Ritual knife – Vajra


Anonymous - Ritual knife – Vajra
Three-sided ritual knives, whose ends are embellished with terrifying faces, are part of many Tantric Buddhist ceremonies. Each of its sides represents one of the “three poisons”: greed, delusion and hatred. However, ritual knives did not commonly have the size of the present artefact, which must have therefore fulfilled a decorative function. It was apparently made in China and dated apocryphally to the Xuande era (1426–1435) of the Ming dynasty, known for the supreme quality of its ritual art production. The style of detailing more likely situates the object in the 18th century, when Manchu emperors supported Tibetan Buddhism extensively and many votive artworks were produced in the Chinese regions.
measurements: height 167 cm
material: brass and bronze
technique: cast and refined
inventory number: Vu 106
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art