By L.P. Bann (般大师)
The tiger is the most magnificent animal in the cat family. Asians have always had a high respect for this majestic, powerful, fearsome and yet beautiful cat. Hence it is an icon of authority, strength, courage and fearlessness. "Khiao Seua" in Thai language is translated as Khiao tooth and Seua tiger and therefore Khiao Seua means tiger's tooth. In the terminology of Thai amulets and talismans, Khiao Seua is also commonly understood as figure of a tiger regardless of what material it is made of. The material of making a Khiao Seua could be tiger's tooth, bear's tooth, ivory, task from other animals, wood and even metal. However, the most popular and expensive pieces are carved from real tiger's tooth. The top maker of this talisman is no other than Luang Phor Bann of Wat Bangheah and his top student Luang Phor Nok of Wat Sankasi. Other great masters who do not specialise in making Khiao Seua but their Khiao Seua are also highly sought after are:
- Luang Phor Heng of Wat KhaoDin who was the teacher of Luang Phor Derm, Nakhon Sawan
- Luang Phor Derm of Wat Nong Po, Nakhon Sawan
- ACharn HengPlyWan of Ayuthaya
- Luang Phor Boon of Wat Klang BanKaeo, Nakhon Pathom
- Luang Phor Mee of Wat KhaoSamoKhon, Lopburi
Luang Phor Bann was born in 1825 in the reign of King Rama III. During the era of King Rama V, he was the abbot of Wat BangHeah at Samut Prakan province. The name of the temple was subsequently changed to Wat KlongDan when the area was renamed KlongDan and finally renamed Wat MongkonKotawas by King Rama V. It was believed that one day, King Rama V went to visit Luang Phor Bann to discuss about how to solve the flood problem in that area and he stayed at his temple. Luang Phor Bann felt honoured and wanted to give some Khiao Seua as a special gift to the king. He asked a young boy named Bok to bring them along on a chanting plate to the place where the king was resting. While approaching the place, the young boy toppled against an obstruction and lost his balance. As a result, some of the Khiao Seuas dropped to the ground and were lost in the bushes. The boy panicked and quickly dashed to Luang Phor Bann who immediately instructed him to look for a piece of meat and poked it through with a stick. He chanted the meat and instructed the boy to sweep it around the bush as though sweeping the floor. After that the stick with the meat was placed on the chanting plate where the Khiao Seuas were missing. Within minutes, the plate was filled with Khiao Seuas that were missing. King Rama V who witnessed the whole incident and was very delighted and personally told Luang Phor Bann that he was deeply impressed.
When I visited the temple in 28th Oct 2003 to make further enquires, I was told that when Luang Phor Bann's old residence was engulfed by fire, nothing had survived. Even the huge Buddha statue was melted to the ground. Amazingly, the bronze statue of Luang Phor Bann which was made during his life time escaped the fire and remained perfectly intact. This is why Luang Phor Bann has become an icon of Samut Prakan Province and his temple became a household name. I was fortunate to be able to view the actual statue (pic on the left) during that visit as the statue is only shown to public for worship twice a year on 29th Aug and 28th Oct.
Now a new hall is already constructed on the site where Luang Phor Bann's blazed residence once stood.
Luang Phor Bann's Khiao Seua are normally categorized into 2 major categories:
1. Opened mouth
2. Close mouth
Luang Phor Bann's Khiao Seuas are believed to enhance the wearer's confidence, courage, determination and protection, especially from what the Chinese called "xiaoren" or backstabbers . It also wards off evil forces and brings in good business.
Luang Phor Bann attained Pari Nirvana at the age of 86 in 28th Aug 1911 (B.E.2453)
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