Phra Nang Phaya, Wat Nang Phaya
Wat Nang Phaya is one of the oldest temples of Phitsanulok province in lower Northern of Thailand since Sukohthai era. Although it is a small temple, it is well-known for its votive tablet known as “Phra Nang Phaya” which was first discovered here in B.E. 2444 (A.D. 1901)
Phra Nang Phraya, honored as “Queen of Amulet”, has been considered by votive tablet collectors as one of the Benchaphakhi or the five most popular grand Thai votive tablets. This triangular terra-cotta votive tablet shape, having the width of approximately 1.4 centimeters and the height of approximately 2 centimeters, depicts a sitting Buddha image in the attitude of subduing Mara (means victorious from all evils and image when Lord Buddha has enlightened) with no base line and no frame.
There is no precise evidence about the date of this votive tablet. However, votive tablet collectors tend to associate its origin with the legend of Queen Phra Wisutkasattri who was daughter of Somdej PrasriSuriyothai, the queen of King Maha Thammaracha and the mother of King Naresuan. She also built and renovated Wat Rajburana between B.E. 2090 and B.E. 2100
Reason to create Phra Nang Phaya
In B.E. 2106, there was a war. Burma troops had surrounded Phitsanulok. At this time, Phra Nang Phaya was created to give to all navy soldiers and troops for bringing good-will and warding-harms. The first batch was created by Phra Wisutkasattri, the character of amulets were not beautifully produced. The texture was rather coarse-grained. The moulds were created hurriedly since people were in warfare period.
The second batch was created by King Naresuan who succeeded to the throne when his father passed away in B.E. 2133 (A.D. 1590). After announcement of freedom and gaining victory over Burmese, he turned back to renovate Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahadhad, Wat Nang Phaya and Wat Rajburana where was built by his parents. Moreover, he recreated Phra Nang Phaya for giving to soldiers. The rest were contained in pagodas of 3 above temples due to consecutively area.
Texture of second batch was more neat and beautiful than first batch. Virtues of the Buddha are the same as first batch. The Buddhist incantation ceremony was held at Wat Phra Srirattanamahadhad and blessed by invitation of sacred monks, Lersi, Deva, holy in Phitsanulok e.g. Phra Buddhachinnaraj.
Discovering of Phra Nang Phaya
Phra Nang Phaya amulets were found in B.E. 2444 (A.D. 1901) in King Rama 5th period when the king visited Pisanulok. In the preparation of well come the King at Wat Nang Phaya, when the worker digging a hole the amulets were found in large numbers. The amulets were presented to the King in that time. The king distributed some of them to the officials accompanied and took the rest back to Bangkok and keep in Intraviharn temple.
After that, Phra Nang Phaya were found in several Chedis in same mould style as found at Wat Nang Phaya both in shape and skin mixture. There are some differences by the skin conditions due to different locations where the amulets were found. Such as amulets found at Mr. Parn’s home in flooded area called “Kru Nam”. Also in B.E. 2479 (A.D. 1936) Phra Nang Phaya were found in small Chedi of Wat Intaraviharn, Bangkok.
This amulet type also found at Wat Liab (Wat Rajburana) Bangkok, at Borwornmongkol Palace (Wang Nah) at Wat Sangkajai, Thonburi and finally in B.E.2532 (A.D. 1989), found at Wat Rajburana, Pisanulok.
Apart from the collection that was first discovered in the crypt inside the stupa of Wat Nang Phraya, the votive tablets of this type have also been found in the crypts of other ancient temples in lower Northern region. These contemporaneous collections are also known as Phra Nang Phraya and have the addition of their place names or special characteristic to the original name. The equally well-known and popular ones are Phra Nang Phraya Kamphaeng Phet and Nang Phraya Sanae Chan Sukhothai. These three representations of the Phra Nang Phraya votive tablets have become the prototypes that have subsequently been reproduced by many contemporary venerable.
Materials to create Phra Nang Phaya
There was stated that King Naresuan’s troop never defeated to enemy. Where they fight, where they win which were fearful to Burmese’s troop. The art of Buddha was in the period of Ayudhaya, made of terracotta mixed with other sacred materials. The meaning of materials which mixed in Phra Nangphaya are
• Mythical metal – invincibility.
• Special iron mineral called “Nam Phee” – Strenghten.
• Mythical mineral – protection from all harms.
• The various holy relics – good luck and fortune.
• Burnt bilan leaves powders – protection for safety
• Carpel flowers – effect of loving-kindness
• 108 herbs medicine – warding-off all harms
• Holy water – washing bad mystery.
• Sacred soil – good luck and fortune.
• Golden and silver sand – Wealth, treasures, assets.
Texture of Phra Nang Phaya
There are 3 Contents:
• Coarse-grained. Like decay amulet. (not much beautiful)
• Coarse mixed fine grained, high concentration of herb.
• High concentration of mineral. Gravel and mineral are clearly seen on surface.
Three triangle extension wings of them were cut by bamboo knife in Thai called “Tok”. That is why sweep trace is seen on every amulet.
Shape: Triangular form with firm breasts and a curvy figure, is sitting in “Subduing Mara” posture.
Color: Orange brick, red, yellow, green, brown, black.
Moulds of Phra Nang Phaya
A great number of the Phra Nang Phraya votive tablets that have been found differ slightly from each other in size, form and characteristics, therefore, they have been subdivided into several distinct subtypes:
1. Big mould:
•Pim Kaokhong (curved knees)
•Pim KaoTrong which divided into sub-mould: KaoTrong (straight knee)and KaoTrong MueTokkao (straight knees, hand touch on knee)
•Pim Ok Noon Yai (big protrude chest)
2. Middle mould:
• Pim Sangkhati (monk cloth outer rope)
3. Small mould:
• Pim Deva or Ok Fab (flat chest)
• Pim Ok Noon Lek (small protrude chest)
4. Special mould:
• Pim KaoBuang
• Pim KhangMohn
Phra Nang Phaya is a good holiness in devine blessing power in bringing good-will and warding-off harms. Amulet is high value, rare and nice in Buddhism art.
1. BIG MOULD
1.Phra Nang Phaya: Pim KaoKhong (curved knees)
2. Phra Nang Phaya:
2.1 Phra Nang Phaya: Pim KaoTrong (straight knees)
2.2 Pim KaoTrong MueTokKao (Straight knee, right hand touch on knee)
2.3 Phra Nang Phaya: Pim Ok Noon Yai (big protrude chest)
2. MIDDLE MOULD
Phra Nang Phraya: Pim Sangkhati (monk cloth outer rope)
3. SMALL MOULD
3.1 Phra NangPhaya: Pim Deva or Ok Fab (flat chest)
3.2 Phra NangPhaya: Pim Ok Noon Lek (small protrude chest)
4. SPECIAL MOULD
Phra Nang Phaya: Pim Khang Mohn (pillow shin)