THOGCHAGS




"Thogchags are Tibetan talismans made of bronze and meteoric metals dating as far back as the Bronze Age, an unbroken tradition of producing amulets extends into the Iron Age and Buddhist periods creating a cultural legacy several thousand years old...These sacred objects are believed to be magically formed and not manufactured by human beings. Said to have fallen from the sky, thogchags are steeped in mystery and myth which is only now being unraveled by scholars…" John Vincent Bellezza


Thogchags were traditionally worn for protection and good luck. They were often hung around the neck or attached to clothing or they were sewn on amulet pouches or tied to religious articles. They were frequently used and displayed by healers, spirit-mediums and magicians, the so-called "shamans" of Tibet. In the pre-Buddhist Bon religion rituals to dispel evil and attract good fortune were prevalent. These practitioners of ancient Tibetan traditions had a special affinity with the equally ancient thogchags...the function of thogchags closely reflects this ancient religious preoccupation.

While I was travelling in Ladakh in 1997 I met an expat from UK who had these thogchags and asked me if i could help sell him. I took these photos.












Bindhi बिंदु

Bindu is a Sanskrit term meaning "point" or "dot". The feminine case ending is Bindi which denotes a small ornamental, devotional and/or mystical dot that is cosmetically applied to the forehead in the Hindu faith.
In metaphysical terms Bindu is held to be the point at which begins creation and the point at which the unity becomes the many. It is also described as "the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state"
Bindu refers to an aspect of the anatomy of the subtle body' composed of 'drops'(Tibetan: tikle) and 'winds' (Tibetan: rlung).

William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin, the Cut-ups

BILUM bags of Papua New Guinea



The traditional fiber for Bilum bags was made from the inner bark of the wild tulip tree and other readily available natural materials. First the bark is soaked in a stream or the sea for up to 8 months until the material that binds the bark twine together rots. Then the bark is dried and the strands of bark are separated before the woman will rub the bark with her hand on her thigh to produce the strands of twine.

There were many methods used to traditionally change the colour of the twine fibre. Sometimes the twine was rubbed on a white stone and the result was pure white. Another method was to soak the twine in mud before weaving. Slate stone, orchid bark, roots and jungle grasses were some of the other materials used to produce dye. Burnt shell was often used to make the dye fast. Some special seashells were also crushed to produce a dark red dye. The end result was often striking especially the earthy colors. Unfortunately it is becoming more difficult to find a genuine traditional bilum.

Chrysalis & Cocoons

Wild Saturniidae Cocoons: Cecropias tend to cocoon near the base of trees where they will be covered with snow to insulate them over the course of the winter but some individuals will spin up at eye level length wise on branches.
Promethea Cocoons

Antheraea Mylitta Cocoon

within this chrysalis is a Monarch Butterfly

The Art of the Missing Piece

KOLAMS of South India

daily drawings made at the front door of homes



Every morning in South India Hindu women draw a kolam on the ground with a coarse white rice powder. These kolams are believed to bring prosperity as these designs are offerings made to the Goddess Lakshmi. Throughout the day, the drawings are walked across, rained on, and blown away by the winds;  a new kolam is made the next day. 

Rice powder is used so as to invite birds, ants and other small creatures to eat the flour, thus inviting other beings into one's home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. The kolam is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home whether it is intricate design or a quick sketch.  

The patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings - from a matrix of dots to free form art work and closed shapes. Folklore has evolved to a technicality wherein lines must be completed so as to symbolically prevent evil spirits from entering into the shapes, and thus are prevented from entering the inside of the home.

Spirits and Headhunters


ART OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS at Bowers Museum, California
Organic Jewelry Design of Papua New Guinea

boar teeth, bone & fiber
dogteeth, nassa shell & fiber


boar tusk and fiber


Miners who came into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea searching for gold discovered a people who valued shells and other organic materials more. Dog teeth, fruit bat teeth, crocodile teeth, porpoise teeth, pig's tusks are all used in their traditional designs. During the colonial period, the Germans manufactured porcelain dog teeth and traded them. Strings of dog teeth are part of a family's wealth. Large pigs with tusks that curve back to form complete circles show wealth and are used for necklaces and nose pieces. Sometimes a deceased relative's or enemy's bones are worn to attract the ghost's spiritual power.