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The Art of Collecting Amulets

This article was compiled from my own experience coupled with opinions and advice from good fellow collectors. I do not want to claim that I am an specialist or have vast experience in authenticating genuine amulets.  But certainly I am a true believer and a worshipper of Buddhist holy talismans and votive tablets.Before any would-be collector start pursuing this passion in collecting amulets either for their artistic beauties, hobby or appreciative values, it is crucial that you ought to know some basic foundation to truly enjoy a good collection in a smart way. 

It’s my greatest wish to share and impart my years of knowledge as a sacred amulet collector and the guiding reference source here will benefit all readers and followers of Thai amulet trends.  Although I have written extensively on this subject with regards to the art of amulet collection here, there is a possibility that I may have overlooked certain details that I’m not aware.  Please do not hesitate to write and inform me so that your suggestion can benefit others.
In SimplyBuy logo, the word “Don’t” was intentionally left out so that when you want to buy amulet related stuff, always don’t forget to add in the word “Don’t” in front of simply buy.  In the cause of our quest to bring all previous articles to the world of Thai amulet collectors here, we always followed a simple methodology - Research, Evaluate, and only then Decide (RED).  The abbreviation for RED methodology is equivalent to Don’t Simply Buy before doing research, evaluation and decision.  
The very least we ourselves as collectors could do is to do some reading and researching.  We are actually arming ourselves with critical info and knowledge before making any acquisition decision.  If the so desired amulet comes knocking at your doorstep by destiny, that is a great moment of joy.  What I meant by destiny is that the amulet somehow or rather find its way to you at a very fair price e.g. when you accidentally spotted it from some places without expecting to pay a hefty sum of money to purchase or it’s handed to you by someone that you have affinity with. 
Some high-end amulets are just too expensive for a normal person to own.  In this scenario, you don’t have to chase after it.  If by destiny and luck it comes naturally, this is what I meant amulet come knocking at your door. Simply be prepared by getting to know more background information and be very patient.  We have to learn to adopt the mental state of acceptance in a neutral approach - If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, never mind. Then the heart will be at ease without attachment to cause disturbance. 

Holy amulets and talismans of Thai origin are made with faith in remembrance of Lord Buddha’s teachings by monks for their followers, either for protection or to serve as commemorative purpose.  The origin of amulets dated back many centuries ago in Buddhist influenced civilization (please read earlier article posting “Amulet Origins”).  The tradition of burying amulets hidden inside Chedis or Pagodas in the cause of preserving Buddhism for our future generation is still being practiced today.  What is being termed Genuine must come from the origin source e.g. temples and monks.  Hence, the word ‘genuine amulets’ must have its aesthetic value associated with a high level of authenticity.
The most basic knowledge that a collector must understand is that a genuine piece of amulet may not necessarily be very expensive and yet effective in its protective properties.  The rationale behind this contention is simply because the amulet if officially issued by a particular temple, the price is normally affordable for common people to purchase in return for the act of conducting merit where the money will go into the temple development.  Likewise, an expensive amulet may not necessary be genuine and effective.  This is a balance that we as collector for personal hobby interest must strike to reduce the risk of entanglement into believing genuine as imitation fake and imitation fake as genuine.  I would not use the word fake or imitation but rather use the word to describe these as Replicas. 

In my early years starting off as a self-learned collector, I used to wonder why those enthusiasts hanging out at amulet markets everywhere in Thailand are so serious looking with their magnifying loupe.  It seemed as though they are going to pierce through the object they are holding at their fingertips with a single unblinking eye.  Then only I realized that without a loupe it is very difficult to learn about the distinctive marking of every piece of amulet.
Every single piece of amulet has its distinctive characteristics or sometimes referred to as defective marks that can be easily understood.  Hence, it is crucial to have a loupe to magnify the image to see these characteristics in order to learn.  It is a good practice to have a small loupe alongside your pocket wherever you go around searching for amulets be it in temples or the amulet market.  Please take note that chances of getting replicas is higher at amulet markets e.g. ThaPrachan the evergreen amulet market in Bangkok. 

For new beginners in this hobby, I personally do not encourage any purchase at amulet markets for the reason there are too many replicas sold in bulks that worth a few Baht per piece.  It's better to buy original from the many temple amulet counters as the starting point.  Even experienced collectors would still prefer to get original pieces of amulet from temples eventhough they may be newly consecrated.  Once you have garnered enough experienced for a particular kind of amulet or a revered monk, you may find the joy in sourcing at amulet markets knowing which are replica and which are genuine. 

Here are some more replicas to serve as reference.  Please examine the high imitation level of these replicas that can easily fool the untrained eyes.  Lack of knowledge will simply result in acquiring a piece of replicas.  This is especially true for high-end most sought after amulet genres.

From my personal experience nobody can be an all- rounder expert for all types of amulet genres.  Don’t be Jack of all trades and master of none.  Keep your focus and attention into a few amulet genres e.g. Pidta or Somdej, etc. from a particular revered master and grow your experience gradually.  By focusing this way you should be able to master this art of collecting in due time.  Basic understanding of some terminology and its associated meaning in the Thai vocabulary tabulated in this article will proof to be very useful for new hobbyist collectors. 

There are several ways of acquiring amulets for your collection e.g. directly from temple's amulet counter, amulet shops or amulet markets that will be discussed in detailed later.  In recent years the most popular approach is to acquire amulets through the Internet.  Learning from experience, it is crucial that a trusted online seller must be able to provide a detailed photography elements such as photo clarity and colour accuracy.  These 2 elements are deemed important in helping you to decide later after studying the photos from the online seller.  Likewise, studying and looking at detailed online photos will also provide a certain degree of assurance to the buyer.

Principles in Deciphering Amulets Authenticity

Each amulet genre must be produced over a certain period of time, with no more reproduction later on.  In order to stop the reproduction of the said amulet the temple will practically destroy the moulding plate.  The reasons behind this stop production could be due to several factors.  However, there are 2 major factors that could affect this stop production mainly due to unavailability of the pre-requisite holy materials or the original monk with the know-how to create this amulet had passed away.  When highly revered amulets for its effectiveness are no longer being produced, usually what would happen is the price will soar gradually.  There are a number of examples of this phenomenon e.g. Pidta Tok Raja, Somdej Wat Rakang,  Luang Phu Thuad. 

If you want to collect amulets of any revered monks, we must do research and study the purpose for the making of such amulets.  For instance whether they are made with good intentions to obtain donations from devotees e.g. temple construction, charity to help the poor, etc. or they are made to mark certain occasion e.g. commemorative.  It is up to each individual to evaluate whether the later or former is more susceptible. 

There is no wrong or right but certainly Research and Evaluate before Deciding is crucial simply because each year there are hundreds of amulet genres being produced by the many temples from all over Thailand.  You can see such evidence from the advertising and marketing of new amulets from billboards, amulet magazines, and amulet traders promoting the new amulets or a certain celebrity status monks.  With this methodological understanding, we hope every collector could narrow down their search for a wonderful collection.   

Having this experience, you will definitely be more confident.  But please be careful not to say impolite word like uttering “this is Fake” in front of a seller.  If you know the piece is a replica (imitation/copy/fake), only your mind knows it but keep your silence. If the amulet owner or seller ask your opinion and you are 100% sure it’s a piece of replica, you may politely say it’s not suitable for you.  This is the best ethical approach in taking the position of not offending any parties. 

Principle No. 1: 
An inexpensive amulet does not mean that it’s ineffective.  Likewise, an expensive amulet does not mean it’s effective.  

Each genuine piece of amulet has its own supernatural power.  It may be suitable for someone but may not be suitable for the other person.  Therefore, the contention of “Some Can, Some Cannot” (SCSC) rule of thumb would apply in this context.  For instance, someone purchased an authentic Somdej Wat Rakang for a few hundred thousand and highly rated its superiority when worn with a chain on his neck.  When a friend of his heard about this satisfying rating, he too quickly went to sought a similar genuine piece but found the result to be far less superior.  In essence, the former had good merits accumulation whereas the latter was clouded with delusion.  Both amulet pieces are authentic and came from the same revered monk.  But the result outcomes from the 2 persons are very different. 

The likelihood of these 2 different outcomes can be due to a certain power level that had been ‘injected’ into the amulet during its consecration process by the revered monk.  If we want reap the benefit of any amulet whether it’s expensive or inexpensive, we must cultivate ourselves by following the teachings of the universal law in order to be on par with the power level of the amulet to gain the benefits for its protective or other component properties.  In my opinion a person wearing amulet should at least have a kind hearted quality instilled.

When Phra Somdej Wat Rakang or Phra Luang Phu Thuad votive tablets was first being produced, they were given away on complimentary basis or by way of Tamboon that is up to an individual’s affordability.  Likewise there are also many amulet genres from other highly revered monks e.g. Ajahn Lee a forest monk and student disciple of Ajahn Mun and many others.  In Thailand there is a vast array of collectible amulet genres to suite each and every collector.  Some could be rare and very expensive for only one reason – Efficacious.  We must understand that sacred item collectors will be more than willing to pay a price for a crafted artefact that comes with proven worthiness in its efficacious properties that the amulet was intended.

Perhaps this is something for us as collectors to ponder upon.  Collecting inexpensive amulets from well-learned monks can be equally joyful as we partake in accruing merits and these inexpensive amulets made for good cause can then be handed down to future generation.  This is an art in amulet collection that many people have failed to recognize.  Imagine that if you have specially collected a genuine amulet piece of a well-learned monk made in say B.E.2554 today, in the next 50 years this particular piece would be a classic and have aged beautifully.  Most of us will not be around in the next 50 years to treasure this piece anymore due to mortal lifespan.  But whoever inherited this B.E.2554 amulet piece from you will truly appreciate the good sighted effort in you because this piece from a well-learned monk item has turned into something valuable from a collector’s point-of-view.

Principle No. 2: 
Be cautious of those amulets that are highly publicized and produced in large quantities as they are probably being marketed for commercial reasons. 

Commercialized amulets are usually mass produced at factories in huge quantities as opposed to hand-made amulets that are individually produced in detailed often in lower quantities.  I am not saying that factory mass production amulets have higher chances of counterfeit.  But just be wary as we do not want to get into the frenzy situation in chasing after commercialized amulets that doesn’t bring any benefits to mankind but only to enrich certain quarters.    There is no significance in obtaining such kind of amulets of commercial nature.

Activities associated with any amulets made with commercial interests can be clearly felt and seen with fictitious marketing strategies and propaganda by telling people a certain high ranking monk out of nowhere is good, strong in magical powers, etc.  Greed is in the disguise of clever marketing to promote poor quality amulets with pre-written propaganda messages for unwary victims.  Most of the time such amulets being marketed this way are not effective as promised.
In Buddhism, we believe that if a person is good with Parami endowment eventually he will be known without the need of any kind of marketing.   A lot of lay people including avid collectors would fall into this trap.  Therefore, it is advisable that collectors don’t take this principle lightly. 

Principle No. 3:
Seeking opinions from reliable sources in authenticating amulets could reduce risk and enhance knowledge.  But be extra careful and trust your own judgement.

If we are able to have the correct knowledge then we should be able to distinguish some fine genuine amulets at a very reasonable price.  Reliable sources are crucial where correct information on the unique verification of a particular amulet type is very important.  Sources can come from a reliable mentor or the master himself who created the amulets and trusted publications in this regard can help to provide a correct understanding of a specific amulet.   Be aware that there are some publications that are purposely written by unscrupulous authors to hide the actual fact and persuade people into false belief.  Therefore, the word “trusted publications” e.g. books, magazines, Internet must be of very selective. 

In reality there are conmen always ready to prey on victims by making false claim that they knew a great deal in verifying amulets.   This type of con personality can make a huge impact on the trust of unsuspecting collectors while tarnishing the name of Buddhism.  The hidden agenda behind these conmen is always to point the wrong information and then sell you replicas.  To be a good collector, we must learn to spot the con-behavioural of such characters. 

On the contrary having a trusted mentor can also be a real challenge because most of the time you will not be able to meet the amulet creator or monk in-person.  You would have to rely at most time to a so-called trusted source which would ideally be the private seller.  They can operate from amulet retail shop or online web store.  Amulet sellers or traders are basically profit centric.  Honestly speaking, I have never heard of any amulet trader will tell you that the amulets they are selling are actually replicas.  Have you?   

We won’t say traders are dishonest but most of the time they can be pretty reliable and play a vital role in stocking up amulets at their store that you may desire to own.  There are a few pretty reliable traders that I came across before with good purchase experience.  Although difficult, do check their background and trust your own instinct before doing any purchase.  The great thing about amulet shop is you get a chance to mingle with other avid collectors from all walks of life where you can learn something.   

Every human being that walks on this earth does mistakes.  For this reason benefit of doubt should be given to amulet traders who may also been a victim of another unscrupulous party.  This is especially true if you came across this situation before.  It can happen that a trusted trader may have replica inventory without themselves knowing.  How could this happen?  There are only 2 approaches that a trader can obtain amulets to sell at their shops.  The first approach is they themselves travel to temples to seek amulets directly and then resell to consumers.  The second approach is to go through a middleman whom can supply amulet stocks on periodical basis to the trader.  Theoretically the chances of replica intrusion mixed up with other genuine items is possible with the second approach.  It is a costly business affair considering a trader in Singapore or Malaysia to take a flight all the way to Thailand just to take a few pieces of amulets to sell.  Therefore, the middleman approach would be the ideal solution.  There are cases when a particular temple is too far away from Bangkok city where the travel cost, effort and timing is not justifiable to go personally. Likewise in this situation traders can resort to obtaining amulets via a middleman contact. 

If you happen to have been in a situation where you have purchased replica in the past, simply just forget and forgive.  I would say a majority of collectors had been duped before in one way or the other and this should serve as a good learning lesson.  A con-seller never points a gun at your head and forced you to purchase right?   We our self is to be blamed for trusting these unethical sellers due to their smooth and convincing talks.  Why would someone sell fakes for no obvious reason?  Unless the trader is a hardcore replica seller and certainly his business will never sustain for long because Karma will take its effect upon ripening in this type of seller.
After all was said in principle no. 3, please don’t be disheartened or frustrated in hearing what I have pointed out here.  The good news is that recent amulet batches that are still aplenty in the temple and marketplace will not likely to have replicas.  Try to think why would a counterfeit organization spend money and effort to produce something where there is no demand and supply issue?  Hence, it is still safe for the average collector to purchase from your trusted seller.   A collector only needs to be wary about popular and highly sought after piece of amulet that has discontinued production. 

If you still can’t trust any seller at all, the only way is to obtain amulets directly from temples.  But the cost of travel and accommodation could run very high.  It is therefore recommended that you take the opportunity when you go on holidays in Thailand.  If your choice of temple happens to be in Bangkok, we already have a complete article posting “Bangkok - Where to Stay?” to give you some ideas on how to start your collecting adventures. 

The rule of RED is relevant and can be applied fully whether you make a purchase from a trader or getting direct from temple.  The message here is don’t trust only a single source but instead have an open mind to dig more information in order for you to apply the RED methodology.  Trusting your own judgement can only be fruitful and realized later when you keep practicing and applying the methodology.  

Know what amulet that you desire to own e.g. which monk or temple, metal or powder based, which batch, what Phim is preferred, etc.  Research can be done in many ways e.g. Internet, books, feedback or personally visiting the temple.  Then make an evaluation in terms of authenticity, is the amulet for commercial purpose or charity driven for a good cause.  Finally make the decision whether it’s a good investment in relative to the price.  If you happen to be at the temple yourself as Buddhist cum collector, it is a good practice in giving a small donation even if you have decided not to purchase the amulet after due consideration. 

Principle No. 4: 
Continuous learning will lead to expert knowledge and wisdom.

You must never stop learning in order to gain knowledge and wisdom.  Take your time to learn from one amulet to the other at your own pace.  If possible learn by comparing a genuine amulet that you can examine thoroughly for to learn about its dimensions, size, weight, Phim blocks, and key markings. Technical knowledge is just one part of wisdom.  But knowing the effects of amulets is the other major knowledge  which every collector must try to experience.  This can only be achieved by trying out by wearing the amulets for a period of time.

Taking this continuous learning principle further, whenever you stop by to visit a Thai temple, after praying have the habit of going over the amulet counter to check things out even though you may not have any intention to acquire any particular amulet.   Once you have obtained the expert knowledge of a particular amulet, you may want to contribute your knowledge with other fellow collectors with good intent through websites or blogs. 

Wisdoms can be very thrilling when achieved through continuous handling of amulets.  Wisdom can be derived into 2 ways.  Wisdom to help decide which amulet to purchase that will bring ultimate goodness to mankind while avoiding scam perpetrators.  Wisdom that comes with a special skill in knowing the affiliated power or effects of a particular amulet and this is the ultimate wisdom that all collectors wish to have.  A lot of time I have heard from people asking advice if this amulet “jalan or not” literally meaning can it give the desired result as promised.  You will be very astonished when this wisdom is fully developed.  However, the rule SCSC (some can, some cannot) does apply for this type of wisdom.

When you acquire amulets for own collection, you should choose the most beautiful piece that is within your budget.  Beautiful pieces without surface abrasion or rough handling are those highly appreciated with value.  Prices are normally impressive when you sell the amulet in good condition later on.  That is why we recommend the obvious reason to carry your own magnifying loupe to see the condition carefully before you purchase. 

There are extreme cases where people would suggest try sending your prized possessions to one of the many Thai amulet competition for the purpose of verifying its authenticity.  The notion of sending in your amulet to competition is try to win a prize which comes with a certificate.  With such winning certificate the piece will command a higher price value than another similar piece that does not enter competition. 

As a mediocre hobbyist collector we find this approach too dramatic.  Furthermore you have to pay a fee to enter such competition and there’s no guarantee it will win.  Unless you are a collector with intention to resell your amulets then this is different story altogether.   For the majority of mediocre collector here, there is an alternative approach to make your prized possession meaningful without incurring cost that can be unique and much appreciated.  To make it interesting I called this sentimental value cert because you took the effort in getting the amulet details including the monk himself to be authenticated in a beautiful and yet memorable snapshot.  This can turn into a sentimental value certificate that you may pass it on together with the amulet piece to someone dear in the future.

1. Take a photograph session together with the revered monk whom made the amulet.

2. Take a close- up photograph of the amulet and then superimpose them onto the monk’s photograph earlier.

3. You can include texts onto the completed self-made Sentimental Value Certificate or better still to obtain the signature from the monk himself if you have the opportunity.

In crafting out your self-made certificate, just be truthful that the images contained are genuine in relation to the amulet piece.  Otherwise, it is no difference than the many faked certificates available in the amulet market like Thaprachan (shown below). So start crafting the certs today and simply enjoy the art of collecting your treasured amulets. 

Beware of the "Industrious Monks"
It is sad to bring up the issue here concerning some delusive monks that are only concerned in making money for themselves by selling amulets to innocent Buddhist devotees and new collectors alike.  Sometimes we can refer this kind of monks as the industrious type by exploiting the faith and money of individuals in return for mediocre amulets that are expensive and maybe non effective.  We may ask ourselves and kept wondering how could this happen and it does happen in reality.  Without tarnishing the Sangha Order, please allow us to reveal the modus operandi of these certain "industrious monks" and the rationale behind as to why they take this deceiving path to earn money from people.  This true account is based on personal experience and observation.

In Thailand many people are poor and one of the solution out of this social problem is to join the monkhood.  Many of those seeking this solution out have little education background and would find that studying is not in their best interest.  Neither they want to practice the Dhamma streneously in terms of gaining meditation advancement.  Another common reason for these individual to become a monk is to escape from family or marital problems.  In either ways they all boil down to money problem.  The industrious monk would take this opportunity to make money for themselves or make money for other personal reasons.  In most cases, these money making type of monks would accumulate enough income and then disrobe to become a commoner. 

Most victims are generous folks that you can find on the street particularly in easy going countries like Malaysia and Singapore.  What is RM100 or SGD100 mean to you to purchase a piece of a supposedly "powerful" amulet as claimed by the industrious monk?  Usually with this amount of money it will not cause you an arm or a leg.  But being cleverly deceived by these kind of monks into buying a questionable amulet you would ultimately end up with many questionable amulets in your home.  You are certainly not the first or the last victim of such industrious monks. It happened to many people before and through this learning experience you will gain wisdom in avoiding them.

At most time an industrious monk are very friendly and filled with Metta.  You will be easily convinced.  The usual modus operandi that we have seen before is they would usually tell you that his Master or mentor is a well known senior monks.  A industrious monk will not hesitate to use the good name and reputation of a usually older monk to gain a foothold to make you believe.  Following that he may try to convinced you that he learned a certain arcane knowledge in making a trademark talisman e.g. Takrut.  How are you going to tell if that talisman is really good?  Once you believe him and your hard earned money that is suppose to go into good cause in supporting the Buddha Sasana will most probably go into the personal pocket making the industrious monk richer.  Try imagining he takes out a bunch of amulets from his 'sales bag' and unknowingly they turned out to be all replicas or not well known amulets.  Too late once you are being convinced and ending up purchasing something you don't need at all. You may be surprised with what you see when you are invited into the industrious monk's Kuti or residence.  Guess what?  A glass covered sales counter like you see in supermarket filled with amulets of different kinds. 

Identifying and avoiding these industrious monks will need experience.  We do not want to paint a negative picture that every monks in a particular temple are bad.  Only those you can identify are the ones that you will classify as those with misconduct and going against the Vinaya rules.  An industrious monk do not know how to give Dhamma lectures.  For one simple reason, they do not study in the first place.  They only know how to give water blessings and chanting of easy Buddhist verses for you.  It is sad to say that large majority of Malaysian Thai tradition monks also don't study well but they like studying arcane knowledge and make amulets.

The safest way to distinguish between a practicing monk or an industrious monk is by protecting yourself by having some knowledge in the Tipitaka or Abhidhamma.  The industrious monk will usually shy away from discussing about the Dhamma.  Another way to get to know a monk better is ask how many Vassa or years he had been in the monkhood.  Age can be deceiving.  An industrious monk may take advantage of his age to deceive you into believing that he is well respected.  Later you may feel distraughted to find out that this elderly monk in his late 50s is actually a Samanera (newly ordained monk) for just 1 or 2 years who took the opportunity to enter monkhood in order to escape from financial problem.  Frightening discovery right?

Well, a learned monk Maha Thera once explained that this type of disciplinary or problematic monks existed even during the Buddha's time.  There's nothing to be afraid and certainly you must develop the wisdom to avoid such ill conduct monks.  Confronting this issue with regards to industrious monks is not easy for the temple authorities.  The scams of most industrious monk will always be discovered by people and the result will see them being asked to leave the temple or disrobe if the offence commited is too great.  Therefore, the best way to protect yourself is to learn the Dhamma by yourself.  It is also good to read the Vinaya rules to understand till a certain extend of what are the disciplines required for monks to follow.  This way you will be able to overcome this intricate issue concerning industrious monks. 

Collector’s Etiquette

There're some good etiquette which fellow collectors may like to consider applying it in the long term.  Apprehended below are a few quick tips for every discerning collector.

Restraint from telling people amulets in their possession are imitation copy especially if you are not 100% sure.  The negativity of such remark could cause disturbance to the owner concerned.  Have you ever considered what if that supposedly a replica amulet happened to be genuine?  If the person happened to be an acquaintance or someone you don’t know very well, simply say that his amulet is not suitable for you.  If that unfortunate person happens to be your best friend or a close relative, and you have a genuine concern about his amulet condition then you may choose a clever approach like finding photographs from reliable publications that describe a similar amulet with important markings or details to show the significant variances.  Do not make any judgement on his behalf.  Let him make his own judgement and he will thank you for your effort in helping him to realize the fact.  The advice is don’t try to show off by bluntly telling something plucked from the air that is not relevant. 

The correct method to hold an amulet will demonstrate if you are a professional or a rookie.  Holding amulets at the edges with your fingertips will prevent any damage or leave finger residues on the amulet surface.  Surely you would not like it when someone else viewing your amulet with a loupe is pressing all over your amulet with his bare hands.  Therefore be extra cautious when handling amulets. 

Maintenance of amulets in mint condition is also an important aspect of a collector.  After sometime keeping in exposed environment (without temple box or cabinet) dusts will settle down on the amulets.  For ease of keeping your prized possession in immaculate condition always try to keep amulets in proper temple box which comes along with the amulet.  Depending on individual’s preference some amulets are sealed in transparent plastic casing in order to provide long lasting protection against natural elements.  Amulets can also be encased in pure gold, silver or removable stainless steel casing.  All the above suggested casing technique is for the purpose of protecting the amulets from accidental damaged while allowing you to hook onto a neck chain for wearing.

Amulet maintenance is easy with 3 simple tools; a camera lens blower, light brush and soft cotton wipes.  For powder based amulet using a blower and light brush to gently remove dust on the surface is ideal.  For metal based type you can use a combination of blower, light brush and wipe the surface gently with a soft cloth to remove unwanted fingerprints and dust off.  DO NOT remove the aesthetic look of your amulet to retain its originality as amulets tend to aged and the value is tagged to its ageing process. 

Some people might suggest to use alcohol based cleaning agents for metal amulets.  No matter how, please refrain from using these chemical products as they may corrode the amulet surface.  Whenever you have free time, as a collector and appreciator it is a perfect opportunity to clean up your possession for a tip top immaculate condition.  How well you maintain your possession will reflect who you are particularly when you tend to showcase your prized possession to invited guests. 

Before you take any amulets home, it is a good practice to document down vital details of each individual piece for example year it was made, by which monk, individual or mass chanted, purpose of making and if possible try to ask what ingredients were mixed into the amulet.  What you are doing is simply archiving the amulet piece for your own record.  A simple method is to write down the info on a piece of sticker and paste it on the temple box which comes along with the amulet.
After taking the amulet home, don’t simply chuck them aside with other household stuffs.  Remember all amulet talismans including Takrut are blessed by monks using Buddhist scriptures or Yant.  Therefore they are considered holy as they have been sanctified.  Taking good care of amulets by storing at appropriate place is a sign of respect to the sacred items that have been properly blessed by high-ranking Buddhist monks for your own welfare.  In most cases people tend to keep amulets at their altar but as long as they are kept properly in a cabinet specifically for safe keeping your amulets from prying hands and small children, then it’s already good enough. 

Thai Vocabulary for Amulet Collection


1  = Nerng
2  = Sorng
3  = Sum
4  = See
5  = Har
6  = Hok
7  = Chet
8  =  Paet
9  = Gow
10= Sip

Phim Yai-Big mould
Phim Toh -Fat & short mould
Phim Jew - Mini mould
Phim Lek-Small mould
Phim Glaang-Medium mould
Rian -Medal or medallion amulet
Roop or Roop Muan-A small image by casting, carving, or sculpturing
Phim na yai-Big-face phim
Phim na lek -Small-face phim
Pump - Machine pumped
Roon reak-First batch
Roon sutai-Last batch
Tamboon – Monetary donation of any amount
Takrut yao -Long takrut
Kleebbua-Lotus petal shape
Phong-Holy powder
Yant-Holy script or verse mostly in Kom (ancient Khmer)

Luang Pi-Address of younger Monk
Luang Phor-Address of monk generally above 40years of age
Luang Phu-Address of monk generally abover 60years of age
Tamboon Phapah -A merit making by donation gathered from people
Singharaj-Lion king
Ubosot -The main hall where the major Buddha statue located
Roi pee-100 years

Alpaka – Nickel
Loha - Alloy
Thong Kam - Gold
Thong Ngern - Silver
Thong Daeng - Copper
Thong Leaung - Brass
Samlit - Bronze
Takua - Lead
Mekaphat - A type of alloy
Mekhasit - Mercury
Kanlonghin - A type of alloy
Lek Lai - A legendary metal with magical properties
Phong - powder based
Wahn – medicine herbs

Maha larp -Great fortune
Maha phokhasap-Great wealth
Maha amnaj -Great charismatic power feared by others, being in authority
Maha metta -To be greatly loved by others all around
Maha saneh-Opposite sex attractiveness
Metta maha niyom - Effect of loving-kindness
Kong kra phan chatri-Invincibility
Kanphai -Protection for safety
Klaew klaad-Free from all harms
Buddhakom-Buddhistic magics
Visha -Knowledge
Somboon-Abundance, complete
Sapya-Wealth, treasures, assets
Niyom - Popular
Choklap - Getting more money, property, riches etc.
Maha -Great 

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