Thailand's Frenzy for Amulets

September 3, 2007

Author: Jonathan Head

Source: BBC News

For advertisers in Thailand, the most spectacular location to promote their products is on the side of the country's tallest building, the Baiyoke Tower in Bangkok.

But the image that appeared there a few weeks ago was not the usual logo for shampoo or a mobile phone company.

It depicted the statuesque head of a mythical Hindu figure, Jatukam Ramathep - actually a combination of two ancient deities, the guardians of some of Thailand's holiest Buddhist relics.

So what was it doing on a Bangkok skyscraper? The answer is that was selling itself, and doing a whole lot better than the rest of the Thai economy.

Thais have always been keen on amulets. Usually bearing the likeness of the Buddha or other religious figures, they are worn round the neck to bring good fortune.

But no amulet has ever been as popular as the Jatukam Ramathep.