Karmapa - Black Crown

Black Crown

The Karmapas are the holders of the Black Crown (Tibetan: Shanag, Wylie: Zhwa-nag) and are thus sometimes known as the Black Hat Lamas. This crown (Tib. rang 'byung cod pan, lit. self-arisen crown), is traditionally said to have been woven by the dakinis from their hair and given to Karmapa, in recognition of his spiritual realization. The physical crown displayed by the Karmapas was offered to the fifth Karmapa by the Chinese Yongle Emperor as a material representation of the spiritual one.

The crown was last known to be located at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the last home of the 16th Karmapa, although that location has been subject to some upheaval since 1993 causing some to worry as to whether or not it is still there. An inventory of items remaining at Rumtek is purported to be something the Indian government is going to undertake in the near future.

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