Metal and Stone Vestiges
Religion, Magic and Protection in the Art of Ancient Tibet
These unusual artifacts consist of long-stemmed mirror-like objects on which deer were engraved. These engravings very closely match their rock art counterparts in terms of the frank simplicity of the execution. The specimen on the left was made with a large deer and two small wild herbivores (deer?) on one side, while the right specimen has a single deer on both sides of the mirror. The two deer on the darker colored mirror were etched with many fine lines to render the body and antlers. The deer appear to be integral to the objects themselves and not subsequent modifications. These pre-Buddhist artifacts may have been employed in hunting magic rituals as charms to attract deer to the hunters. They may also have been created to pay homage to the deer in rites of celebration. It seems likely that deer in certain rock art compositions fulfilled the same type of cultural functions.
all text & images © John Vincent Bellezza