Thai Amulets Materials Glossary

by Kenny Yeo

To date, there are many different types of materials used to consecrate an amulet, being as simple as mud or powder to the commodities like gold or even remains or a person or sacred object. However, do we really know what materials are used in the  consecration of the particular artifact that we are wearing or having at home? Here we breakdown the many different materials used and how they came about.


Lek Lai (Colorful or Rainbow Metal) 

Lek lai is one of the most exquisite elements in Southeast Asia being the rarest and most powerful material. It is a metallic element with a life of its own; it can alter its own state adapting to its environment.  It is said that Lek Lai emits a powerful energy which will protect who carries it from guns or sharp objects (such as knife or sword), and all other harmful weapons. Some people believe that Lek Lai is indestructible and makes one impenetrable.


Kanlonghin (Metal Alloy)

Kanlonghin is a metal material known since ancient times,  Its composition usually contains Copper and Tin and other metals except Zinc. Therefore, it comes in many colors. Most of the metal is used are also used to make bells. 


Nur Thong Kam (Gold), Nur Thong Ngern (Silver) ,Nur Thong Daeng (Copper)

As people wear amulets close to their hearts, it is one of the possession that one sees as very personal. Thus over the years, monks or masters also consecrated amulets using Gold, Silver or Copper making its respective amulets more personalized and notable.  


Nur Thong Leaung (Brass)

Brass is an alloy with copper and zinc as the main component. The amount of zinc varies between 30 and 60 percent, resulting in brass with varying properties. Brass was also once believed to be the strongest metal in the Bronze Age, and this belief has been passed down today.  Brass is yellow Therefore it has some characteristics like gold and has a good resistance to rust Therefore it is popular to be used to make decorative ornaments in houses


Nur Loha (Metal Alloy)

Nur Loha means the alloy of different metals, there are also Nawa Loha, Sadta Loha and Benja Loha


Nur Nawa Loha (Alloy of 9 Sacred Metals)

Nawa Loha compromises of 9 different types of metals mixed together. A combination of

  1. Iron
  2. Mercury
  3. Gold
  4. Silver
  5. Red Copper
  6. Bornite
  7. Zinc
  8. Lead
  9. Pure Copper


Nur Sadta Loha (Alloy of 7 Sacred Metals)

Sadta Loha is an alloy that consist of seven metals being..

  1. Iron
  2. Mercury
  3. Gold
  4. Silver
  5. Copper
  6. Bornite
  7. Zinc


Nur Benja Loha (Alloy of 5 Scared Metals)

Benja Loha consists of 5 metals which are the following

  1. Iron
  2. Mercury
  3. Gold
  4. Silver
  5. Copper


Nur Loha Sanim Daeng (Iron with Red Rust)

Rust is derived when an Iron is exposed to water and oxygen. However, without proper preservation, an Iron can be corroded into a block of rust.


Nur Loha Sanim Khiaw (Copper with Green Patina)

Patina is caused by oxidization when a Copper is exposed to natural environment. This particular layer is called Patina. The hue of the Patina on a certain object is determined by the environmental conditions. As compared to the Loha Sanim Daeng, the green patina on a copper can protect its underlying metal from the harsh environment.


Nur Chanuan (Metal Alloy, Inscribed with Yants)

Chanuan are alloys that contains either Gold, Silver or Metallic plates that are inscribed with yants. Thereafter, it is consecrated again to enhance the amulets' power.


Nur Gelai Thong, Gelai Ngern, Gelai Narp (Gold, Silver or Rose gold plated)

Electroplating is a process of coating over a metal with the respective Gold, Silver or Rose Gold. The purpose of this process is to preserver the metal underneath it and also beautifies it. 


Nur Alpaka (Copper and Nickel)

Alpaka is an alloy between copper and nickel based on the same proportions as brass and it compromises of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel.


Nur Samlit (Bronze)

Bronze is a popular alloy made to worship that have been created since ancient times. The composition of the alloy are copper, tin, silver and gold.


Nur Takua (Lead)

Often used in the olden days due to its soft and malleable properties. However, it is often tarnished when exposed to the air. In the late 19th century, lead's toxicity was recognized and soon the usage of lead was reduced.


Nur Fabat (Alms Bowl)

Every monk has their individual Alms bowl when they are ordained as a monk. They will carry their alms bowl with both hands held close to the stomach, the bowl is seen as the monk’s emblem and according to Buddhist rules, it is the only dish that monks can possess. The bowl is usually stored and carried in a cloth or crocheted bag, both for protection and ease of carrying. Thus, some amulets are created using the alms bowl of a particular monk and it is believed that the amulets consecrated by the Fabat has its powers bestowed by its creator. 


Nur Rakang (Bell)

Bells materials are rarely obtained especially Nur Rakang as it is an alloy consisting of the makes of a Kanlonghin bell mixed with Gold. It is one of the most sought after materials amulets. 


Nur Sam-Ga-Sat (Tri Coloured Metal Alloy)

Jewelry with the word "Three Kings Monument" "Three kings body" is in a single piece of jewelry that has 3 colors: gold, pink gold (otter) and silver. cost Are 3 auspicious items gathered in one piece


Nur Mekkaphat (Metal Alloy)

Mekkaphat is a protective alloy used in the creation of different Thai amulets. Very few still master this technique of compounding this alloy and so amulets made of it are rare and costly. The basic ingredients of mekkaphat are: copper, lead, sulfur, mercury, diverse herbs and sacred oils. Each master has his own personal formula and therefore bring forth alloys of slightly different coloring.


Nur Mekkhasit (Metal Alloy)

Mekkhasit (or, Mekkasil) with similar properties. It is greenish in color and it turns a true green when placed in water. It is very fragile therefore never drop a mekkhasit amulet or it will break! One of the differences between
these two alloys is that mekkhasit contains less sulfur than mekkaphat.


Nur Din (Soil or Mud) 

According to Buddhism, the Mother Of Earth is the most respected of mankind. Thus, monks use the soil mud or clay from the holy grounds like temples to consecrate amulets since ancient times. There are 2 types of Nur Din:

1. Fine-grained means before soil is mixed with other materials. The soil used to create the monk has been sifted and filtered to perfection. The created monks have the smoothness of the surface, such as the wall of lotus petals. 

2. Rough texture refers to the soil from which the Buddha image Has passed sifted and filtered but not so much until it has a fine soil texture Still appearing with gravel and sand mixed with a clear view


Nur Phong (Powder) 

This is a general classification of the powdered form amulets, ranging from Nur Phong Bailan, Nur Phong Kesorn and Nur Wan.


Nur Wan (Herbs)

Some amulets are consecrated from Herbs. Each respective monk or master of the particular amulet has their own concoction thus having it's unique fragrant.


Nur Phrong Kesorn (Pollen) 

Pollens from flowers are sometimes used to consecrate an amulet. It will result with the amulet having a particular scent of the pollen used. They may look or smell significantly different from piece to piece, the factors affecting the condition and appearance of powder based amulets are endless especially with aged amulets.


Nur Phrong Kammaṭṭhāna (Meditated Powder)

This material is obtained after meditation of the powder by the monk. The powder are kept in jars and prayed upon several times before it is consecrated into an amulet.


Nur Phrong Bailan (Burnt leaves or Sutra) 

There are 2 types of ground leaf powder: raw leaves and ripe leaves The raw leaves are are dried in the sun to be dehydrated and then are grounded into powder thus being brown in color. The color of the ripe leaves is either gray or grayish black.


Nur Yok (Jade) 

Jade was considered to be the "imperial gem" and was used to create many utilitarian and ceremonial objects. It is mostly recognized by its green texture. Jade also has the ability to change its hue accordingly to the wearer's QI (flow of energy).


Nur Mai (Wood) 

There are many different woods used for making an amulet, each are believed to be sacred to their respective creators.

1. Bodhi wood is a noble tree. And is relevant to religion such as the Bodhi Bang throne In the enlightenment and the Buddha image, the philosopher in ancient times led the Bodhi tree that turned to the east. As for the root of the Bodhi tree, it is carved as a picture of Mahasakha, or Phra Phakawak.

2. Wood Khoon Ratchapruek is a perennial plant with yellow flowers and likes to bloom in the dry season. Especially during Songkran, the word multiply in Isan language means prosperity and means of multiplication to be happy. Villagers prefer to use the branches and trunk to carve the wood Buddha image for worshiping

3. There are 2 types of Yorok tree, yor yor yor and yor yor. Yo house is a large wooden house. Fruit and leaves are edible. Yaw, according to the dictionary, means praise. Bringing yor trees to make wooden monks In order to hope for the benefit of popular people Praise in society works well for both the forest and the house.

4. Mai Chan (Kaen Chan) Mai Chan has a legend related to the history of Buddha since ancient times. Call this Legend of Phra Kaen Moon as it is an old legend of India. It is said that the first Buddha image was made of red moon core wood and was built while he was still alive. And was made by Putthanuyat from the Lord Buddha as well Although the legend is contrary to the art evidence, the legend of Phra Kaen Chan is still believed to have been passed down until today.

5. Buoyancy Tree is another type of auspicious wood. The word buoyancy refers to supporting both oneself and others. Believed that it will benefit others to support others to be rich and happy with fortune and praise

6. Jackfruit wood, Isan language, is called betel tree with edible fruit Jackfruit wood is also used to make musical instruments, especially Pong Lang. It is believed that it makes the sound more resonant than other wood. To be happy both in this life and in the next life It is believed that bringing jackfruit wood to carve the Buddha image will be a reward for others to support.

7. Mai Kradon, the word hit in Isan language, means for a long time, it is a tree that eats leaves with spicy local food such as chili paste and various pulp because the leaves are astringent. Which contrasts with the spicy flavor well Bringing Kradon wood to carve the Buddha image is believed to have good merit. 

8. Tamarind tree is a large tree with strong trunk and branches. Especially the long-lived trunk until it becomes black, it is popular to be carved into a Buddha image as it is believed that using Tamarind wood to carve a Buddha image will benefit longevity and has a strong structure like a tamarind tree.


Nur Gardut (Bone/Ashes) 

Bones/ Ashes are used to consecrate amulets since the time of the Indochina war and the Second World war.

Due to the despair and mayhem caused by the war, a respected Ajarn Nu consecrated sacred objects from the ashes and bones of the soldiers to help comfort the people. It is said that the artefacts created from this material possesses very strong protection and are said to be intensely magical.