Thai Buddhist Amulet Artwork

Whenever we visit Bangkok, we inevitably end up at an amulet market  – they’re situated around the main temples (the best one is held on Sundays near Wat Mahathat).

Thais buy amulets for good luck or protection.

I buy them because I like looking at them – I love their colours, textures, detail, and shapes.

As the amulets we buy cost between 10 and 50 baht each (rs10-rs50, or 35c-$1.75), they’re obviously mass-produced, but authentic ones blessed by monks can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

Amazingly, despite both Alf and I selecting them without checking to see what the other has bought, we didn’t have a single duplicate.

Over the years, we’ve amassed a nice little collection, and now, I’ve finally thought of a way of displaying them.

I’m going to glue them onto painted canvasses, and hang them in our stairwell.


Here, I’ve roughly laid out the amulets, and mixed a sample of the paint colour

I’ve chosen a maroon background – the paler amulets will stand out nicely against it, but the dark ones will need a little help – I’ll rub on some gold gilding paste to highlight them and to bring out the detail:

Gilding Paste

Only the top halves have been gilded in this photo

As you can see, red-based paint doesn’t give good coverage on white surfaces, so I’ll undercoat the canvasses with black paint.

Some of the amulets are made from clay or wood, but others are metal, which means they’re pretty heavy, so I’ll attach everything with 2-part epoxy to ensure they don’t fall off as a result of gravity, or summer heat and humidity.

As I don’t have maroon paint, I have to mix scarlet and purple together.

I’ll need a fair bit of paint to cover three canvasses, so I’ll mix one big batch for each coat, as I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to replicate the same shade if I were to run out halfway through.

(With the black undercoat, I only needed two topcoats.)

Though they’re small canvasses, they’re fairly busy – so when Alf hung them, he spaced them out, so that you can appreciate them individually.

If you like standing in stairwells and looking at stuff, that is.

Anyway, that was the background to this project, and now, here are the finished canvasses (the maroon is actually much darker – the flash brightened everything – I really need to take a photography course!):

AmuletsAmuletsAmuletsFinally, they’ll get the presentation they deserve, instead of being stored in the spare-room wardrobe.

And who knows – they might even bring us luck – here’s to health, love, prosperity, and happiness!