Bronze and copper ritual objects holder. This cover is used for storing, protecting and housing the two most prominent and important ritual objects in Buddhism, namely the bell and the Vajra (also known as Dorje, translated as 'thunder bolt'). This casing is fully carved in bronze and copper with the Garuda (a large legendary bird-like creature, or humanoid bird that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology and is the mount (vahana) of the Lord Vishnu) detailed in silver. The mantra of OM MANI PAD MEY HUM is carved on the outside of the cover. This item was for personal use in a local house in Bumthang, Bhutan, dates from the late 20th century and acquired by me in Paro, Bhutan in April of 2017. It measures 8" tall by 6" wide by 4 1/2" deep.
A side note regarding rare Bhutanese hand-crafted artifacts; all are exclusively made by local artisans. The most common base of the material is that of copper, bronze, gold, silver, clay, wood and yak bone. Old items in Bhutan that have no historical importance to the country or are not a property of any institution or monastic body can be used for the purpose of business. However it is important and required that each item be fully verified from the concerned agency to ensure the integrity of both the buyer and the seller. A mark or seal is provided by this agency upon successful inspection of the object. Most items are sold by families who were wealthy in past centuries and now desire funds to fulfill the modern day requirements such as education, housing and etc. The mixture of metals used in the making of these artifacts enhances the preciousness and importance of the piece and is believed that the greater combination of metals, the more valuable its hidden spiritual power.