Pha Yan (talismanic cloth)
Pha yan cloths with magical formulae, diagrams and other auspicious markings are common religious talisman throughout the Buddhist world. This cloth, manufactured to mark the occasion of the 22nd memorial veneration of a teacher at the temple of Wat Nong Kradi, has diagrams with magical formulae in Khmer script. In the top centre of the cloth is the image of Luang Phon Khlueap, possibly the abbot of the temple. Other motifs on the cloth include a pair of Thai lions and a pig. Interestingly, two criss-crossing rifles are seen in the bottom centre. Although the specific significance of the guns on a talismanic cloth is unclear, the motif points to the adaptive nature of Buddhist iconography. The border contains Pali script and is read starting at the bottom left corner. The inscription at the very bottom of the cloth invokes taking refuge in the three Buddhist jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha ('Buddham saranam gacchami')
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, October 2008.