Ritual Dagger

Ritual Dagger
Place Made:
Tibet or China
c. 1700
Bronze with semiprecious stones and pigment 
base: 1.75 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm. (11/16 x in); dagger: 9 x 2 x 2 in. (22.86 x 5.08 x 5.08 cm); overall: 9 1/4 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (23.495 x 6.35 x 6.35 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

Ritual daggers known as phurbu or phurpa are actually modeled after tent stakes or pegs. Usually three-sided, they are often paired with a triangular stand to hold them upright. Made of various materials, including metal, wood or ivory, such ritual objects are held by lamas to transfix demons by figuratively binding them down to prevent them from performing bad actions. The three faces at the top of the daggers represent the personified deity of these implements, Dorje Phurpa.

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