Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I need--OK, want--to know where this "thimble" is from. There seems to be something written around the center band, but I cannot imagine what language it is. I have been told it is not Arabic. It doesn't look like Greek or Japanese or Chinese or Korean to me, but what do I know? Help!

Update: There has been a credible suggestion that the thimble is from either India or Nepal. Pending further evidence...

Further update: So. It looks like this is Nepali, inscribed with the Sanskrit prayer, "Om Mani Padme Hum" (Hail to the jewel in the lotus), which is on Nepali and Tibetan Buddhist prayer wheels and bells. I have found a photo of a prayer wheel that looks as if the same silversmith made it. This looks more bell-ish, but it is exactly the size of the average thimble and does not have any kind of clapper. Maybe I'm thinking too narrowly of the actual bell concept, but I think that in most cultures "bell" indicates some kind of ringing apparatus. Maybe I'm just clinging too desperately to the thimble concept. I know: maybe it's a prayer thimble!

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