The Himalayan region is a treasure trove of design elements. Hindu and Buddhist art is rich with myriad images potent with religious and mythological symbolism.

Individual ornamentation often reflects religious, tribal or clan affiliation, social status, personal wealth and other reflections of cultural identity.

It is hard to separate the simply ornamental from the incredible wealth of religious symbolism integrated into Himalayan art and design motifs.

Heirloom jewelry, textile arts and home furnishing often incorporated this omnipresent religious iconography into their traditional adornment.

The Nima-Dawa motif representing the Sun & Moon concept is reflected in this silver broach with coral & turquoise stones. Minerals that have ayurvedic properties that are used in some traditional Tibetan medicines.
Aristocratic Tibetans enjoyed elaborate personal possessions like this Siling Poba or mans drinking bowl. Made of exotic burl wood with finely engraved silver mountings they were highly prized and beyond the means of most Tibetans.
Everyday ornament may have symbolic values that are not necessarily religious. This wonderful decorative silver ornament symbolically represents a bucket hook embellished with coral.

Tibetan women traditionally milk yak for butter and cheese, essential dietary products on the Tibetan plateau. A hook would hold the bucket for milking. Obviously this is not for milking but symbolically reflects it's importance in that culture. Iconic ideas like this are prevalent throughout the Himalayas and reflect universal animistic themes of fertility and abundance.

A discussion about Tibetan ornament would not be complete without mentioning the passion for embellishing themselves with jewelry and beads. Tibetans wear beads and amulets around their necks, in their hair, sewn on traditional costume and even on their animals.

None are more fascinating than the exotic agate beads traded along the ancient Silk Route. Magically invested with protective qualities as amulets as are the ubiquitous turquoise, amber and coral used in traditional Tibetan jewelry and heirloom costume worn for festive occasions.

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