Paper Prayer Flag: Om
Fair Trade from Nepal
Size: 2.5"sq flag x 8'l string
Paper prayer flags can be hung virtually anywhere! Hang our mini versions across your computer screens, in the car or anywhere you need a little dose of compassion. Longer flags are great for use on mantles, in windows, entryways and more; anyplace you want to create sacred space in your life.
Prayer Flags are used to promote prayers of peace, compassion and wisdom. It is believed that the ‘Windhorse’ or ‘Lung-ta’, often featured in the flag motif, gallops through the heavens carrying this goodwill for the benefit of all beings. Traditional Prayer flags are made using hand-carved woodblocks and water soluble ink on cloth; wind blows the prayers though the universe and rains carry the prayers away to the earth. When these traditional flags fade, the flags are then burned and a new set is strung.
The five colors of the flags represent the harmony of five elements in balance; blue=sky and space, white=air and wind, red=fire, green=water and yellow=earth.
Calligraphic prayers or ‘Mantras’ are often paired with the Windhorse or deities printed on the flag. Other motifs include Buddha, Tara and other deities, guardian or protection animals including dragon, tiger, snowlion or garuda; and auspicious or ‘lucky signs’.
Paper prayer flags are made with sustainably harvested Lokta paper using traditional 2000 year old paper-making techniques. Lokta paper production begins in remote Himalayan forests. The Daphne or Laurel shrub grows at elevations of 5,000 to 16,000 above sea level. The raw fiber is collected by local villagers by sanctioned wild-crafting (individually hand-gathered) or by harvesting from government-managed forests. Cyclical harvesting or pruning improves the future growth of the plant. After the raw plants are harvested they are carried back to villages for pulp preparation. The branches and fibers are chopped, soaked and boiled to soften and homogenize the pulp. Prepped fibers are then mixed with water and poured into vats, then sieved onto screens to create sheet paper. Natural and color-safe synthetic dyes are used to color the paper; after drying the paper may be individually printed using traditional silk-screened methods. Handmade lokta-based craft paper products offer much-needed economic sustainability for poor rural Nepalese people (often women).