Tibetan antiques at Himalayan Antiques
Tibetan matchstrike with coral

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Indian Subcontinent: Himalayas: Pre 1900: item # 354270

Please refer to our stock # 17513 when inquiring.

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Himalayan Antiques
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Tibetan matchstrike with coral
Among the items a Tibetan man would wear from his belt was a matchstrike. They all have a similar design, a pouch made of stiff yak leather ending with a firmly attached arc of iron. Inside the pouch would be a piece of flint and some cotton string or other flamable material. Whenever the owner was in need of fire he could strike the flint against the steel, and with a little practice he could direct the flint to the cotton, which served as kindling. With a little huffing and puffing and patience he would soon have a fire going. We have seen these matchstrikes demonstrated on several occasions, and used by a trained hand they work as well as a cigarette lighter, if not quite so quickly.

One like this one belonged to a prosperous individual, being will fitted with chased silver decorations and set with a coral stone. The coral is now broken but is still well set, and there are a few leaves missing to the gilt silver surround to the coral. Of interest, too are the two water monsters (makalas) facing the stone.

The steel striker is 5-1/2 inches long. The striker itself is all original although the strap to attach it to a belt has been replaced. The inside of the top brass ring is very worn, indicating the amount of use the piece has had. We give it over a century of age.

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