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Curved Ritual Knife
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Curved Ritual Knife

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description In Tantric Buddhist traditions, the curved knife is both a common attribute for wrathful deities and a ritual object used symbolically to destroy negative forces. Its form is modeled after an Indian butcher’s knife, with a crescent-shaped blade designed for flaying an animal’s skin and a sharp hook to make the initial incision. As a tool of enlightenment, it severs and strips away the layers of false knowledge inherent to ordinary existence, revealing a greater truth. Its handle has the form of a "vajra," the multipronged scepter used in Tantric Buddhist rituals. The horned animal face depicted in the relief work of this blade enhances the knife’s power, warding off dangerous forces.
  • Ferocious Beauty: Wrathful Deities from Tibet and Nepal. 2016-2017.
Provenance Acquired by Rajumar Tuladhar; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore February 9 1968; given to Walters Art Museum, 2016.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2016

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17th-18th century
gilded copper alloy and iron
Accession Number
H: 6 7/16 × W: 6 1/2 × D: 1 11/16 in. (16.4 × 16.5 × 4.3 cm)
  • Tibet (Place of Origin)


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