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You are here: Home > dZi & other Ancient, Antique & Rare Collectible Beads > Phum dZi


Above: Ancient Phum dZi with gold end caps.

This category features ancient Phum dZi (say it like Püm with the H being silent). Beads are typically decorated with the longevity or net design. The word Phum probably derives from the Tibetan word for vase, which may also be spelt Büm (as in Bümpa). A ritual vase (Tib:gtso-bum) is used to confer Vajrayana empowerments and represents the mandala of the deity. The long life or nectar vase (Tib: tshe bum) is believed to bestow longevity. Phum dZi are usually fat beads with a grey to black base colour. They can also vary greatly in quality and size. Many Tibetans believe they are the oldest of all the dZi beads found in Tibet. Some rare Phum dZi may even include eyes and other motifs.

Phum dZi are not to be confused with the smaller black and white longevity agates.


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Ancient Phum dZi with Mountian Peak Decoration - 26 mm
Rare Ancient Phum dZi with Mountian Peak Decoration - 26 mm
Our Price: £1,680.00

A superb ancient Phum dZi with the much more difficult to find Moutain Peak decoration. Displaying a lovely patina from centuries of being worn on the body. Prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions

Condition: Very Good. A robust bead with weathering
commensurate with age.
Collected in the 1980s (Private European Collection)
26 mm x 18 mm
400 BCE to 600 CE
Rare Ancient Phum dZi with Longevity Decoration
Rare Ancient Phum dZi with Longevity Decoration - 22 mm
Our Price: £1,400.00

A superb ancient Phum dZi with the longevity decoration. Displaying a patina commensurate with age. Prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions

Condition: Mostly Very Good. A robust bead with minor
weathering and superficial surface fissures.
Collected in the 1980s (Private European Collection)
22 mm x 16.5 mm
400 BCE to 600 CE
Rare Ancient Barrel Shaped Longevity dZi
Rare Ancient Barrel Shaped Longevity dZi
Our Price: £1,000.00

A fantastic ancient longevity dZi bead with a rare barrel shape or possibly a small ancient Phum dZi. A perfect size for adding to a mala.

Condition: Mostly Very Good with minor weathering.
Soured in Nepal
14 mm x 11 mm
400 BCE to 600 CE
Extremely Rare Ancient Two Eyed Phum dZi - 33 mm
Extremely Rare Ancient Two Eyed Phum dZi - 33 mm

Price on Request.

Ancient Two Eyed Phum dZi

A rare opportunity to acquire one of the rarest ancient dZi beads of Tibet and the Himalayas. Phum dZi are typically seen with the longevity decoration and very rarely do they display eyes or other motifs. This is the only Phum dZi with eyes that we have handled or seen for sale in or outside of Asia in the past 20 years and it is therefore a very important bead. The only other example that we know of was featured in a Taiwanese publication on dZi beads in the 1990s and this bead measured only 25 mm and the colour was much weaker.

Condition: Very good with weathering commensurate with age.
No breaks or repairs.
33 mm x 15.5 mm
1000 BCE to 300 CE
Prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions.
Rare Quality Ancient Phum dZi
Rare Quality Ancient Phum dZi

Price on request.

A rare quality ancient Phum dZi with great colour and clear longevity decoration. Highly prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions.

Condition: Very Good with weathering commensurate with age. No breaks or repairs.
29.15 mm x 17 mm
1000 BCE to 300 CE
Sourced in Nepal
Rare Ancient Phum dZi - 51 mm
Huge Ancient Phum dZi - 51 mm

Price on request.

A very large and poweful looking ancient Phum dZi. It is now incredibly difficult to find Phum dZi in such a large size and in recent years they have almost vanished from the Himalayan regions. As with all 2000 year old Phum dZi, the decoration has been heavily rubbed from being worn on the body and handled. The decoration resembles the shell of a tortoise or turtle and is often referred to as a 'longevity' motif because of this association.

The tortoise has long been revered as a sacred animal throughout Asia and is widely recognised as a symbol of longevity and power. Tortoise shells were an important divination tool during the ancient Chinese Shang Dynasty and carry the earliest specimens of Chinese writing. Some Chinese scholars are of the opinion that the Chinese script may have been influenced from the signs on the back of the tortoise. In ancient Mesopotamia the tortoise was a symbol of the Sumerian god known as Ea. He was a god of creation, crafts, intelligence, water and the sea. In Tibet, the tortoise is considered a symbol of creativity and was also used in early divination rituals. Tibetans also associate Phum dZi with the practice of King Gesar. In Hindu mythology the world is believed to rest on the back of four giant elephants and they stand on the shell of a tortoise. So in this respect the tortoise represents the universe itself. It is therefore easy to see how Phum dZi with the longevity motif have been linked to these creatures.

Condition: Excellent. No breaks or repairs.
With minor weathering commensurate with age.
51 mm x 19 mm
1000 BCE to 300 CE
Prized in Tibet and the Himalayan regions.
Rare Quality Ancient Phum dZi
Rare Quality Ancient Phum dZi with 22K Gold End Caps

SOLD!

A large robust ancient Phum dZi that has been given 22K gold end caps. A beautiful bead that can be strung with other beads or worn as a focal pendant on a necklace.
Condition: Mostly very good with weathering and surface digs commensurate with age and fixed gold end caps

27 mm x 18 mm
1000 BCE to 300 CE
Sourced in Nepal
Rare Ancient Phum dZi with Lotus Design
Rare Ancient Phum dZi with Lotus Design

SOLD!

A very rare ancient Phum dZi with four lotus petals at each end. This is the only Phum dZi of its type that we have seen offered for sale in or outside of Asia. One end has been damaged and replaced with an 18K gold cap. This enables the bead to be worn as a focal pendant on a necklace. It displays the most sought after colour and the lines are very clear. A unique ancient bead!
Condition: Mostly very good with weathering commensurate with age and gold repair.

Soured in Nepal
30 mm x 15 mm
1000 BCE to 300 CE