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From Wikipedia,

Thokchas (Tibetan: thog lcags) are ancient metal objects which serve as talismans. They are believed to be endowed with magic and protective power and in this respect are comparable to Tibetan Dzi beads


One can roughly divide the thokchas into two groups, the first comprising objects of pre-Buddhist period (from about 1000 B.C. until 900 AD), the second belonging to the Buddhist period (after 7th century AD), the two periods slightly overlapping.Some of the early thokchas may be related to the Tibetan Zhang zhung culture.

Types of thokchas

Thokchas are metal objects which can have a length of about 2 cm to 15 cm. Originally they can have had a practical use such as having been part of horse harnesses, or having served as buckles, fibulae or arrow heads. They can have served as adornment for clothes or objects of daily use like lighters and purses. Thokchas can represent mythological and real animals or deities from Tibet’s Bön or Buddhist religion. Many are of a more abstract form and the meaning of these pieces remains uncertain.

Popular Belief

The word thokcha is composed of two words, thog meaning above, first or thunderbolt and lcags meaning iron or metal. The meaning of thokcha can thus be given as “first or original iron” or “thunderbolt iron”. The popular belief is that thokchas can be formed naturally or magically when a thunderbolt strikes the earth. According to other beliefs tokchas are composed of meteoritical metal and found by chance on or under the ground by a lucky person. However, most of the thokchas were intentionally designed as talismans and are made of a copper alloy. [2]

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