Acquired from a New York estate.
A Tibetan gilt and painted bronze Vajra (鎏金嵌寳金剛杵) cast with heads of ferocious bodhisattva.
The phurba is a three-sided peg, stake, knife, or nail-like ritual implement deeply rooted in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Bön traditions. Its primary association is with the meditational deity Vajrakīlaya (Dorje Phurba), embodying the essence of transformative power. The phurba’s ritual usage is extensive and encompasses various practices. It is used to establish stability during ceremonies and symbolizes powerful attributes of Vajrayana deities. The phurba’s energy is fierce and transfixing, used for purposes such as exorcism, weather manipulation, meditation, and blessings. The implement’s connection with Vajrakilaya represents the transmutation of negative energies. The phurba as an iconographical implement is also directly related to Vajrakilaya, a wrathful deity of Tibetan Buddhism who is often seen with his consort Diptacakra (Tib. ‘khor lo rgyas ‘debs ma). He is embodied in the phurba as a means of destroying (in the sense of finalising and then freeing) violence, hatred, and aggression by tying them to the blade of the phurba and then transmuting them with its tip. The pommel may be employed in blessings. It is therefore that the phurba is not a physical weapon, but a spiritual implement, and should be regarded as such.