Phallic Totems

Phallic Totems,  Xiuyan Jade Carvings, China, Date Unknown, Each is Unique

The phrase “palad khik” means “honorable surrogate penis”. These amulets range from a few inches to several feet long in length. They originated in India and relate to the Hindu god Shiva, whois usually represented by the Shiva Linga. The amulets were brought to Southeast Asia via the Cham people and remained in the area ever since.

The palad khik can be made from wood, metal, bone, horn or ivory, and they are created by monks who specialize in them. Engraving the sacred inscriptions is an important ritual and can take many days to complete. The amulets must be empowered by the repetition of incantations, which Thais call ‘Kata Bucha’, derived from the Devanagari ‘ghata pooja’. The incantations depend on the creator’s lineage in each school of traditional non-Buddhist animist magic.

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