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THE TONS OF GOLD IN TIBET!
In Tibet, gold is not hidden away and hoarded. It is displayed, by the ton.
Fantasic? Well, a ton of gold at 12 ounces to the pound, troy weight, makes a cube little more than 14 inches on a side.
I have seen rooftops of Tibetan temples and shrines heavily sheeted with gold. I have seen giant golden Buddhas in their murky interiors; mass incense burners, reliquaries, censers and altarpieces used in Lamaistic ritual, some of solid gold, some liberally ornamented with gold inlay. I have seen libraries of sacred Buddhist scriptures whose dog-eared volumes were bound with panels of pure gold.
I have seen swaggering warriors with rakish foxskin hats, knee-length boots, and huge sheepskin cloaks tucked up at the waist with bright silken sashes. They were armed to the teeth with gold-damscened dirks, swords or rifles. On their chests dangled heavy beaten-gold charm boxes. In the boxes were tiny Buddhas to ward off bullets and evil spirits.
Harrison Forman wrote this article after his expeditions to Tibet in the 1930s. In 1932 Forman organized a motor caravan expedition to Central Asia and was the first Westerner to drive a motorcar to the shores of Lake Kokonor in Tibet. He returned to Tibet several times in the 1930s and wrote a book about his experiences, Through Forbidden Tibet, published in 1936. The article, "The Tons of Gold in Tibet!" is part of Forman's papers housed at the American Geographical Society Library. Forman's photographic collection consists of thousands of negatives and slides, including photos and films of Tibet.