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Metal and Stone Vestiges
Religion, Magic and Protection in the Art of Ancient Tibet

Image 21b

These circular amulets with symmetrically arranged points appear to be sun symbols (or alternatively, flowers). They can be assigned to the pre-Buddhist or early Buddhist period. The specimen on the left reflects Bon numerological reckonings. It has nine outer points and thirteen inner dots. Both of these numbers figure prominently in Bon cosmological and doctrinal traditions. The upper specimen with its eleven points may also be a solar symbol. The thokcha on the right has thirteen rays or petals arrayed across the disc. This design is reminiscent of lotus petals. On the basis of its numerical ordering it is attributable to the Bonpo.

all text & images © John Vincent Bellezza


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