Metal and Stone Vestiges
Religion, Magic and Protection in the Art of Ancient Tibet
The lower thokcha depicts a highly stylized
horse with three jewels on its back. Dating to the pre-Buddhist or early
Buddhist period, it closely corresponds to the horse in the stone plaque.
This is further evidence of an indigenous lungta tradition that
developed prior to or independent of Buddhism. The upper specimen, a
plaque without any attachment points, is made of yellow bronze (li
ser). This specimen can also be attributed to the pre-Buddhist
or early Buddhist period. It exhibits horses rendered similarly to the
other examples shown. The pair of horses carries something on their
back, which may well be jewels. Between these capering horses is a single
sphere of unknown function. It might possibly represent the sun. As
in the stone plaque, the horses tower above three mountains and what
is probably clouds billow overhead.
all text & images © John Vincent Bellezza