Photographs from De long en large Ladakh by Jean Mansion - Édition Findakly. Copyright Lise Mansion

LETTRE-TDM-n°19: The Phurbu and a hypothesis on its origins

Par François Pannier

The origins of the phurbu are mysterious indeed. An examination of the many hypotheses that have been advanced concerning those origins may however provide some clues that may enable us to understand more about their roots. Called phurbu in Tibetan, but kila (“nail”) in Sanskrit, there is a constant in these objects’ various functions: they contain and control maleficent and evil occult forces. References and texts which describe how they do this are numerous. We have chosen a few examples which appear to us to be particularly significant.

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