Tibetan Dzi

The awe and fascination with which Tibetans regard the etched agate beads they call "dZi" must be something similar to ancient man's obsession with beads, which has been revealed in the beautiful specimens that have survived from antiquity. That beads played an important part in the religious, social, and economic spheres of the ancient world is well known. DZi beads occupy a similar place in Tibetan cultural life to this day. Their ancient pattern of beliefs still persists in the refugee communities of Tibetans in Nepal and India. It is this very rootedness in Tibetan culture that makes dZi beads so difficult to research. Very few examples of dZi beads have found their ways to the West due to the high value Tibetans place on them and their reluctance to sell them except for very high sums. A few examples of dZi beads found their way to the West due to the high quality have been brought by Tibetan refugees themselves and acquaintance by the authors with some of these beads whetted an appetite for more information. Further opportunities for study came during two trips to India and Nepal, in 1978 and 1979. Field technique was as follows: It was made known in the Tibetan communities visited that the authors were interested in purchasing dZi beads.

Previous Page

Every opportunity to question anyone who knew anything about dZi was utilized, usually with the aid of an interpreter who is himself a Tibetan. The authors also attended Losar (New Year) celebration as well as a Tibetan wedding - two occasions on which the women wear their best finery and ornaments. In this way several hundred specimens were examined and some ideas were obtained concerning not only the folklore about dZi but also which beads were most prized and why.

Jewels and Physical Well Being

There are three supposed methods of applying the jewel for medicinal purposes; allowing the patient to touch the gem and taking it orally as a powder mixed with other preparations.

Many jewels are worn for their medicinal properties. It is said that dZi protects its wearer from strokes and other sicknesses, as well as from evil influences. If, while it is being worn, the bead is in any way damaged or broken, it is taken as a sign that the bead has performed its task and absorbed the shock of the super-natural attack, though the dZi is then rendered useless for any further protection. Turqoise is often worn for physical well-being, to purify the blood and protect the liver. A change of colour in a turquoise is said to reflect the state of the wearer's health. It grows paler and greener as the owner sickens, and loses its colour and intensity entirely at their death. However it recovers its beauty and strength of colour entirely when given to a new owner. In much the same way, when given as a love token, its colour remains strong and bright as long as the lover's affection lasts.

Gems and precious metals also constitute a vital ingredient in making of Tibetan traditional medicines. The reddish-brown pearl is considered the most effective of all the organic and metallic drugs - medicines containing pearls are said to cure brain diseases and extract poison. The cool nature of turquoise is believed to help liver ailments and blood pressure and is said to possess a detoxifying quality. Gold is believed to prevent poison from affecting the organs of the body by causing it to slide down like water poured on a flower petal. Silver is supposed to dry and stop the flow of blood and pus, coral is used for fevers, sapphire for leprosy and extracting poison from the system. Coral is said to help migraine, brain disorders, fainting spells and seizures.

Precious pills, which contain most of these ingredients, also play an important part in curing many physical disorders. The Rinchen Ratna Samphel , (the Precious Wish Fulfilling Jewel), is compared to a precious jewel from the king of medicines. It contains over 100 different ingredients including Ngochu Tsothel , (a preparation of purified mercury, sulphur and sixteen different metals and minerals developed by the thirteenth century Tibetan scholar. Khedup Ugen Rinchen Pal ), as well as seventy other ingredients such as purified gold, silver, copper, iron, lead and lode-stone. More notably the pill contains such gems as coral, turquoise, pearls, lapis lazuli and dZi. The precious jewels are detoxified and then ground into a very fine powder to be mixed with a number of other organic and mineral materials.

This is but one of many different Precious Pills in Tibetan medicine administered for general well-being as well as specific ailment. The Rinchen Ratna Samphel is said to guard against illness caused by different spirits as well as being an antidote, combatting all types of poisoning, high blood pressure, blood clots, ulcers, primary stages of cancer, strokes and paralysis. Unlike western medicines the therapeutic effect of pills such as these cannot be attributes to one active ingredient. It is the exact combination of the different organic substances and minerals that is of benefit. If one asks a Tibetan doctor how this works it is related back to the four different principles of therapeutic action - the tastes, the eight natural powers, the seventeen secondary qualities and the three post digestive powers.

Next Page

Price:   $388.97

Price:   $188.97

Price:   $248.97

Price:   $318.97

Price:   $398.97

Price:   $488.97

Price:   $498.97

Price:   $638.97

Price:   $888.97

Price:   $988.97

Price:   $438.97

Price:   $248.97

Price:   $368.97

Price:   $278.97

Price:   $348.97

Price:   $448.97