Dec 8, 2009

Ritual Mace

Ritual Mace

early 1400s

Part of a set. See all set records

Iron alloy with gold inlay

Overall: 38.5 cm (15 3/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1978.9.2



Ceremonial weaponry was used in tantric rituals to combat obstacles to enlightenment, such as ignorance and uncontrolled passions. In 1407 a high-ranking Tibetan monastic patriarch visited the emperor of the Ming dynasty, known as Yongle. The Yongle emperor presented him with a number of gifts, of which the axe, mace, flaying knife, incense burner (1983.154), and the gilt bronze Virupa (1972.96) appear to have been a part, since the sculpture and the axe bear his identifying inscription in a cartouche. Imperial Chinese workmanship is noted in the lush rendering of the lion heads from which the blades emerge, the calligraphic serpentine forms, and the cloud motifs.

See also
Tibetan Art
Type of artwork: 

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