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    

Extra Large Old Silver Gilt Carved Chinese Jade Amulet Pendant, With TurquoiseRare Mao Zedong Chinese Cultural Revolution Jade Carved Pendant Amulet PlaqueSterling Silver 925 Naga Dragon Heavy Love Bracelet Double Cuff Thai Amulet MenNetsuke Meji Period 1850-1899 19th Century JapanLovely Antique Chinese Silver Pekinese Fu Dog Amulet Necklace Ching Moving PartsExquisite Antique Chinese 14k Gold Carved Nut Hediao Figures On Boat Pendant 3 Antique Chinese Silver Carved Turquoise Red Coral Nut Pendant Charm Ornaments Antique Chinese Gilded Metal Salmon Red Coral Beaded Hat Ornament Accessory5xholy Magic Power Tiger Nail Leb Lp Sawai Pendant Life Gift Thai Takrud Amulet8" Child Ghost Mummified Kumanthong Lp Tea Kong Thong Thai Voodoo Amulet Charm Super !! Holy Thai Amulet Buddha Luminous Fluorescent Ancient Jade Relics Stone Lot Of 25 Chinese Carved Jade Pendant Amulet Talisman , Jadeite , Nephrite Natural Pure Real Black Jewely Leklai Protection Thai Amulet Sex Pendant MoneyOld Lp Tim Phra Kunpan Prai Kumarn Wat Lahanrai Rear Item Thai Budha With CaseAntique Chinese Jade Figure Boy On Oxen 1.75" Qing 19thc Broken LegChampion Award Phra Lp Thuad Wat Changhai 2544 Certificate Thai Buddha Amulet2 Pc Spike Teeth Domineering Wild Evil Boar Thai Amulet Pigtooth Top Phra Khun Paen,wat Ban Krang, Yr 1947 Blessed By Lp.mui Wat Donrai Rare Large Mutton Fat Jade Roosted Bird Rooster Cock Carved Disk Antique AmuletRare "fang Leathernecks" Amulet Fang Takrud By Luang Phor Derm Buddha Sacred OldTwo Heads Nine Tails Gecko Lizard Thai Love Amulet Buddha Gambler Lucky Wealth Phra Somdej White Yant Namtao Lp.jao Khun Nor Make By Wat Sinkhan Be:2513 Rare Large Old Chinese Green Jade Bi-disk On Stand - 10.5" AmuletAsian Metal Ingot / Amulet (japanese)8 Pcs Tibetan Prayer Worry Tencel Old Agate Amulet Gzi Antique Tibet H633Lp.tuad Wat Changhai Be.2505 Kam Ma Kran Silver Case Rare Thai Buddha AmuletThai Amulet Phra Chao Sua Lp Boon Wat Klang Bang Kaeo Silver Case12pcs Old Chinese“chinese Twelve Zodiac" Tibet Silver Bullion Thanka AmuletPhra Kring Shin Bun Chorn Lp Tim Wat Lahanrai Thai Buddha Amulet Silver CaseRean Ngoc Kim Koey Be:2519 Buang Sea Heng.feng Shui Modify Silver Case100 Year Old Antique Chinese Dueling Cats Carved Stone Pendant Finial Amulet Rare Statue Luang Phor Ngoen Pim Khi Ta Wat Bang Khlan Be.2460 Thai AmuletsPhra Somdej Collection Set 3 Pcs. Made By Wat Tao Lek Temple,genuine Thai AmuletTiger Cloth Takrud Pendant Amulet Sacred Thai Strong Magic Power ProtectionThai Buddha Amulet Phra Somdej Lp.toh Wat Rakang Very Rare Silver Case 3 HoopsPhra U-thong ( Red ) , Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat,suphan Buri Be 2510 47mm Chinese Miao Silver Carved Buddhism Wenshu Manjushri Sword Amulet PendantPhra Somdej Toh Wat Rakang Pim Yai Antique Old Rare Thai Amulet The Best Holy Very-rare Phra-khunpan Lp-tim Wat-lahanrai-5 Nakprok Silver-case -thai-amulet Old-thai-buddha-amulet-phra-somdej-lp-toh-wat-rakang-very-rare-silver-case Leklai Rainbow Jhundra 7 Color Thai Mineral Holy Amulets Buddha Powerful MagicLuang Phor Ngoen Wat Bangkhlan Phim Niyom Phichit Be2460 Rare Thai Buddha AmuletRare Old Phra Khunpan Wat Yai Chaimongkol Ayutthayathai AmuletsRare Old Phra Sacred Clay Phra Kong Lamphun Kru Wat Mahawan Thai Amulets Old-statue-thai-buddha-ayutthaya-on Lotus Silver Case Thai Buddha AmuletExcellent Phra Pongsuphan Wat Phrathat Suphanburi Old Thai Buddha Amulet Rare Phra Somdej Toh Pim Yai Wat Rakhang Thai Buddha Thai AmuletsRare Old Phra Statue Thai Buddha Ayutthayathai AmuletsRare Phra Somdej Toh Pim Yai Wat Rakhang Thai Buddha Thai AmuletsPhra Somdej Toh Wat Rakang Pim Yai Antique Old Rare Thai Amulet The Best Holy Phra Kring Phutthachayant King Thai Buddha Amulet Power Lucky Black Magic Spell Rare Old Phra Statue Khunphon Thai Buddha Ayutthayathai AmuletsRean Sema Lp Moon Wat Ban Jaan Be:2543 Silver-case-thai-buddha-amuletThai Amulet Phra Rian Archan Noo Hanuman Elags Of Win The MaestroOld Phra Pidta Yai Small ,tok Raja Lp Khron With Wat Bang Sae MalaysianLuang Phor Ngoen Wat Bangkhlan Phim Niyom Phichit Be2460 Rare Thai Buddha AmuletRare Old Phra Lp Tuad Pim (taorit A ) Wat Changhai B.e.2505 Thai AmuletsThai Amulet Pra Khun Phan Magic Powder Embed 1 Takrut Silver Lp.tim Amulets Rare Old Phra Ruang Nure Shin Kru Lop Buri Thai AmuletsThai Buddha Amulet Phra Statue Magic Powder Lp Tuad Maestro