Contemporary amulets created during the last 200 years but in general amulets over 50 years old that have been stored in cells or kru.
There are numerous ways to differentiate between the various votive tablets and amulets. In general this usually is by age, religious belief, iconography or art style and is loosely based on the following:
1. Dvaravati style (6th - 11th century) They show an influence of the Indian Gupta style, post-Gupta and Pala styles. The tablets were usually made from baked clay and inscribed the verse “ye dhamma”.
2. Srivijaya style (8th – 13th centuries) Most Srivijaya tablets were made from unbaked clay and were in the Mahayana tradition. When donated on behalf of those who died, the ashes of the deceased were mixed with earth and molded into images of the Buddha.
3. Haripunjaya style (9th – 13th centuries) The art style is comparable with the Pala Indian style (11th century) and Angkor Wat - Bayon style of Khmer art (12th - 13th centuries).
4. Khmer or Lopburi style (11th – 13th centuries) usually show numerous Buddha images or Buddha images with Bodhisattvas in a row in the Mahayana tradition.
5. Sukhothai Style - found in both Sukhothai and nearby cities, they have been given a variety of names depending on the place of origin and appearance.
6. U-thong/Ayutthaya style - various votive tablets made in this period show images of a style derived from various sources such as Dvaravati, Lopburi and Sukhothai art. Later, Ayutthayan votive tablets developed into a single image that was the shape of the tablet itself.
7. Rattanakosin style - The beginning of this period was influenced by Ayutthaya style art and votive tablets mostly found in the crypt of various chedi.
It is thought that modern day amulets evolved from the Phra Kring (bell amulet), a small amulet whose popularity began in Cambodia in the nineteenth century, used as a ritualistic implement which was also believed to bring supernatural powers.
Later, in the reign of King Rama IV the function and the style of image began to change. They were made to be distributed as amulets to the faithful. The amulets and made by Somdet Phra Phutthajarya (Toh) of Wat Rakhang, later known as ‘Phra Somdet’ were the most famous of this period.