A very large and poweful looking ancient Phum dZi. It is now incredibly difficult to find Phum dZi in such a large size and in recent years they have almost vanished from the Himalayan regions. As with all 2000 year old Phum dZi, the decoration has been heavily rubbed from being worn on the body and handled. The decoration resembles the shell of a tortoise or turtle and is often referred to as a 'longevity' motif because of this association.
The tortoise has long been revered as a sacred animal throughout Asia and is widely recognised as a symbol of longevity and power. Tortoise shells were an important divination tool during the ancient Chinese Shang Dynasty and carry the earliest specimens of Chinese writing. Some Chinese scholars are of the opinion that the Chinese script may have been influenced from the signs on the back of the tortoise. In ancient Mesopotamia the tortoise was a symbol of the Sumerian god known as Ea. He was a god of creation, crafts, intelligence, water and the sea. In Tibet, the tortoise is considered a symbol of creativity and was also used in early divination rituals. Tibetans also associate Phum dZi with the practice of King Gesar. In Hindu mythology the world is believed to rest on the back of four giant elephants and they stand on the shell of a tortoise. So in this respect the tortoise represents the universe itself. It is therefore easy to see how Phum dZi with the longevity motif have been linked to these creatures.
Condition: Excellent. No breaks or repairs. With minor weathering commensurate with age.
Size: 51mm x 19mm
Age: 1000 BCE to 300 CE
Prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions.