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somdej toh amulet necklace (eastern travels collection 2004)


the centerpiece of this necklace is a very old 24K gilded clay buddha amulet, which was created & blessed by the famous thai buddhist monk named somdej put-ta-jhan toh (1788-1872), who was the abbot of the "wat ra-kang ko-si-ram" temple in 18th century bangkok.

the clay tablet is 3.75" L & has been painted with a patina of reddish lacquer & votive 24K gold leaf; surrounding the pendant are beads made of tiger's eye, yellow agate, gold-painted glass, & kiln-fired clay. the piece is finished with a gold vermeil clasp.

as a child, the famous monk was so small that his parents named him “toh” -- which means “large” –- to encourage him to be strong & successful. this moniker became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as “monk toh” was probably the most famous & widely loved monk in 19th century thailand. many people, including thailand’s king, rama, paid their highest respects to him.

in thailand, each "phra somdej," or "venerable monk," & their affiliated monastery, has their own distinct style(s) of amulets. monk toh became famous for his amulets, which, due to his meditative prowess, were reputed to be very powerful. in fact, to this day, monk toh’s amulets are recognized as the best of all thai amulets, due in as much to their fine craftsmanship as to their association with numerous miraculous events.

it is believed by the thai people that the more tiers there are on the base of the buddha in a "phra somdej" amulet such as this one, the more powerful it is. paradoxically, there are not many extra tall amulets are made like this one. due to its length & size, this particular amulet formation is known as the "narrow card" style.

also known as a votive tablet, the buddha amulet is worn as a talisman to bring good luck, success, & respect to its owner, as well as protection in business affairs. buddhist votive tablets began as sacred mementos of visits to holy places, but over time, transformed into something greater, acquiring, in the minds of believers, the ability to protect. the collection of thai amulets is a significant activity, with the rarest items changing hands for more than a million baht (thai currency), or around $27,222 US dollars.

price: $750.00

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