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Siam Silver Characters

  • History

Welcome to our much overdue update to our Siam Silver blog post, originally posted in 2020. Over the last three years we have found this stunning items of jewellery to have generated much interest and discussion on our stall, and we have enjoyed sharing some of the history of the characters who appear on the jewellery with you all.

Here is a summary of some of the main characters that you might find on the jewellery in our stock of Siam Silver.

The most common figure seen is Mekkala(h), the Goddess of Lightning. She is always depicted holding her magical crystal that shoots lightning bolts.

This is tied into the Siam myth of the creation of Thunder and Lightning – please do ask us in person for the full story!*

The second most common design is that of the deity Ramasoon, the God of Thunder from the same myth as Mekkala. Ramasoon is always seen with his signature battle axe.

He is rarely seen as an independent design, usually Ramasoon will be seen paired with Mekkala.

Another common depiction is that of Nang Fa, the Fairy of Happiness.

She is depicted distributing fairy dust, representing luck or happiness.

Matcha (Suvannamaccha), the Mermaid Queen, is a core character in the Thai version of the epic Ramayana, the Ramakien. She tries to spoil Hanuman’s plans to build a bridge to Lanka but falls in love with him instead. Eventually bearing him a son Macchanu.

One of the core character in the Ramakien is Hanuman, King of Monkeys. Hanuman is the patron of martial arts and an example of courage, fortitude and excellence in Thailand.

He is seen depicted with either a sword or trident, and is often seen in dual character pieces alongside Suvannamaccha.

A common image seen is that of Thepanom, a Thai Guardian Angel deity and the God of Welcome. She is shown seated performing the Añjali Mudrā hand gesture with a flame motif behind her head.

In Buddhist mythology the Thepanom first came to earth when Buddha reached enlightenment. They became Buddha’s protector, then guardian of religious temples and artifacts such as scrolls.

This is Erawan (aka Airavata) the Three Headed Elephant. In some depictions Indra, the king of Tavatimsa Heaven, can also be seen riding on Erawan.

Erawan the elephant became the symbol of Bangkok by association with Indra during its foundation as the capital of the new Rattanakosin Kingdom

A major deity in Hinduism Lord Rama, known as Phra Ram in Thailand, features on some items of Siam Silver jewellery. He is traditionally depicted with his bow.

Another major Hindu deity that can be found in Siam Silver is Vishnu, known in Thailand as Narayana.

Vishnu is usually depicted in traditional Thai style holding: a trident; sword/dagger; Panchajanya (conch shell); and a lotus flower.

The Garuda (Garunda) is a winged mythical creature who can be found in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

In Hindu mythology Garuda is primarily depicted as the mount (vahana) of the god Vishnu.
The Garuda is particularly special to Thailand, where it is used as the national symbol called ‘Phra Khrut Pha‘. It is also used as the symbol of the Royal Family.

The Dancing Angel is usually seen with her garland draped behind her back, though this is often confused with rope.

These are likely to been representations of the warriors who were turned into angels during the epic Ramayana.

The Suphanahongse are the Royal Barges of Thailand and various barges have featured on, or as a whole item of jewellery.

There are four separate barges that can be depicted: “Suphannahong”, “Narai Song Suban”, “Anantanakkharat” and “Anekkachatphuchong”.

The only buildings usually seen in Siam Silver are those of Wat Phra Samut Chedi (a.k.a Phra Chedi Klang Nam), The Floating Pagoda.

Wat Phra Samut Chedi is an ancient Buddhist temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It was an early tourist site, visited by many British, French and American servicemen, and these pieces were usually sold by local craftsmen outside the temples.

The traditional male Thai Sword Dancer is a design seen it items specifically made for the tourist market. Usually depicted with two swords or daabs, though they can be found with single sword designs too.

Sword dances have a long history in Thailand, with many regions having their own specific dance or ritual.

The traditional female Thai Dancer is another design seen it items specifically made for the tourist market.

The dancer will usually be depicted in a costume from one of the stories featured in the khon, lakhon nok or the lakhon nai dance traditions.

While these characters are the most common you are likely to encounter there are hundreds (if not thousands) of rarer and unique designs waiting to be found. We have seen chariots, war elephants, snakes and tall ships in our travels.

Some of our favourites are those depicting the signs of the zodiac. We have seen both symbols and pictures come through on rings and necklaces. It is always worth asking us if you are looking for a specific sign as we do try to keep a stock of these.

*Ok for those who really want the full tale online click here to read on.

Mekhala was a nymph and was born of the sea, of the froth of the waves. With bewitching eyes and long curling black locks, her beauty knew no bounds. Mekhala loved to soar through the heavens and across the waters, flitting this way and that. One day, while flying high in the sky she was spotted by Ramasoon.

Now Ramasoon was also a God. He was born of the storm clouds and the rain was his cloak and carried with him a battle axe. The first time he saw Mekhala he fell in love with her beauty and knew right then and there that he had to possess her.

Mekhala did not feel the same way and she spurned Ramasoon’s advances. In fact Mekhala often teased Ramasoon, she mocked him before quickly flying up and way into the clouds. Ramasoon decided that even if he could not win her heart, he had to possess her.

The next time he saw Mekhala he set chase.  Dark storm clouds gathered around Ramasoon and cloaked him from Mekhala’s view. His plan was to wound Mekhala so that she could not escape him and he would make her his own. When the time was right Ramasoon threw his battle axe hoping to capture the beautiful Mekhala.

At the same time Mekhala held out her hand in which was a magical jewel, a crystal that she used for protection. Bright light flashed from it blinding Ramasoon as he threw his axe. The axe missed its mark and rattled harmlessly across the heavens as Mekhala made her escape.