The Amulet Market

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Bangkok, explore, Random Musings, scooters, Thailand, travel | 1 comment

The Amulet Market

The Amulet Market

Who Knew I would turn into a geek so quickly. My eye is not keen for the nuances. Nor do I know much about the background, or the history behind amulets. But there I was geeking out like a 12 year old boy peering at his favorite athletes’ player card. I know, I was, and still am one of THOSE kids. My sports card collection is so big I could sell it by the pound, and still turn a tidy profit.

I had walked through the amulet market earlier in the week, and also on a previous trip.  Or at least what I thought was the amulet market. I found it to be too busy and bothersome for me. I had to crook my neck to walk under the umbrellas and makeshift awnings, and tarps, dodging worthy customers, as they ogled, bargained and geeked out over the age, size, and descriptions, inscriptions, materials, cases, and displays which mostly depict the Buddha, various monks, and Thai royalty.

  Dawn had asked me if I wanted one. And at first I really didn’t have any desire to purchase something that would likely be nothing more than a drawer weight collecting dust. That is until we turned down a little alley way which led into the meat of the Amulet Market.

Bangkok is full of alley ways that look like they lead to nowhere.  A little exploring proved that it not only led to what is probably one of the biggest Amulet Markets in the world, but also led to my interest and fascination over the meanings, descriptions, and marketing of said Amulets.

Once I had a little breathing room without constantly having to move out of anybody elses way, I was all in! This tiny little alley opened up into lanes and aisles of shop houses and makeshift booths that ran up and down over acres and acres of land. It had even grown out over the river itself.

My interest turned when I realized I was in a place unlike any other on this earth. Sorting, and sifting through more Amulets than you can shake a choker at I finally found the Amulet that sits on my chest today. It depicts the Buddha, seated at a temple. This particular image is cast in some sort of metal, and tucked into a gold case. On the back is an inscription in Thai. I was wondering why the aficionados would peer into the Amulets with a jewelers glass. Now I know. The different inscriptions mean different things. Some are prayers, some tell of which Temple had blessed them. Some tell of the history, or the lineage from which they came. Now some were just plain, but no less unique in my mind.

My child like enthusiasm took hold once I had my first one. I had it attached to a simple beaded necklace and around my neck it went. It was like Kryptonite. Once it touched my skin it removed my minds power and fear of being a foreigner in a spooky  back alley, and also relieved me of any apprehension of disinterest or lack of curiosity regarding amulets. In other words, I was hooked.

Several hours later we emerged back onto the hot sticky street. Weighed down by a few more purchases, I proudly displayed my first Amulet around my neck. For a moment I felt at home, at peace, and in harmony with the love and understanding that is The Buddha.

One Comment

  1. Great insights!

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