Mother of Pearl Feet


Thailand. The soles of the Reclining Buddha at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok are inlaid with Mother of Pearl. Of the 108 scenes, each represents a depiction of enlightenment. Flowers, baskets, flags, animals. As you can see from the photo, all very intricate and shiny.

So what exactly is Mother of Pearl?  Well, I had no idea other than it is iridescent. So I learned it is also called nacre (good Scrabble word) and is made in much the same way as a pearl.

Produced by a mollusk, such as an oyster or abalone, it is a blend of minerals secreted by the mollusk inside their shells to protect them from foreign objects and parasites. A pearl is made by the same substance deposited around an object (inserted naturally or by humans) lodged in the mollusk’s shell.

Mother of Pearl is used in jewelry, furniture making, buttons and musical instruments. Items made using nacre are considered to be organic since they originate from living creatures or plants. While it is very resilient and tough, it scratches easily. Another amazing work of nature used by us humans to enrich our lives!