Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rkangling

Date:
19th century
Geography:
Tibet
Culture:
Tibetan
Medium:
Copper, brass, glass, turquoise, coral
Dimensions:
L.: 43.3 cm (17-1/8 in.); Mouthpiece Diam.; 2.5 cm (1 in.); Elliptical bell: 8 x 9 cm (3-1/4 x 3-5/8 in.)
Classification:
Aerophone-Lip Vibrated-horn
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
08.184.25
Not on view
The thighbone of a lama priest is the original form of the metal trumpets. A single rkang-gling ('leg bone flute') is used with a pellet drum to escape epidemics. Pairs signal the entry of ritual dancers, and perform rituals connected with fierce deities. The head of a chu-srin (Sanskrit: makara), a sea monster or a dragon, often provides a decorative metalwork bell. When the rkang-gling is made of metal, bosses decorated with trefoils cover the joints where the sections of cooper and/or silver tube are joined. The trefoil, a three cusped design, is an emblem of power and authority and is used as the head of a scepter. The chu-srin and dragon are associated with water and rain and may decorate the rkang-gling.
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