Phra Somdet amulets are one of the five national amulet category which is called the “Benjapakee” group of amulets. The amulets in the national amulet category is considered the top amulets of Thailand, with high powers proven through the tales of the holders, and are all very high in terms of value. The five amulets in the national amulets are each a representative of each region of Thailand and Phra Somdet Amulets are a representative of the Central Part of Thailand. In this article, we will take a look at the models and prints of the Phra Somdet Amulets. There are unlimited numbers of temples that create the Phra Somdet Amulets prints, but in consideration, the top models that are popular today and are highest in price are officially from the Royal temples. These temples have a long history, and has been a part in the history of Thailand since the past. The most famous models are from Wat Rakang Kositaram which is the temple that has a long tie to the originality of the amulet, later in this article we will focus more on the main prints from Wat Rakang along with the differences of each print. Other Royal temples who also create Phra Somdet Amulets include Wat Gaes Chaiyo and Wat Mai Bang Khun Prom.

 

            The process that these amulets go through is the blessing process. They first are blessed through what we call Putta Pisek blessing ceremony at the temple that originally created the amulet. The powers that are within the amulet begin at this point and is usually done by the Monk that has created the amulet. This is why amulets are very highly valued if they are created and blessed by a famous and respected Monk, this includes the Phra Somdet Amulets that are originally blessed by Phra Somdet Toh of Wat Rakang that are the valued the highest in today's market for Phra Somdet Amulets. Usually these Monks are very skilled in the art of amulet crafting, they have practiced years or their whole life on magic that is transferred into the amulets giving them powers to benefit the life of the holder. Although the amulets are originally blessed at the temple of their origin, they usually travel at least two or more temples to be blessed, placed under a Buddha Statue, usually under the main Buddha called the Phra Prathan. Then the amulets lay under the Phra Prathan for a period of time, it is believed that the amulets absorb the magic blessing of the prays and chants that are done by the monks in the chapel where they say and chant their blessings that will give and enhance the powers within the amulet.

 

            The Phra Somdet Amulets that are very high in value are the models and prints in the market are those that are recognized as official prints. For Wat Rakang Phra Somdet Amulets, which is in fact the most popular and expensive Phra Somdet Amulets have 5 recognized prints that are called “Pim” in Thai which directly translates to the word Print. This includes 1. Pim Chedi, 2. Pim Phra Pratan, 3. Pim Kete Bua Toom, 4. Pim Prok Pho, and 5. Pim Thaan Sam. The materials that were used in the creation of Wat Rakang Phra Somdet Amulets include organic materials, In all the amulets the Lime Shell powder is used as a base. Then the monk used his magic to give the amulets its magical powers, which for Phra Somdet Amulets includes 3 main powers, 1. Enhancement of Luck, 2. Enhancement of Charm, and 3. Enhancement of Fortune. He did this by writing down what he has learned from practicing the sacred subjects onto a board, then he scraped the dust of the first writing and repeated the process over and over, the belief is that such powers that has been reputed over and over again gives power to the dust making it holy and sacred. Then other organic materials were added to mold the powders together, the next process is forming a shape into the print that has been carved before hand. The sharp shape was given by using bamboo to sharpen the edges. 

Phra Somdet Amulets prints are all very similar in shape and structure, including the famous Buddha image with no face sitting in the meditation position on a leveled base. But, there are minor difference in each of the prints of Wat Rakang Phra Somdet Amulets. Where we will mainly focus on the prints of, 1. Pim Chedi, 2. Pim Phra Pratan, and 3. Pim Kete Bua Toom.

 

            1. Pim Chedi: It is one of the most popular prints that you see in the magazines and Buddhist amulets forums in Thailand and abroad. The materials used is more grainy than the Pim Thaan Saem print. Where it is normal for Phra Somdet amulets to have a shape that is not 100% accurate in position, meaning that there is usually a slight curve on top to one side forming a slight slope. This is normal as back then everything was hand made with very limited tools, such as using bamboo to sharpen the shapes of the amulet and hand melted prints to mold the amulet together.

 

            The Chedi Print is further separated into two prints, where one is the Pim Yai and one is Pim Lek. On both of the prints, there are common points of authenticity. Firstly, is the top of the Buddha rarely touches or only gently touches the arch on top that is in the shape of a semi circle above. On some amulets, there is a line that is near the right armpit drawing through to the left shoulder, and another line from the left chest lining down to the belly, this is the lines of the Jeeworn which is what monks wear as clothing, today it is the iconic yellow or dark brown robes. The Left armpit is likely to be higher than the right armpit and deeper in dimension. The lap of the Buddha is usually narrow and the closing line under connecting to the base is also narrow. The legs are overlapping with the right leg over the left leg, a thin line is drawn through those points. The first base that the Buddha is sitting on is curved, while the second base is in the shape of a hidden Singha leg. Together, the points drawn connecting from the top of the Buddha to the corners of the left side and right side of base is in the shape of a triangular, thus the name Pim Chedi Print. The differences of Pim Lek and Pim Yai, is where Pim Yai the face is more big and round while the body is also larger with a thick waist. For Pim Lek, the face is smaller with a smaller body, including a thinner waist.

 

            2. Pim Phra Pratan: This is often called the Big Mould as it is one of the oldest prints of Phra Somdet. This print is one of the most replicated prints of Phra Somdet in today's market making the details in this amulet very detailed. For this print, there is a belief that all the amulets made by Phra Somdet Toh was blessed with the Chinabanchorn chant blessing. To this day, many Thai people still pray the Chinnabanchon chant every morning or every night as the chant is one of the strongest and highly effective chants out there, it is believed that continuously chanting the Chinabanchorn can help protect you from danger or evil that tries to attack you. The frame line which is often referred to as the “Wassana” Line which means Fate in English, on the left of the Buddha image will go all the way down from the top to the base bottom of where the Buddha is sitting, while on the right, the line only goes to the first level of where the Buddha is sitting. Next, is that on all sides of the amulet, the sides are not smooth, there are grumps and small holed on all four sides surrounding the amulet. If you see a perfectly smooth sided Pim Phra Pratan print, then it is likely not authentic. If the amulet has not been kept in well condition, it is even normal if there are cracks on the base and and also through the top of the amulet.

 

            The next point is the height of the armpit, the left armpit is usually higher if compared to the right armpit of the Buddha. The Left knee is usually bigger and goes higher than the right knee of the Buddha. If the amulet has not been sunk down too much, you will be able to see that the left leg is on top of the right leg as the Buddha is sitting in a meditation structure. The left frame is usually more near to the head of the Buddha than the right frame that is in a semi circle shape above the Buddha. The point that is always true is that the right elbow is in a position slightly above the left elbow, you can use a ruler to slightly see the level of bend between each points. The next point you want to look at is the edges of the levels that the Buddha is sitting on which is the base. The three edges to the three levels on the left are higher in proportion than the right where if drawn a line through the first level from left to right the line will slightly curve down to the left. The second level should be very sharp in the front if felt, and the edges should form the shape of an axe. The right edge of the third level should be more bent outwards if compared to the left side and the line through the middle horizontally should curve into the amulet. The next point of identification is the head line, it should bend towards the left slightly which is called “Gate Aung Sai” in Thai. The face shall not have any clear distinctable feature such as a nose or an ear.

 

            3. Pim Kete Bua Toom: This is one of the Phra Somdet Prints that is quite unique with key points of differences between the other prints. On the first glance, the material is likely more stone like with a touch of shininess to the amulet. The lines of differences are such as the hairline and the Jeeworn lines which is what the monks wear is also much clearer if compared to Pim Chedi Jeeworn lines where it is only visible in some Pim Chedi Phra Somdet amulets. The first point is the hair on top of the Buddha is in the shape of a lotus with curved top in the shape of a rice bead on top of the lotus. The ears are very big and are curved inward to the face of the Buddha. The Jeeworn line is very clear and visible, where there is a line through the right armpit all the way to the left shoulder, then another line from the left chess all the way to the belly. The arms on both sides are usually in the same size and proximity in the shape and depth. The meditation posture has the left leg in a position under the right knee. There is a clear distinct line under the Buddha giving the baseline. The second level of base underneath the Buddha is shorter when measured than all of the four prints we have mentioned from Wat Rakang. Both sides of the line that is on the top of the second base touches the sides of the other lines on the top and bottom. The Pim Kete Bua Toom print, similar to the Pim Chedi Print also has two styles of prints, where one is called Pim Yai with a thicker body, bigger arms, and almost round circular face. While the Pim Lek is smaller in body size, thinner arms, and does not have a face as big and round as the Pim Yai print.