Friday, 13 March 2009
Excerpt from 'The Lakhers' by N. E. PARRY (published 1932)
"Men who possess them wear necklaces of pumteks, a black-and-white bead, sometimes round and sometimes oval or flat in shape. The round beads resemble peppermint bulls'-eyes. Old necklaces of these beads are very highly valued and treated as heirlooms. It is almost impossible to buy them, as no Lakher will part with them unless in the very last resort. Modern pumtek beads are imported from Mandalay, but I do not know where they are made. They are of very different quality from the old beads, and it is easy to distinguish a new bead from an old one. New beads fetch up to ten rupees each, according to their quality. Legend relates that old pumteks were the droppings of a goat. When the goat's owner fed him well, the goat produced pumteks of great excellence ; if the quality of the food fell off, the pumteks likewise deteriorated."