Bangkok’s amulet markets are a never ending source of fascination for me. The one held by the Grand Palace – the Mahathat Amulet Market – really gets going on weekends and is filled with sidewalk vendors offering everything you could possibly need to make your life better. Most of which, evidently, depends on parts of dead animals, creatures that are generally considered endangered species in the rest of the world. Which should make you think that they may not be quite as lucky as those selling pieces of their carcass claim, but then I’m not a Buddhist, so what do I know?
Wat Ratchanadda’s amulet market is a bit more commercial in nature. There you’ll find more plastic than flesh for sale. It’s a popular shopping destination for monks from smaller wats in the city who pick up wares to resell back at their home temple. So it’s also a good place for nabbing some Monk Shots! Which is where I snapped this ‘Is It Live Or Is It Memorex’ one.
The pieces of elephants and tigers on sale at the Wat Mahathat Amulet market don’t bother me as much as they probably should. A table full of tiger claws, still fresh enough to attract hordes of flies, grosses out a lot of visitors; the idea of purchasing a swatch of tiger skin gives many the willies (FYI: a small pieces of pelt from the forehead area above the animal’s eyes, where the ‘third eye’ resides, draws top dollar). The realistic looking monk ‘dolls’ for sale at Wat Ratchanadda, on the other hand, give me the creeps. I know Thais are infamous for producing knock-offs, but this is taking that skill a bit too far.
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