THE ARDENT ENTHUSIAST

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I’m off to Central Asia next week and decided that my usual necklace is too valuable for adventure travel. Thus I created a new one specifically for this trip. One of my goals is to buy more ancient beads and I need examples to show the merchants. This necklace has a Bronze Age pendant–thogchag; from the Gobi Desert, approximately 500BC; a 2,500 BC ceramic bead from Balkh; Tibetan coral; Tibetan turquoise; Afghan… Read More

This was originally published on Bootsnall Travel Journal #1 THE TRIPLEGEM AFGHAN EXPEDITION-SUMMER 2005 5-7/Aug/2005 – Peshawar, Pakistan I flew into Lahore from Bangkok late on the night of the 5th, it was raining – hot muggy rain. I stayed at the notorious Regal Internet Hotel. It reminded me of the Paragon Hotel in Calcutta; freaks on the roof – Japanese, Scotch, German, – and dorm-style accommodations. I slept on a mattress on the floor in… Read More

Balkh, Northern Afghanistan – 2002 The Northern Alliance, backed by American firepower, quickly drove the Taliban from Afghanistan in 2001, and  2002 was probably the best year for tomb raiding. I met Sher Mohammad, the local Mujihaddin commander, in an antique shop in Mazar-i-Sharif. He lived in a small village next to some bronze-aged graveyards just outside the walls of Balkh. We hit it off after I recited some Sufi poetry in… Read More

Thomas “Tom Bol” Guta and his Japanese wife, Nariko, were some of our best friends when we lived in Kathmandu Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s he revived the natural -dyed Tibetan carpet industry and in the 1980s and early 1990s he turned his artistic talents to reviving Chinese silk tapestry-woven Thangkas. While doing all this, and practicing the Dharma, and brewing chang, and working on his Ph.D at Tribhuvan… Read More

Tibetan Turquoise Beads

General Introduction When did humans first start wearing beads and why did they start? According to Lois Sherr Dubin, in the The History of Beads (2009, p. 19): “… the earliest known beads are associated with Middle Paleolithic people. They were discovered at Skhul Cave on Mount Carmel and have been dated to approximately 108,000 B.C., at about the time Homo sapiens populations were replacing the Neanderthals and developing new and more complex cultures.” Both those beads… Read More