA ROD images from Northern Thailand. Except for the last image (possession of Miss Mongkolwan.G); ALL the remaining PHRA ROD are from my buddy, Weerapong Srivichai. The molds shown at top of the page are a collection from various sources and they are all Phra ROD specific molds. But the images displayed herein are not relative to those molds, but rather, these are just for illustration of what Phra ROD image form looks like.

Originally, he just thought of putting the images for our site as a site update but not knowing I do have another two molds on Pongsuphan and Nang Phraya. So, since we are in this, might as well just go through briefly some background on its process and method of producing Buddhist amulets. Actually, I am not sure if Weerapong kept any pictures of those processes; if he didn't - visually you can just use this section for casual browsing.

Benchaphakhi, Top Five Thailand original amulet image forms
As this could have covered 3 of the TOP FIVE Benchaphakhi set (Soomdej, Soomkor, Nang Phraya, Pongsuphan and Phra Rod). IF anyone of you have other visual for SOOMKOR and SOOMDEJ - you may consider to send me pictures so I can put them orderly.

Explosive view of the two molds for making Nang Praya and Ponsuphan Fron view of the amulet molds for Nang Praya and Pongsuphan

Rear section vew of the plain molds for two Thai Buddhist amulets

A young face Pongsuphan image An old face Nargae Ponsuphan Another red clay Nargae (old faced) Pongsuphan, private collection  
Above: the two molds for Pongsuphan and Nang Phraya that I have.

LEFT:- Except for the image at far right which is owned by Weerapong's uncle and the first image with a young face which I have given away; the center two are the Pongsuphan that I am using.

An odd mid between Nang Praya and Pongsuphan image
The first image at far left is owned by Weerapong's uncle. The rest were used to be mine (gave away). I only retained the center image from left as it was my first amulet.

Phra ROD wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai mold for amulets making process Phra ROD wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai mold for amulets making process set 2 Phra ROD wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai mold for amulets making process set three
Dual surface mold Phra ROD wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai mold for amulets making process
From: weerapong srivichai <weerapong_srivichai@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Amulet mold / block for amulets in Chiangmai

Mold pictures of Pra-Rod Wat Pra-Sing ("Phra Singh"), Chiangmai produced back in Year 2496 Buddhist calendar year. There was a big celebration for blessing where the temples invited many Chief Abbots from various famous temples all over the country - it is like the same that happened last time when the Pra-Rod Wat Mahawan Lum-Phun was made.

Pra-Rod wat Pra-Sing 2496 has mold in 10 pieces & 11 mold / one mold has two surfaces (one front and one at the rear section); it is called is Pra-Rod pim-leg. And the Mold made from pure grays extracted from Lum-Phun. The SOLE mold shown at the left hand side is the mentioned mold and it is only one that has a DUAL surface mold.

Thanks, weerapong srivichai

< C O N T A C T > tel: Chiangmai 006666569515


A mini showcase of a Series of other Top Quality Phra Rod Images from Northern Thailand prepared by Weerapong Srivichai from Nation Channel TV, Chiangmai

Phra ROD libarry Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library  Phra Rod image library Phra ROD Mahawan temple
Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A

Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A

Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A

Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A Phra Rod image library -A

It was learnt that Soomkor was also produced using similar method but it can depends on individual temples and the methods they adopted for production. The source can be also in teak wood or red clay which has an excellent properties for making amulets for long lasting images. As for Soomdej, some web references have suggested they may be produced from various means. Power, chalk, ashes of josstick, incense, clay, honey, herbs or any other "secret recipes" only known to the Guru Monk. The mold can be soft rock, teak wood, harden clay etc. But most of all, people trust the monk who produced the specific amulet with the "extraordinary" chanting and blessing methods only sometimes be known to the specific guru. In a large scale ceremony, it is not unusual that the final stage be inviting Gurus from other temples to lend a hand in the final process. It can be just as simple as adding the remains of wax from burnt candles or ashes from the josstick after the prayers to more complicated process of adding individual recipes and/or special blessing. The entire ceremony can last for weeks as the schedule of visiting Gurus or Chief Abbot from other temples may required to be tight scheduled. Well, it is ALWAYS a big event in producing an amulets for a more well known "sizable" temple in Thailand. These was told by uncle Wichien as he was young, he practiced at Wat Phra Koh for the Luang Phor Thuad - errr . he stamped and made the amulet(s) and that batch has went through 21 days with hundred of visiting Guru monks from all over the country.

Although I am just acted as an interpreter and hear when I learnt but do know how other processes may involved. But these could perhaps provide you with a clue why sometimes we acquire amulet from larger scale temples as respective produce is/was always a seriously being handled. I have visited a Lanna temple
Wat Buag Klog Noi in Chiangmai and the room is literally filled with all bottles of herbs collected from the mountainous region in Chiangmai; another room just spared for hundreds of bottles containing ashes from many temples, each marked and labeled - I was told those probably have been collected for more than 10 years and in preparation one day that the temple decides to make amulet on their own.
     

Religious Power for spiritual usage

Herbs of Chiangmai in Bottles Oilments from extracts of Herbs in Chiangmai

an antique Pra-Sarm Ba-yon amulet mold during the haripunchai period Front and rear section view of Pra-Sarm Ba-yon amulet mold

amazing details of the mold
Detail of antique collectible Thai Pra-Sarm Bayon amulet mold produce during Haripunchai era

 

Above is the original Mold for Amulets of Combodia Arts name Pra-Sarm Ba-yon (Bayaon in Cambodia). the mold made from Bronk+Golden the eggs 1,500-1,700 years old. Made from bronk with gold for making an amulet named Phra Sarm Bayon. The image at the center is Loard Buddha, flanked with Phra Mokolla and Phra SareeBuddha ate the right. This mod is produced even BEFORE HARIPHUNCAHI era. Below is a mold for Amulet from Cambodia name Tawn-Kuweru meen The milieanare and happy with the goods business This is the Mold made from Bronk the old about 1,200-1,300 years old. - I guess these al images also provide a clue on the technique used during those days and relfecting the skil level used those days. An exccelnt illustration of respective period in the Buddhist Art of two countries. weerapong srivichai -
Detail front section of Cambodia Buddhist amulet name Tawn-Kuweru meen Mold stamp handle for Cambodia amulet named Tawn-Kuweru meen Cambodian Buddhist Amulet mold in Cambodia name Tawn-Kuweru meen

An original old mold for producing a Thai Soomdej WRK Amulet
From the long, tedious process of preparation of source (materials), it may lead you to appreciate your amulet more as a private possession rather than just treating it as a form of medium that offers you with a blessing. On the other hand, conventional amulets produced from traditional methods may yield an issue of preserving a long time state of condition as it is harder to preserve. Haven't you notice many of today's amulets are made of metal ? The essential theory is, it lasts. But not deniably they are much easier to be produced.

From the long, tedious process of preparation of source (materials), it may lead you to appreciate your amulet more as a private possession rather than just treating it as a form of medium that offers you with a blessing. On the other hand, conventional amulets produced from traditional methods may yield an issue of longitivity as it is harder to preserve. Haven't you notice many of today's amulets are made of metal ? The essential theory is, it lasts.



<
<<---- Here is a rare glimpse of how a original mold to produce a Soomdej/Soomdet looks like. PLEASE refer to Richard Wong's BASIC WAYS HOW TO IDENTIFY SOOMDEJ/SOOMDET . Just click on the thumbnail for explanation how it was produced and what to do with the left over pieces.

Luang Phor Ngern  Roop Lor

A framed Luang Phor Ngern  Roop Lor mini statue

Another material used for the cast mini statue of Buddhist monk LP Ngern image

But not deniably they are much easier to be produced. Use of cast metal process for Buddhist amulets are quite popular in Thailand, one good example is the Luang Phor Ngern Roop Lor mini statue; a metal is a metal, regardless how they are made; so for those who may be defensive with use of metal from conventional powder form, the wide acceptance of Luang Phor Ngern by the Thai certainly has defied the conventional wisdom.
     

With modern technology on laser molding, an amulet or pendant can be produced in absolute delicate details and even can be reproduced very lively when a Buddhist figure is used (shown is the Luang Phor Sodh of Wat Paknam in medallion pendant). I know one question you may ask from bottom of your heart - are they similar with power/wood based amulets ?

A metal based LP Sodh or Wat Paknam A metal based LP Sodh or Wat Paknam rear section view
Frankly, I DON'T KNOW. But one thing is for sure, they are easier to be produced in mass quantity. Worst still, the counterfeiters are happier to see this scenario is happening in the market place. I am not trying to put myself in defensive territorial boundary but may be I am belong to the old age group and since there are so many options available, I will put this category aside for good. I do know this topic can be highly controversial and individual perspective can be very different from person to person. This section will begin as it is as a lead and awaiting for more input from contributors and/or public discussion.

Thailand's HRH  Prince Peesadech Rachnee Y.jpg Weerapong Srivichai ID card at Nation Channel TV
A little Royal Presence as guest of honor at Nation Channel TV Station by HRH Prince Peesadech Rachnee, Thailand.

Another topic - Cases for 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(rockraymond168@yahoo.com), Tony EH (tony_itf@yahoo.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.