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Some Uses of Thokchas

Thokchas are still a form of Tibetan jewellery that is well decorated with different styles and colours. Most modern Thokchas are made from gold and silver and come in pairs with matching jewellery sets to be worn together. In Thailand, they’re made from gold (yellow), silver (white) or sometimes jade.

Nonetheless, commonly available Thokchas can be purchased from most shops in Bhutan. Most souvenir shops have a selection of free-size Thokchas (12 cm long) crafted from brass and silver. These are known as chamo and samba.

Chamo is the traditional Bhutanese Thokcha. It is a free-sized brass or silver collectible that can be worn on the wrist or ankle. Chamos with two loops at the top are known as gomdandi. Chamos without loops are known as ungudom. Gomdandi and ungudoms are usually worn on the ankle but can also be worn on the wrist. Traditional chamos are rarely seen today in places other than Thimphu and Phuntsholing. The main difference between a samba and a chamo is that a samba is a small collectible with a loop at the top while a chamo is a small collectible with no loop at the top.

Chamos and sambas are usually worn during religious, cultural or national celebrations. The gomdandi is associated with shamanism and ritualism, while brass and silver chamos represent prosperity and bountiful harvest.

Commemorative and religious Thokchas are also available in Bhutan. For more than 300 years, the Thamkle (Bhutanese) have been making these Thokchas. They are made from gold, silver or copper and can be worn around the neck. In addition to Tibetan Thokcha arts, local handicrafts are made in Bhutan, such as Thangka paintings and Haiku poems.

It’s worth mentioning that although these uses of Thokchas seem obsolete, some native tribes still practice them.