Phra Kru Wat Khlong Khom, Suphanburi, B.E.2460
Luang Pu Sook, Wat Pak Klong Makham Thao, Chainat
During the B.E.2450s, the then abbot of Wat Khlong Khom (Suphanburi province) Luang Phor Oom was one of the disciples of Luang Pu Sook, Wat Pak Khlong Makhamthao (Chainat province). Luang Phor Oom frequently visited Luang Pu Sook, who was a very revered guru monk during his lifetime and was frequently invited to co-chant in many consecration ceremonies, such as in Wat Anongkaram (Bangkok). He was also actively involved in helping to raise funds and gather volunteers to build the main hall of Wat Khlong Khom in Suphanburi province.
In the year B.E.2460 when the old palm-leaves Buddhist scriptures were considered illegible, they were burnt to ashes and Luang Pu Sook together with Luang Phor Oom would walk round and round the fire in deep meditation. It was strongly believed that these burnt palm-leaves ashes (Phong Bailan) when gathered to create amulets, they will provide extremely powerful protection in the form of Khongkrapan Chatri (invulnerability) to the wearer. Luang Phor Oom and Luang Pu Sook would then continuously bless these Phong Bailan for 1 rain-retreat before using them to create amulets in the consecration ceremony.
Phra Kru Wat Khong Klom, Phim Somdej Ratsami Khen Sob, Nur Phong Bailan
It was recorded that a major consecration ceremony was held in that year organised by Luang Phor Oom and that Luang Pu Sook was invited to preside and lead the consecration ceremony in Wat Khlong Khom. There were also various other famous guru monks from Suphanburi, Chainat and other provinces who participated in the ceremony and a few famous ones among them were Luang Phor Boi (Wat Manao) Luang Phor Imm (Wat Hua Khao) and also Luang Phor Parn (Wat Bang Nom Kho). After the consecration ceremony ended, the various amulets were given out to everybody who attended or participated in the event. The leftover materials such as brass plates and powder were buried below the main hall and also under the main Buddha statue. The balance amulets were then stored in the Chedi (pagoda) along with a sealed envelope stating "Kru Phra Khong Luang Pu Sook (pagoda amulets of Luang Pu Sook)".
The various types of amulets found in Kru Wat Khlong Khom:
1. Rian Lor Nur Loha Pasom Gae Thong Leuang (aged brass alloy)
This particular mould is extremely popular as Luang Pu Sook had taken a portion of it and brought it back with him to Chainat to distribute.
2. Phra Nur Phong Bailan (burnt palm-leaves powder)
The material is extremely dry and is of black / grey tone. Only 1 type of Phim Phra Somdej Ratsami (rays) was created with the style of Khen Sob (tapered arms). The body of the Buddha image is thin, with diamond-shaped head and crescent ears. There are Ratsami (rays) around the Buddha's head and there are 3 steps below the Buddha image. Phra Pidta Nur Phong Bailan Long Rak Thap (burnt palm-leaves powder and lacquered) was also created using this powder but made in extremely small quantities.
3. Phra Nur Phong Phutthakhun Khao (white sacred powder)
There were several moulds used for this type of powder which resulted in several styles, namely:
- Phim Phra Somdej Ratsami Khen Sob (tapered arms)
- Phim Somdej Ratsami Khen Klom (curved arms)
- Phim Phra Pidta (Phim Yai and Phim Lek)
- Phim Phra Prathan or known as Phim Piset (special mould) which is also extremely rare as they were made in small quantities
4. Phra Nur Phong See Chompoo (pink powder)
The pink powder was actually white sacred powder mixed with Wahn Saboo Lert, a reddish type of herb which is believed to have invulnerability properties. The resulting mixture with the white sacred powder caused the powder to have a pinkish appearance. There were 2 types of Phra Somdej Ratasami moulds used for this powder, of which they are Phim Khen Sob (tapered arms) and Phim Khen Klom (round arms, made in extremely small quantities).
In the B.E.2520s, the pagoda was broken and many leading amulet experts of the time went to Wat Khlong Khom to pick up these amulets. The event was not publicised until many years later when no more amulets were left in the broken pagoda. The event was then recorded in books and dealers started selling the amulets which they have collected personally.
The pagoda was broken due to natural weather deterioration over the years. As there were 2 levels in the pagoda, those amulets on the upper level were mostly badly stained by rainwater which fell into the cracks. The amulets that were stored at the lower level were relatively dry but those right at the bottom of the pile were mostly damaged by the soil which eroded over the years. Only those that were in the lower level on top of the pile had the most beautiful and intact features with minimal sendiments deposited on the surface.
Nowadays, it is hard to find a beautiful and genuine piece, even though the price did not increase much over the years. Most of the pieces found in the market place are either in extremely bad condition, tampered with (artificially beautifying) or are outright imitations. It is a common mistake of believing that even though the price is not expensive, there are no fakes. Many people have came across imitations, especially Nur Phong Bailan pieces, which were of fresh texture and looked extremely black instead of blackish grey. The genuine piece must be very dry with sendiments on the surface and the material texture looks like Phong Thoop (joss powder). The white sacred powder and also the pink powder pieces must be naturally aged and dry with some oil stains (due to Namman Tang Yew, or Tang Oil) in the mixture and must also have sendiments on the surface.
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