6329

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Extremely Fine Tibetan Brass Double Vajra & Chorten Tokcha or Thokcha

Tibet
circa 16th century

height: 4.3cm, width: 4.2cm, weight: 18g

Sold

Provenance

private collection, London; acquired in Nepal in the early 1970s

This is the finest Tibetan tokcha that we have seen. It comprises a pierced, central section that appears to be a Tibetan stupa or chorten with a double thunderbolt symbol (vajra) on each side.

Tokcha or Thokcha is a term applied to small copper alloy talismanic forms worn in Tibet. They were sewn onto clothing; worn as pendants; sewn onto amulet bundles which were wrapped in textiles and worn as pendants from the neck; or sometimes stored in a ga’u box.

The term tokcha derives from the Tibetan thog (thunderbolt) and Icags (iron or metal), so literally can be translated as ‘thunderbolt iron’ – according to belief, tokchas were formed when  thunderbolts struck the earth and reacted with natural iron and other metallic ores forming the metal used to cast tokchas.

The reverse of the tokcha here has a small lug which allowed it to be suspended around the neck or sewn onto fabric.

It is in splendid condition. It has ample wear and yet its features and form still are intact. It is stable and has a superb, warm patina.

References

Buddesberg, M., & B.J. Richtsfeld (eds.), From the Land of the Snow Lion: Tibetan Treasures from the 15th to 20th Century, Himer/Museum Funf Kontinente, 2016.

Heller, A., Early Himalayan Art, Ashmolean Museum, 2008.

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