The Tibetan Golden Treasure Vase

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The Treasure Vase
(Skt. nidhono kumbho;Tib. gter gyi bum po)

The golden treasure vase or ‘vase of inexhaustible treasures’ is modelled on the traditional Indian clay water pot or kumbha with a flat base, round body, narrow neck and fluted upper rim. The typical Tibetan treasure vase is usually represented as a highly ornate golden vase with lotus-petal motifs radiating around its various sections, and a single flaming jewel or group of jewels protruding from its upper opening. The great treasure vase (Tib. gter chen po’i bum pal as described in the mandala offering is fashioned of gold and decorated with a multitude of gems. Around the neck is tied a silk cloth from the god realm and its upper opening is sealed with a wish-granting tree, the roots of which retain the water of longevity and create all manner of treasures. As the divine vase of inexhaustible treasures it possesses the quality of spontaneous manifestation: how- ever much is removed from it the vase remains perpetually full. Wealth vases, sealed with precious and sacred sub-

stances, are commonly placed upon altars and on mountain passes, or buried at water springs, where their presence attracts wealth and brings harmony to the environment.