photo: Tibetan lama, circa 1920s.
A Tibetan Lama holding a prayer wheel and five prong drilbu (bell). Worn around his neck is quite possibly a bone or conch shell mala, a protection amulet encased in leather and a circular conch (chank shell) amulet that was probably created from the spinning of his own prayer wheel. These discs are believed to be imbued with the blessings of the rotating prayer wheel and are usually strung on cord and worn around the neck. Once the bamboo shaft on the prayer wheel has drilled completely through a conch disc, it is a replaced with a fresh one and the whole process starts again.