Somdej Wat Keschaiyo - The Basics
An original article by Ajarn Chris
The Pra Somdej Wat Keschaiyo group of amulets are classified amongst those that are attibuted to Pra Somdej Puttajan Toh Promrangsee. These pims predominately share the same unique composition as the Wat Rakang and Wat Bangkunprom somdej amulets.
They are made from lime (mortar, calcium oxide) , ground shell, pong itijay, pong puthakun, pong pathamang, pong maharat and pong dtree. All these sacred powders are combined with many other auspicious constituents including khao suk, banana and dried flowers .
The Keschaiyo pims I admit can initially be quite confusing to understand which makes identification difficult for the novice. It is important to acquaint yourself with some basic factual information about these amulets, without which I am afraid, a greater understanding will almost certainly elude you
Other than the basic print designs, these pims can be divided into a number of specific sub categories, the most important of which is the composition of the amulet mass.
There are three major variations each giving the amulets a fairly individual appearance and without question is the source of considerable confusion. Indeed those differences can be so significant it would be easy to conclude for example that you were looking at three totally unrelated amulets, which as it happens could actually be the case
The confusion only increases when those differences are then combined with other influential factors such as storage conditions within the kru and most importantly the atmospheric conditions and level of direct exposure to the elements.
For example deterioration and compositional change to the amulet surface as a result of oxidation and/or erosion is common and you should also try and familiarize with the physical characteristics of each. In fact one of the basic skill sets of any experienced amulet collector. Different amulet compositions react with the elements in different ways and often is a very powerful authentication tool.
The other factor which plays an important role is the date of creation as we will see later, and why in fact you may very well be looking at completely unrelated amulets
Sub categorization by composition.
1. Neua Graeng...appearance of very old dry mass, almost stone / marble like in appearance. In Thai it is referred to as "Neua Gae Boon" which literally translates as old mortar and is apt being quite distinct in appearance as the image below clearly illustrates.
- Neua Num Baang Glangyellow white ...which is made from accurately divided constituent components
Pra Somdej Keschaiyo, Pim 6 Chan Ok Dtalot
- "Neua Num"... Soft composition with a higher percentage of nam man or oil, sometimes referred to as "neua jat". The example illustrated below is also known as Pim Niyom
Pra Somdej Keschaiyo, Pim 6 Chan Ok Dtalot. (Niyom)
There are other classification systems and other types of description for the amulet mass with no particular standard as such. For example Pim Niyom (First Class / Diamond Grade) is often described as "Neua Nom Kon" (condensed milk) with "kraap Leung" or yellow stains.
The system offered using three types of mass is perfectly adequate for the majority of Keschaiyo amulets. The most important consideration is simply to be aware of the degree of variation that exists.
Once you have the basic knowledge everything will fall into place. Take the time to go through these tutorials and by the end I can assure you that you will be far more knowledgeable than the majority of Thai collectors, something that I hope to demonstrate to you by asking you to evaluate various pims being offered for sale on the internet. At the very least you will be able to make fairly informed decisions should you consider making a purchase.
In the next section I will discuss classification based on the amulet prints before looking at some of the more detailed considerations relating to authenticity.