Ritual Dagger / Phurba

Description: A ritual dagger or phurba, attached to it is a woven silk scarf with an intricate diamond pattern in red, black and white with a red striped border. The dagger has three blade edges and the shaft is decorated with a makara or mythical sea serpent with pairs of snakes or nagas protruding from its mouth, at the top of the shaft is a knotted ball on top of which is the face of Hayagriva, a Buddhist protector, who wears a crown of skulls.

Place collected: Asia: Southern Asia: India: West Bengal: Kalimpong
Date collected: 1912-06-18
Measurements: Overall: 250 mm x 65 mm x 65 mm; 9 13/16 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 9/16 in
Type: Religion

Note: Curator's note: This is possibly List of Curios No 94. If so, it was one of several gifts given to Bell by the 13th Dalai Lama on 18th June 1912 in Kalimpong, at a farewell interview before the 13th Dalai Lama and his entourage prepared to return home to Tibet. This can only be confirmed by a process of elimination (several other phurba have still to be located and measured). Written by Emma Martin
Accession no: 50.31.52
Other number(s): T03916 [Photography Number]; N58.1987 [Photography Number]; CB73 [Collector Number]; N1997.1138 [Photography Number]

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