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Home > Jewelry Education > Thai Amulet Jewelry Education > Buddha Images
 

Buddha Images

The Emerald Buddha
The Emerald BuddhaThe Emerald Buddha is the palladium of Thailand. It is situated in Wat Phra Kaew, at the King's residence, the Royal Grand Palace. In fact, the Emerald Buddha is made of jade, not emerald. The Buddha was first discovered in 1434 in Chiangrai, a northern province of Thailand, by an abbot. At that time the image had been covered with plaster and considered an ordinary image. However, the abbot found that the plaster was flaked off, revealing the green stone underneath. The abbot had thought that the green stone was emerald, which resulted in the beginning of the legend of the Emerald Buddha image. At that time, Chiangrai was ruled by the King Samfangkaen, the King of Chiangmai, and a lot of people traveled to Chiangrai in order to worship this image. As a result, the King decided to move the image to Chiangmai. He sent out an elephant three times to bring the image. Nevertheless, each time the elephant had run to Lampang, instead of returning to Chiangmai. The King believed that spirits guarding the image wanted to stay in Lampang. As a result, the image had been allowed to situate there until 1468, before it was brought to Wat Chedi Luang in Chiangmai by the King Tiloka.

In the mid 16th century, the King of Chiangmai did not have a son. His daughter was married to the King of Laos and gave birth to a son, Prince Chaichetta. In 1551 the King died. Prince Chaichetta who was fifteen years old at that time, became the King of Chiangmai. However, when his father died, he was asked to come back to Laos and inherit the throne. As a result, King Chichetta went back to Luang Pharbang in 1552, where later became the capital of Laos, and brought the Emerald Buddha with him. He made a promise to the ministers that he would return the image to Chiangmai but he never sent it back. Twelve years later, the Burmese army, ruled by King Bayinnaung invaded Laung Phrabang. He chased out the King Chaichetta. The King Bayinnuang took the Emerald Buddha image to Vientiane, his new capital. The image was situated there for another 214 years.

 

In 1778, during the Thonburi period, King  Rama I, who was still a general at that time, invaded Vientiane and brought the image back to Thonburi and the image has been in Thailand ever since. When King Rama I established Bangkok as the capital, also the Rattanakosin period and the Chakri Dynasty started, the Emerald Buddha became the palladium of Thailand. The image was brought from Thonburi to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace on Monday, the 14th waning moon of the 4th Lunar Month, Year of the Dragon, 1784. 

 

There are three seasonal costumes for the Emerald Buddha. Two for summer and rainy seasons, were made by King Rama I whereas the other, winter season, by King Rama III. The ceremony of changing the costumes occurs three times a year and is done by his majesty the King.

Phra Buddha Sothorn
Phra Buddha SothornPhra Buddha Sothorn (Luang Phor Sothorn) is one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand. The image is in the attitude of meditation, measuring 1.65 meters wide at the lap and 1.98 meters high. According to the legends, Phra Buddha Sothorn was the youngest of the three brothers: Luang Phor To, the oldest and Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem, the second. They were built by the Hindu priests. It was believed that the owners of these three images were three millionaires in the North. Over hundred years ago, a miracle happened when the three brothers or images escaped the blazing city of Ayutthaya by walking down to the Ping River, heading southward, where they were swept away. The eldest one floated down to the Gulf of Thailand and along the coast to Samut Songkram and has stayed there since then. The second one floated along Samrong Canal   to   Bangphli   in   Samutprakarn.  After
the group of people there paid respect and used sai sin, a long white thread, to pull him ashore, he remained there since then. The youngest, Phra Buddha Sothorn, swept down thru Bang Prakong River to Chachoengsao. After people built a shrine for him and used some white thread, they were able to pull him ashore. Phra Buddha Sothorn has been there since then, where it is currently called Wat Sothorn Wararam, originally called “Wat Hong”. Two annual fairs celebrating the image fall in the 5th and the 12th lunar months (around April and November). People throughout the country pay high respect to the statue due to the numerous miraculous events. At one times, it is believed that Phra Buddha Sothorn halted the deadly epidemic in Chachoengsao province after vows of appeasement were made to him. Thais believe that whatever good wishes people make to Phra Buddha Sothorn, he will grant and make the wish comes true.

Phra Buddha Chinarat
Phra Buddha ChinaratPhra Buddha Chinarat is acclaimed to be the most beautiful Buddha image anywhere. It is one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand, only second to the Emerald Buddha. It is in the attitude of subduing evil. Currently, it is located in Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat Woraviharn in Phitsanulok in Northern Thailand. It was created during the reign of Phra MahaThammaRacha I (Phra Li Thai) in the style of Sukhothai. Actually, King Li Thai wanted three new Buddha images for his new temple. As a result, three artisans from Sawankhalok and Chiangsaen offered to cast three high-quality Buddha images for him. The first two, which were Phra Buddha Chinasri and Phra Buddha Satsada respectively, were cast very well and currently are housed in Wat Bavornives in Bangkok. However, the last failed many times. Eventually, an old man appeared mysteriously  and  created  a Buddha image  with a flaming halo, which  ends  in  nagas on both sides  of the  Buddha  and  then the  old  man  disappeared  mysteriously. King Li Thai was so
impressed and named that Buddha image as Phra Buddha Chinarat, which meant the Victorious King Buddha image. In 1631 King Ekatotsarot of Ayutthaya used his gold regalia to be beaten and put into gold sheets and used to coat the Buddha.

The beauty of Phra Buddha Chinarat is well known amongst both Thais and foreigners as the composition of the arts of Sukhothai and Chiangmai are perfectly balanced and elaborated. It was so beautiful and significant that King Vajiravudh praised the image: “…So long as Phra Buddha Chinarat remains in Phitsanulok, Phitsanulok will remain a town worthy of visiting at all time. And even if Phitsanulok had been stripped of its last belongings and yet still managed to retain Phra Buddha Chinarat on its soil, it might as well boast of an object most worthy of admiring in the North or even in the whole of Thailand itself…”

 

Many imitated Phra Buddha Chinarat were produced but the famous one, which was cast during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, is at Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok.

Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem
Luang Phor Wat Ban LaemThai people have worshiped Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem for ages due to his supernatural power. Although the image was originally from Samut Songkhram, the image is recognized as one of the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand. Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem is believed to be first discovered by the fishermen of Ban Laem, Samut Songkhram. The fishermen found two golden Buddha images-Subduing Mara posture one and holding an alms-bowl one. The Subduing Mara Buddha image was given to people in Bang Tabun, Petchaburi, and later has been called Luang Phor Wat Khao Ta Khrao. And the other was invited to be enshirned in Wat Ban Laem. The image later was called Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem.