Buddhist thunderbolt

This 15th century Tibetan, gilted bronze Buddhist Vajra (thunderbolt) together with the Buddhist bell, ghanta or drilbu are used as Tantric symbols in rituals in Vajrayana Buddhism. It is bipolar in design and is decorated with eight pronged spokes joined together at the centre. The beaded patterns mark a decorative elegance. This vajra emblem was adopted by the Indian Buddhism from Hinduism, as an emblem for Vajrapani, a bodhisattva. It is also the weapon of Vedic god Indra who himself was adopted into Buddhism as Shakra. Vajra originally symbolised invincibility and enormous power. A bodhisattva is a being who has attained enlightenment but has postponed Buddhahood to help others.

Indigenous Name
Dorje
Date/Period
15th century
Region
Sino-Tibetan
Dimension
Object size: L18.0 x W4.5 cm
Accession No.
1997-03453
Material
Bronze
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Purchased with funds from The Shaw Foundation
Category
Bronze