FROM WAT KAO BANDAI IT
There has been many articles
written about the famous batch of LP Daeng's Somdets. The batch
was released in B.E.2514 (1971) but it was actually finished in
B.E.2513 (LP Daeng had been creating them since 2511) but after
that they were taken out of the temple to be additionally blessed
by Dhan Chao Khun Nor at Wat Dhepsirin later that year as
well as in a few other places in B.E.2514. They were distributed
for people in B.E.2514 hence they can be called either 2513 or
2514 batch (or 2513/14).
This "2513/14" batch came out in a few different pims
(=pattern, mold or print and it means amulets' form according
their size, shape, material and surfacing) and a few different
colours. Unlike the medals, powder based amulets are quite
difficult to recognize for their type and originality. The things
get even worse here in case of LP Daeng's Somdets since monks
from Wat Kao Bandai It have kept releasing Somdets after LP Daeng
passed away using the same mold as for the batch 2513/14. It
means that the later posthumous batches look very very similar to
the original first batch.
Just for simplicity - let's call the 2513/14 edition created
by LP Daeng "the original edition" and all the batches
that have been release after he died "the later editions".
Not many people are really dead into collecting those
later batches although they are still good pieces - NOT fakes (fake=plain
copy that was
made for assorted pathetic reasons, mainly for making easy money).
They were made for the same great purposes as the
Fakes are fakes. Nobody wants fakes.
I. BATCH 2513/14: 1st BATCH CREATED BY LP DAENG
It is said that this batch
comprises of 6 pims. All the pims have the following
feature in common:
1. PIM LEUK (deep print)
- No dual-color pieces were created
- No pim Khun Paen was created as many people think
and many sellers want to believe (the pentangonal somdet)
- All somdets were hand-made and they really look hand-made
The most significant of all the original pims. It has the following features:
The problem is the "handmadeness" of this pim. Every single piece tends to be an original so it is very difficult to find a
few uniform rules valid for all the pieces. It is actually pretty impossible :))
- The size should be about 2.6 X 3.8 cm
- Common colour variants are red, yellow and black, but you can come across a "dirty, creamy" white piece (never a bright white!) sprinkled with dots of the holy substances(dark, greenish ...) used. I have came across a rare
aggresive green piece recently. Deep green pieces are quite common as well - those are actually "dirty" white pieces with plenty of other substances mixed
in and on the surface. There are also other colour variations
such as a "dirtier" yellow, bluish grey etc. Often these colours
are caused by the original amulets fading, or from
inconsistencies in the material mixing carried out in the temple.
- You can sometimes find drops of candle wax at the surface - especially on the "dirty white/greenish" ones.
- They have VERY strong handmade feeling. They are almost never rectangular but more trapezoid-like witch the top part
narrower than the base. Also, the thickness of the amulets is not even all along the surface- they usually
get a bit thinner towards towards top or bottom.
Most of the pieces of this batch are quite thin (around 5mm) or very thin especially their top part(around 3mm). However i have seen a thick one too
(6-7mm equally all along the amulet).
- Both sides of the amulet are cut tightly along the sides of the dome. Almost no exception. Keep this on your mind as the
first thing! When you look at the side-edges of the amulet you can see how the blunt cutting tool pushed the edges down which gives it even tighter feel.
- The print on the front side rises nicely from the surface - it is not dull.
- The yant-stamp on the back side is deep and beautifully carved. All the loops on the central symbol are clearly visible and the
central bits of the loops pop out.
- The pieces of bronze must be like a dust.
A few bigger pieces may occasionaly occure (especially mixed with
the thick holy substance on the surface of some pieces).
Absence of the small pieces of bronze(gold) and a presence of big pieces usually refers
to the later edition or a fake.
- The Buddha's right arm is bent in sharper angle than the left one.
- The left side of the dome-arc goes under the slightely different angle than he right side.
- The top edge offten has a tiny "fin" - a tiny, popping out line that follows the edge.
- There were
NO dual colors in this batch.
I have to mention the another important aspect which has been regularly described in amulet magasines - "the warts" on the front side.
These little lumps really appear on many original pieces but they don't really say
anything since they also very often appear on pieces from the later editions.
Especially the "wart" in between the middle and the base pedestal has been often mentioned as an important verification aspect. IT IS NOT. Don't rely on it at all!
2. PIM KAMMAKARN (committee)
- The same features as the
Pim Leuk. It just has very smooth and homogenous surface,
that can sometimes even look polished.
Thus the "warts" are just rarely present as well as the
fins on the edges - they have been smoothened out during the
3. PIM KANAEN (small
These remind of the Pim Leuk - just small in the size. Also just 3 plain colours have been released. It was used as a counter for
each 100 pieces of Pim Leuk created. The features are as follows:
The 3 pims above have
more or less the same outfit. The next 3 pims are different.
- The size is around 1.8x2.3 cm.
- They have very often "fins" on the edges of the front side (or sometimes it looks like a thin frame all around)
- The same yant-stamp was used, but due to the small size of these amulets just the central part of the stamp is printed on the back side
- Colours are yellow, black and red. Surface is quite smooth with occasional cracks.
- You can find occasional bigger nuggets of sand popping out
of the surface
4. PIM TEUN
It has the following features:
- It is thicker than most of Pim Leuk pieces (around 5mm - equally all along the surface).
- The shape looks
a bit more rectangular and less handmade than Pim Leuk.
- The Buddha image has slightely different features than on Pim Leuk (you can see His legs crossed)
- As in case of Pim Leuk, The Buddha sits on 3 pedestals -
but here you can see shallow lines popping out in between of the pedestals.
- The bell-shaped dome(arc) around The Buddha is more even (especially the left curve) and there is flat and narrow space between the arc and the both sides (margins) as well as under the arc.
The base side of the dome pops out a bit more than the arc.
- The print
on the front side is shallower than on Pim Leuk but it is
still sharply carved. The yant-stramp is nicely and sharply printed.
- I have seen quite a big pieces as well as the "normal" size (typically about 2.6 X 3.8 cm). It was released "dirty white" in
colour, with little spots of holy substance all around and
there are often brown stains on both sides.
- There should be a small red dot in between the dome and the bottom edge. If the dot is big the piece comes from the
later edition - be careful!
5. PIM PIDTA (round, small pim with
"Buddha concealing His eyes" image on the front, and two stamps on the back)
6. PIM NANGPHYA (triangle-shaped pim with Buddha image on the front side, and yant stamp on the back)
variants i've come across but they can be just a misunderstanding:
PIM YAI (large pim)
A mysterious pim i have seen in a Thai amulet magazine. The guy from Wat Kao Bandai It (who works at the temple amulet shop) showed me this picture on one
occasion, but i've never seen it "in the flesh". It is bigger than the ordinary pim and has visible margins on both sides. It could have been just a mistake in the magazine.
"A STRANGE PIECE"
Another mystery. I call it a strange piece and i decided to add it into this group only because these pieces are being presently
rented right at Wat Kao Bandai It (for 4000B) as the original LP Daeng's batch. I don't know any information about it, i haven't seen it in any magazine or so and i dare say that i have been
told by local collectors from Phetburi that it doesn't completely have to be the original batch but more probably the later, posthumous release. It is quite big, the print is shallow as the
later editions are (on the other hand the colour and material look original) and it is heavily covered with little pieces of gold (or some sort of shiny metal). And IT HAS MARGINS ON THE
BOTH SIDES OF THE DOME.
LEAD/TIN AMULETS OF THE 2513/14 BATCH WERE
The most difficult pim to recognize the original piece. It is also very rare to find. Similar to the Pim Leuk in appearance but made of lead and it has
a seal printed on the front side. As far as i know it has not been re-released in later editions but it can have copies.
They have very often "fins" on the edges of the front side and Kanaen version doesn't have to have the yant stamp on the back.
This part of the 2513/14 batch was released in form of: Somdej Yai(Leuk), Somdej Phra Pradhan, Pidta, NangPhya, Somdej Kanaen.
II. LATER (POSTHUMOUS) EDITIONS CREATED BY WAT KAO BANDAI IT
If i remember well the first posthumous edition (it means the second edition in total) of Somdets was created in B.E.2521 by the new abbot of the temple
and many other batches have been released ever since. This second edition is especially vulnerable for to be treated as the first, original edition. It looks very simillar (nice carving, deep imprint) but:
- It has little margins on the both sides of the dome.
- It has no bronze dust on the surface. It has usually a very few bigger bits or no metal pieces at all.
- It has those "warts" described above which makes it looking like the original piece. Quite significant is the wart on the left side of The Budd'a cap.
Other late editions have the following features in addition:
If you want a piece from a later edition just visit Wat Kao Bandai It - they have many different ones and rent them for 300B a piece.
- Dull imprint on the both sides. The yant-stamp looks just awful.
- It has margins on the both sides of the dome and they can bee quite big.
- Later "Pim Teun" variant is even shallower than the original and it has sometimes a big red spot in between the base of the dome and the
base of the amulet which makes some people think it is the original edition. Sometimes it has no spot at all.
- Quite big pieces of the bronze(like little splinters) on the front and/or the back side.
- Pim Leuk, Pim Teun and Pim Kamakarn outfits have been used in later editions.
- Dual colors (yellow/black, red/white etc.) refer to the later edition.
The later editions comprise of
many different pims. Among the others also
pim Khun Paen (pentagonal shape) which was not included in
the 2513/14 edition.
This frame hangs at Wat Kao Bandai It and i guess it exposes all the representative pieces of the later editions
III. FAKES (FACTORY AND OTHER COPIES)
Typical representative of the plain copy is the strictly rectangular, thick piece with shallow imprint
and quite big splinters of bronze sides. Or even better without the bronze. I've seen those in the industrial part of the Bangkok amulet market for 50B a piece. I have seen them at street markets as well (just more expensive, haha).
More info on LP Daeng's Somdets can be found here:
Lek Watruak's site
Lek Watruaks newsletter
I need someone to help me identify
this piece. I rented it a year ago. I have seen a similar
original, but it may be a fake as well ... please help :) (write
me your opinion on my
last actualised May 9, 2007 (2550)
||MrYeeshkul, 2006 :: eMAIL ME
... click on the pictures to enlarge them