Amulets are typically worn as pendants that hang around the neck to bring good luck to the wearer and ward off evil or physical harm. Chinese and Thai amulets are made of everything from bronze and brass to bone and ivory. Japanese amulets called omamori are more like pouches, with intricate embroidery on the outside and religious writings within. Indian artisans treated their amulets like pieces of fine jewelry, favoring gold inlaid with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. Regardless of their origins, amulets share numerous common shapes—most prominently, the Buddha—and routinely depict animals such as cats, horses, and elephants.

Thai amulets of the Buddha are still produced by monks who use age-old recipes thought to imbue the objects they make with magical, talismanic powers. Even a contemporary amulet made of molded plastic can protect the wearer, as long as the monk who produced it included, for example, ashes from burned sacred texts in his molten material.

The most jewelry-like amulets are those from India, whose rich resources of precious stones were often lavished on these pieces. One popular technique among Indian goldsmiths was kundan, in which sections of gold were bonded together, without the use of heat, by pressure alone. In some of these pieces, gold served almost as a latticework for the gems, so that an amulet’s color was achieved by raw materials alone. In others, the gold was unadorned by gemstones, its surface hammered and chased instead.

Unlike the deity shapes favored by their contemporaries in China and Thailand, Indian artisans also chose forms that served their aesthetic visions. Thus, Indian amulets took on the shapes of common items such as barrels and eggs.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Chinese Gold Gilded Metal Carved Salmon Red Coral Foo Dog Clips 18 GramsLarge 19thc Chinese Carved Off White & Green Jade Flower Button, 5 Cm.A Tibetan Bronze Amulet BoxVery Fine Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved Celadon Hardstone Jade Openwork Pendant Group Antique Chinese Bronze Seal & Hardstone Jewelry Amulet Scarab Ring Large Antique 14k Gold Chinese Carved White Jade Pendant Amulet 95 X 44 Mm4 Chinese Carved Celadon Spinach Russet Hard Stone Jadeite Jade AmuletsAntique 126.50ctw Natural True Color Jadeite Jade Charming Dragon Bird Amulet Carved Gray Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Water BuffaloAntique Chinese 3 Piece Carved Jade Pi 7.25" Diameter Qing Rare Carved Green Varigated Jade Figurine Stylized Baby Rhino RhinocerousLp Liw Wat Rai Thaeng Thong, Turtle Lead Coin, B.e.2537,100% Genuine Thai AmuletAntique Chinese Carved Green Jade Ornate Floral Bird Pendant? Amulet SculptureBuddhist Devotional Bronze Prayer Scroll Temple Engraved Takrud Maharud LpPhra Khun Paen Prai Kuman Thong Yant Wat Lahanrai Thai Buddha Amulet CollectionLp Thuad, Super Collection Set, By Wat Doi Thep Nimitr, Genuine Thai AmuletAntique Chinese Silver Filigree Cloisonne Enamel 12+c Amethyst Lavender Jade PinTa Krut Naga Yant 5 Rows, Ajarn Noo Kanpai, Brass, 100% Authentic Thai AmuletThai Buddha Amulet Medal Lp. Phra Maha Surasak Wat NapadooPhra Buddha Holy Powerful Mini Leklai Psychic Elemental Magic Amulet Lp.watcharaAncient Buddha Statue Khmer Angkor Cambodia Antique Bronze Thai Old Amulet RareTalisman ''phra Somdej''green Lek Lai Necklace Handmade For Protect Lucky WealthPhra Kring Srivichai, Lp Kloy Wat Pukhao Thong, Metals 100% Genuine Thai AmuletVery Rare Antique Tibet Tibetan Ritual Vajra Dorje Amulet Phurba Dagger Chinese Rare Buddhist Devotional Bronze Prayer Scroll Temple Engraved Takrud Maharud Lp Carved Gray Varigated Jade Figurine Wall Plaque FaceRare Collectible Naga Trident Amulet Talisman For Luck, Black Magic ProtectionLp Koon Meed Mor Buddha Knife Thai Amulet Great Set Free Shipping B1Small Antique White Horned Phoenix Beast Pendant Asian Chinese Old Bronze Collectable Hand Carved Dragon Statue Amulet Bowl Phra Kring Srivichai, Lp Kloy Wat Pukhao Thong, Brass, 100% Genuine Thai AmuletTakrut & Magic Cloth Yant Soros Mongkol,lp Winai Wat Weruwan Genuine Thai AmuletPhra Kring Charoen Porn, Lp Kambu Wat Kudchompoo Temple,100% Genuine Thai AmuletOld Antique Phra Somdej Wat Bangkhunprom Phim Kaiser Wat Phra Kaew Thai Amulet 24.5mm Antique Tibetan Worry Dzi Old Agate Amulet Bead, 6 Eyed, #a893533mm Antique Tibetan Worry Dzi Old Agate Amulet Bead, 7 Eyed, #a8937 Carved Green Brown Orange Varigated Jade Figurine Wall Plaque CrabUnusual Archaic Jade Rimed Bi With ZhulongRare Thai Amulet Achan Chum Old Buddha Takrut Real AntiqueOld China Handmade Superb Tibet-silver Buddhism Amulet Pendant Inlay Buddha Pd52Vintage Carved Varigated Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Bell ShapeNice New And Rare Lp Ruay Wat Tago Thai Amulet Buddha2411be Real King Amulet Phra Somdej Toh Yuntra Wat Rakang Powerful Holy BuddhaLast Buddhist Gold Leaf & Bronze Scroll Temple Engraved By Takrud Maharud LpPhra Kring Wat Suthat Temple, Model Udom Suk,b.e.2550 (2007) Genuine Thai AmuletVintage Carved Green Varigated Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Winged Bug CreaturePhra Kring 7 Rob,pim Deed Nam Mont,wat Boworn Temple, 3 Kasat Colors,thai AmuletVintage Carved Black Dark Brown Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine BuffaloCarved Gray Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Grasshopper Bug Praying MantisRare Holy Sarira Pra Tath Sakayamuni Ancient Thai Very Old Buddha RelicsVintage Carved Varigated Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Arrow Head Carved Jade Amulet Pendant Figurine Green Varigated Chunky BugEye Ball Naga Crystal Pendant Luck Rich Talisman Thai Buddha Amulet From Temple Thai Buddha Temple Brass Wasp Marriage Blessing Amulet Archaic Jade Bi With CicadasLarge Old Thai Brass Penis Palad Khik Fertility Amulet Pendant With Nude Woman Amulet Buddha Goddess Of Mercy Kuan Yin Bodhisattva Pendants Super Lucky Rich20mm Ring Leklai "lek Nam Phi" Wealth Powerful Protection Thai Buddha Amulet Rare Old Magic Knife Dagger Amulet Phra Lp.derm Holy Meedmor Buddha Wat Nongpho Thai Buddha Amulet Lp Somporn Very Rare Magic Holy Lek-lai Metal Charm Bracelet