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The Religio-Political Significance Of Gold

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Chapter Summary

There is a wealth of corroborative data on the significance of gold in marking political elites in Central Eurasia. This data is important both to situate Imperial Tibet better within the CECC as well as for what it may tell us about an important way Buddhism may have appealed to those elites. Möngke Qaghan had the entire inside of his tent covered with gold cloth, according to William of Rubruck. This was the famous nasij or "cloth-of-gold", employed in every court of an important Mongol Qan. It was even extensively used in the golden tents of regional Mongol rulers. Some of the last photographs of the Dalai Lama in one of his great tent courts show that this tradition continued there. Gold was used both to mark leaders and their tents for military and administrative purposes, as well as to symbolize their special status.

Keywords: Buddhism; Central Eurasia; Dalai Lama; gold; Imperial Tibet; Möngke Qaghan; nasij



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