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Locked away

Locked away

A 19th century Tibetan metal lock from Leh in Ladakh

V. Venkatesan
August 06 , 2014
Less than 1 Min Read

Fort Road in Leh is an enchanting, O. Henry-esque world: shops named Same Same But Different, syrupy salesmen peddling cashmere shawls for, well, mere cash... And there, amidst the usual trinkets, I came across what must be the most useless lock in the world. 

 After a bit of haggling, I bought it for Rs. 200. Made of hand-forged metal, the lock works on an elaborate lever mechanism. But whereas it took me a whole afternoon to learn to lock it, a two-year-old could perhaps pick it in twenty seconds. In the nineteenth century, Tibetans used it as a cabinet lock. Today, it rests on a friend’s worktable, passing for a paperweight.


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