These purses are used by the nomadic Khampa people in a remote part of Tibet to carry flint or “Mechak”, referring to a traditional Tibetan iron edged tool, used for creating sparks. These are made of Ox hide and exquisitely decorated with brass, iron, silver and turquoise.
Adornment in jewelry such as agate, coral, amber, pearls, turquoise, ivory and gold is a symbol of wealth and beauty for the Khampa. Favorite items include amulet boxes, sewing kits, flint purses and knives. Poor folk would trade all they own to possess a few ornaments, thereby obtaining social acceptance from their piers.