Somdet Wat Rakang LP Dto

Pra Somdet Wat Rakang Kositaram (Hlwong Por Dto Promrangsi)

Pra Somdet Wat Rakang is the creation of Pra Sangkarach Somdet Luang Por Dto Promrangsi of Wat Rakang Temple. Luang Por Dto is the most famous of all of the Sangkarach monks (Pra Sangkarach means the head monk of the Royal Palace by Royal decree and the head of all the monks in Thailand).

Somdet Wat Rakang is perhaps the most valued and rare of all Amulets in Thailand's amulet world. There are many different editions and two main sizes (Pim Yai and Pim Lek). Each of these two "Pim", when made, would use up to 6 different stamping molds, meaning that whether a Pim Yai or a Pim Lek, there would be several variations on the edition, making it difficult for experts to recognize all of them. Only total fanatics of the Somdet Wat Rakang amulet will know how to recognize which edition and also which of the 6 stamp molds were used in a particular amulet's making. Apart from this, the mixture used in the amulet varies too and gave different patterns and textures when dried. The backs of the amulets are also different depending on where they were laid out to dry..

one of the rarest patterns on the back is one with thin black lines scratched into it horizontally, which is from having been laid on a blackboard to dry.Some were laid on wood, some on stone. Somdet Luang Por Dto, the creator of these amulets was an expert in making the mixture and also in using temperature and humidity to acheive distortions in the surface of the amulet which resulted in them becoming even more beautiful than if they didn't recieve any changes from the enviroment and atmosphere! For example, he used heat as an element to cause the drying process to be over accelerated causing cracks to appear in the amulet. (as in the pic below)

One of the trademarks of his amulet mixture was to mix "Kluay nam Wa" (a type of banana" into the mixture just before pressing them with the mold presses. This gave both a wonderful smoothness to the amulet once it was dried as well as a definitive texture to the appearance of the "Nuea" (Nuea means "meat" - meaning the cement paste used in the amulet). Upon closer examination with a magnifying glass, you will be able to see little black dots in the mixture, which comes from the seeds in the banana. The banana flesh will also make the mixture less smooth and more grainy resulting in little cracks and crevices in the surface once dried (although this effect is also due to humidity and change in temperature acheived by moving the amulets being dried from one room or place to another before the drying process was completed.

Below; Greater Magnification of top right corner of the above picture

The subsequent change in humidity and temperature cased the surface of the amulet to be irregular). This series of techniques used in the creation and preparation of the Pra Somdet Wat Rakang amulets ensured that each and every amulet was slightly or even greatly different than every other one. This makes each amulet an original in the highest sense of the word

Somdet Pim Pra Pratan (Pim Yai)

Pra Somdet Wat Rakang amulets can bring extremely high prices if they are editions made by the hand of LP Dto himself of 140 years ago, anything from one million to 50 million Thai Baht! Later editions sell from anything from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Baht. Somdet Wat Rakang amulets in the present day are always still made exclusively by Pra Sangkarach (Royal head Monk) and normally have his image stamped on the back or an image of the Chedi Stupa. The stamp will usually be in red or blue ink

Above pic; stamp with the image of Pra Sangkarach on the back side of a Somdet Amulet from Wat Rakang temple

Some Somdet amulets are seen to have a reddish color to them.. This is because inOlden times, the owners often didn't have a chain to hang it on, and so instead, they would place the amulet in their mouths, which were usually stained bright maroon red from chewing betel nut. This resulted in the amulets becoming also stained by the strong red dye of the betel nut. This only adds to the beauty of the amulet. The wetness of the mouth of the owner also caused changes in the surface texture of the amulet, as did the fact that even those who wore the amulets round their necks would in those days not put a covering on the back side of the amulet case so the surface of the amulet came into contact with the wearer's skin.

Below image; Pra Somdet Pim Lek, or alternatively called Pim Ong Kanen

The sweat and humidity as well as the body heat caused cracks, and crevices and discoloration, as well as mold to occur on the amulet's surface. All these factors have come to leave the Pra Somdet amulet's surface appearance to have developed the most beautiful discolorations and textures. This is greatly valued in the eyes of the Thai Buddhist amulet connosseur.

This Pra Somdet Wat Rakang Pim Yai (above pic), has received heat and thus the ingredient of nam Man Tang Iw oil has given it a golden discoloration apart from the betel nut stains. The black markings come from the Bai Lan powder that stuck to it when being laid out to dry on the Bai Lan wooden leaf

Above and below Pics; Pra Somdet Wat Rakang Pim Chedi front and back faces

Below are some different editions from various years for you to admire.